Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Athens Easter Monday

As is unfortunately usual for me about a week or two into a holiday, I have the start of a cold developing.  Sore scratchy throat which will then turn into a cough which will last about a week and then I'll be fine again.  It's just really very annoying and makes everything a bit of a chore instead of a holiday activity.

Since we clearly didn't walk enough yesterday (sarcasm) we hit the road again but this time we vaguely knew where we were going.  Unfortunately, unlike yesterday, it was cloudy and a bit rainy the whole day which doesn't make for great photographs.

It is still a public holiday but there are more things open including the public toilets which was a relief to everyone.  After we had paid our 12 Euros per person to get into the Acropolis we walked past ancient ruin after ancient ruin.  I liked the theatre of Dionysus who was apparently the god of wine; I think I would have got on well with him.  Greeks have a very lackadaisical attitude to smoking and pretty much ignore any non-smoking signs.  However, if you aren't Greek the same rules don't apply and Caron was reprimanded for smoking outside the theatre and that wasn't to be our last run in with the monitors;  we sat down in front of the Parthenon to have a bit to eat and had fortunately pretty much finished our apples before the monitors reprimanded us and we had to move on.   Don't touch, don't eat, don't drink, don't smoke ... only look!

Having got that out of the way, it's a pretty amazing place and there would be a lot more of it if the Italians hadn't blown most of it up and the british hadn't stolen what is know as the Elgin marbles , so named after the thief that took them.  I was amazed at the sheer size of the Parthenon as well as the workmanship of the columns which are amazingly regular given that they were, I presume, hand carved.

 From the acropolis we headed downhill to the Ancient Agora which was once the central marketplace of Athens.  The photo below is of Alistair and Megan beside the Temple of Hepaestus which is apparently the best preserved classical Grecian temple.  The fact that it is still standing after two and a half thousand years of weather, earthquakes and invasions is remarkable.

 After the Agora everyone was running out of steam so we retired to a greek restaurant; acknowledging that it is absolutely a tourist trap, it is none-the-less an authentic greek restaurant amongst the ruins of Athens.  Pretty decent food as well and not too pricey all things considered, we even got some free desert and extra beer.  Note Caron doing here Socrates 'The Thinker' impression!

On our way back we just sort of wandered through the Plaka district and there are ancient ruins around every corner and the Greeks have an unusual take on how to accomodate ancient things.  This tiny chapel was obviously in the way of the developers so they just build right over it but they weren't shy to skewer the church with one of the columns.  Note the homeless person on the steps and the fact that the highrise building is actually abandoned and boarded up so while the modern building has fallen into disuse already, the ancient chapel is still in use.

Once we arrived home we all pretty much retreated to our individual worlds and read our novels and had drinks and snacks.  The shops were still closed so we just had snacks for supper but we weren't really that hungry anyway given the meal that we had had a lunch time.

Two views from our balcony, one looking towards the port of Piraeus at sunset and the other southwards over the park about 22:00.

No comments: