The Acropolis and all at ease

Athens Travel Blog

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We get up early at 07:00, prepare ourselves immediately to go for breakfast. We had to get up that early, because we planned a visit to the Acropolis. If you do up too late, it is a big crowd and you can’t look at all the buildings without getting disturbed. At 07:30 we go up the mountain to the Acropolis. We walk around the ancient agora that we visited yesterday and then it is steep upwards to the top. There is a small queue and that’s OK. Completely to the top to the Propylaea. This is the entrance of the platform on the mountain of the Acropolis. Propylaea are loaded with iron, so we really can’t get a good look of it. Then we walk on towards the Erechteum and the famous porch of Caryatids. The one here are not the original statues, but that does not matter at all; it really is impressive. The building looks a bit strange with all the sides and corners. We walk round it and then to the Parthenon. This is also completely being rebuilt. Restoration is going on for already a few years and will still continue. The progress is pretty slow, because it needs a lot of attention to make sure, that everything is going on as it originally was. The marble are huge stones of a few 100 kilos. The workers need big machines and cranes to get all the rocks in the correct position. If you stand in front of the Parthenon you see the rounding of the lower plateau and the differences between the pillars in size. That was done to create the correct impression to the visitors. About Parthenon big books have been written and I will not try to describe it here in a few sentences. If you need more info you can easily find specialized literature. I can summarize it: huge, beautiful, even with all the cranes. Still at this moment there are not many visitors, so we took the good decision to start our visit early enough. All the way at the end of the Acropolis is a platform with a great view over Athens. We see the agora and the temple of Hephaestus and on the other side the Arch of Hadrian and behind that the temple of the Olympian Zeus. You should imagine how it must have been in those ancient times without all the recent houses. It must have been very impressive. The next stop is the visit of the Museum of the Acropolis. The most important artifact in this museum are the original statues of the Caryatids. On exhibition are also parts of the frieze of the temple of Nike, but the most part is in the British Museum of London. We can’t see a thing anymore of the temple, it has been demolished completely and they’re now rebuilding the temple. We saw the place where it should be just in front of the Propylaea, but we can only see the full building on a postal card. What a pity. A lot of statues and figurines are located in the museum from the Parthenon. It’s surprising how many details there are, even though they are some meters above the ground. Statues of animals like bulls and horses, even have kept the original colors. Then we exit the museum and immediately it’s clear, why we needed to come early. On the Acropolis are now about 20 groups of visitors and this is becoming a little busy for us here. So we go to the last part we need to see: the gate of Beulé. That was as Propylaea; the entrance gate to the Acropolis on ancient times. We go down here and look up to the majestic buildings of the Acropolis and then we need to see the Theater of Dionysus. This is not open to the public today, so we return to the hotel. We were able to catch a glimpse of the theater, when we followed the road down, so that’s OK. Close to the hotel there is an ancient cemetery and that is our last stop for this morning. The cemetery itself is not really special, but the small museum there is. The remains on the site are nothing more than rocks and sometimes you can see something that looks like a grave. In the museum are other pieces of art: the grave stones are now located inside. There even is a complete bull on a socle that was previously located on a grave. Also here we see the ostraka, which we saw earlier on the agora and a lot of pottery, which is given with the dead people in their graves. Some of the stones are even few meters high with statues of the people or of the families buried in there. It’s almost 12:00 and we’re starting to feel a bit tired and we go to rest. At the hotel we are woken up by the phone from the reception. Yesterday we had to make a reservation for Koen en for someone else. So we did, but we needed a credit card to reserve it. We haven’t heard anything, so we send a message to my mom to ask for the credit card of Patrick. A few minutes later we receive another call now from Linda and we can go to the reception to have the room reserved. Then we go back to town and have a snack: kebab chicken: a small sandwich folded with chicken, tomato, salad and cabbage. This is really good and not too much and expensive for lunch. Then we take the subway to Victoria, 4 stops further than Thission, the one closest to us. Here we need to find where and when we can take the bus to Rafina tomorrow, so we can take the boat to Evia. That is done pretty quickly, but then we need to find the easiest way from the subway station to the bus stop. After 15 minutes we found it all. We just need to take the correct exit from Victoria station and walk two blocks straight forward. All done for tomorrow. The last thing we still need to do here in Athens is a visit to the Archeological Museum; the museum with the most extensive collection of Hellenistic funds in the world. Take this British Museum! We get there easily, but we arrive here 45 minutes before closing time. They still have their winter opening hours now and it’s closing time at 15:00. To pay 14 Euro for only 45 minutes is a bit too much. So we return to Thission, because this is the heart of Athens and unbelievably busy.  Driving here, honking there. It smells like gas here. Back in Thission we sit down on a terrace with an Alpha Beer with view on the temple of Hephaestus. Then we start looking for a gift for the wedding party for Linda and Patrick. We buy two cups of the Olympics with an image of the Greek flag and the logo of the Olympics of 2004. To that we add a small bottle of ouzo and that’s enough. Then we have a ‘ouzo me meze’ at the Plaka and then we go back and make the necessary preparation for diner. We take a shower (this one is the best we had since we came here, a lot of water, this is something else, than what we had in the other pensions and hotels) and we go to the same restaurant as we did yesterday. Again at Naxos. Now we take a mix fish: a variety of 5 different kinds of marinated fish with ouzo: shrimps, sprouts, herring, sardines, octopus and swordfish. We enjoy this again and then return to the hotel. We have another bottle of retsina and tomorrow we leave for Evia. By midnight we sleep.

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Athens
photo by: Johnpro