Touring Acropolis with travbuddy and a late night Goran Bregovic concert
Athens Travel Blog› entry 23 of 37 › view all entries
Breakfast was included at the hotel, and the selection very good. The restaurant is bright and colorful and simple in design. I read the Harald Tribune at breakfast and noticed a concert being held tonight at the Herrodes Atticus Theatre of Acropolis. It was by a Balkan composer Goran Bregovic. I had never heard of him, but thought going to the concert at the Acropolis was the thing to do in Athen!
Anna showed up at 10am and we went up to the rooftop of the hotel to have a look.
Our destination today was the Acropolis, but I told Anna about the concert, and we stopped by the bookstore across from the Academy to buy me a ticket at 62 euros!
Then we went to the metro station and took the metro to Acropolis. Anna being student can tour Athens' attractions for free; my ticket was 12 euros, which included basically all the ancient sites in Athens near Acropolis.
From the bottom of Acropolis (the southeast corner) the hill which the famous Parthenon was on looked very high, with fortification walls along the top and 2 huge columns from the Byzantine time.
The top of the hill was rocky and the ground was covered by a lot of granite smoothed out by all the footsteps of people over time and had become quite slippery because it was so smooth. So I walked carefully, not wanting to slip. We tried to not follow the crowds now that we were on the top and the Parthenon was staring at us! It's like a huge construction site with lots of scaffoldings and machinery, which apparently had been here for many years. The Partheon had a LOT of damage, it was blown up accidently by the Greeks when the Turks occupied it and used it to store ammunitions.
We walked around the Parthenon and looked over the city on the north side.
Walking all the way around the Parthenon we then saw the temple dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon which had several statues of women on one side. These are replica statues.
Then we made our way back through the gates with the crowds once again and started to descend. We could see another temple, the Templeof Hephaestos and the rooftop of the long building of ancient Agora below which were our next destination. I took photo of a dog which was sleeping on the steps near the gate when we went up, and he was still there, right where people had to walk past him in a very busy part of the entrance area! With all my stops to take photos and not rushing, it had taken only about 1 hour 15 minutes since we entered Acropolis, tour groups would have taken much less time.
We went into the ancient Agora, which housed a museum.
We made our way to the temple, passing many remains of ancient structures, the Middle Stoa, the largest structure in the Agora, destroyed by fire in 267 AD with its red rock foundations and column drums which remained. A partial statue of emporer Hadrian and more.
The Temple of Hephaistos dates from 5th century BC, it's in the Doric style and has a fore-temple, inner shrine and rear temple.
It was time to get something to eat. Anna took me to a restaurant at the southwest corner of streets just under the Acropolis, with a view of the Theseion in the distance behind the fence to the Acropolis. We had a combination Greek plate with a little of everything!
On the way to the metro at Monastiraki, we passed the Roman Agora, and the Tower of Winds, then the Library of Hadrian.
I went back to the hotel for a rest before heading out again to Acropolis for the concert. It was advertised to start at 9pm, but in fact did not until about 9:30. The cushions with numbers were placed on the stone benches of the Theatre of Herrodes Atticus, the announcement was in Greek and English. The band headed by Goran Bregovic, composer, guitarist and singer was quite eclectic, 10 strings, 12 male singers in tux in a choir, one of which was also the bass player, 2 women singers in Balkan(?) costumes, a percussionist wearing black who also sang and played other intruments at different times, and Goran showing up in a white suit looking like a rock star.
The strings started like a classical concert, then brass joined, with the players coming down from the top of the theatre among the audiences. One of them was no more than 3 feet from me as he walked down with his big tuba.
The way he conducts the choir was quite fun to watch too, very expressive hand gestures, almost looking like he was having fun doing that.
The songs were mostly non-English, and I couldn't tell what they were in. Some were definitely in Greek, since people were singing along. There were mumbo-jumbo words that I could make out like “helicopter Mexico”, which made no sense to me at all.
I thought they were pretty good and interesting, but perhaps the concert should have ended in 2 hours instead of 2.5, they came back after all leaving the stage the first time, and he said it's too early to go to sleep yet! Some of the music at the end sounded similar to ones already played and did not add that much to the experience other than wondering when it was going to end! It also made us miss the last metro and I had to take a taxi back to the hotel! But it was a good concert and I had a great evening listening to music under the Athenian sky in a theatre thousands of years old.