Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Athens


First sights of Athens - the Evzoni Guard (Greece's elite infantry unit) with their fancy and historically significant uniform

[Kyle]We rode the convenient bus to the airport to meet Kate and Mark from their arriving flight and then took the very clean subway into the town center where we just made it to see the once weekly extra-impressive changing of the guard at Syntagma square. Luckily the the square coincided with the most convenient metro stop for our hotel and soon afterwards we were checked into our respective (sister) hotels. Neither of the rooms was ready, so we left our luggage and headed to the Acropolis museum, and then up to the Acropolis itself.



We made it to the (windy) Acropolis, to ponder the stories of it's various buildings

I had seen pictures of the Acropolis, which are usually taken from the site itself with Athens behind. That always gave me the impression the Acropolis was on a mound. It is not. It is at the top of huge, towering cliffs way above the surrounding city. It was a long, hot walk to get up there during the warmest part of the day, but it was well worth the effort. It was surreal. There we were in a new city after yet another climb up a steep hill, like we always seem to do, except this time, we were standing next to the Parthenon. THE Parthenon. Super cool!

Amazingly we still had time to visit the Agora (ancient town center too), more ruins, and a great little museum which included ancient jury duty selection systems and other original machines of democracy.



The Agora is mostly piles of rubble, but the reconstructed Stoa and various guides help the imagine understand the scenes of ancient times

Tired, but happy with the satisfaction of a good day, we wandered around the town, stopping for several dinners at outdoor caf├ęs before heading to our hotels for several showers and a good night’s sleep.

Athens Day 2



Determined to make the most of our last few hours in Athens the morning was a walking tour of the city guided by Maryanne herself, who, to be fair, was cheating by having Rick Steves Guide to Athens playing over her iPhone headsets. It was the best of both worlds: Rick Steves information and Maryanne’s delivery.



So many aspects to enjoy - yes, those are pairs mysteriously left in the park just waiting to be photographed

From there, we took a long walk through a rather rough part of town to the Archeological Museum, where Rick/Maryanne took us through the development of Egyptian, Greek Classical and Roman art.

Bushed and ready for a rest, we all boarded the subway for Piraeus and Footprint to start our island journey.



Lots of new memories


[Maryanne]We witnessed modern day stone masons carving marble to repair ancient monuments, dogs and cats hunting for the shade of the day, more of the Greek guard, and so many little snippets of Athenian life - wonderful!



Athenian Medley

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