Athens in 3 Days or Less

The family at the Acropolis.

As I mentioned in a previous post, we arrived in Athens, Greece on an exceedingly rainy Monday afternoon, so I didn’t take too many pictures – we were mostly trying to find the hotel and stay dry.   But we did eat, so, of course, I’ve got a shot of that!  Kebop!

What else is there to say - skewered lamb, onion, tomato, Tzatziki... "Kebop!"

When it stopped raining, we noticed that our hotel really was at the foot of the Acropolis.   SURPRISE!  — The hotel website wasn’t exaggerating.  I took this photo about 100 feet from the front door of our hotel.  And yes, that’s the Acropolis up there…

It was a strange feeling to look up and see one of the most important pieces of ancient history in the WORLD right above you. Never did get used to it.

And while we’re on the subject (the subject being “I can’t believe the Acropolis is RIGHT THERE!”), here’s a shot of the Acropolis taken at dawn from the terrace where they served breakfast at the hotel.  The Greeks have done a bang-up job of lighting.

Seriously - this is what we saw eating breakfast (on the morning we had to leave the hotel at 7:00 am). It's so perfect that it almost looks like a model.

Most of what we saw in Athens has been photographed a billion times, so before I bore you with my Acropolis shots (Look!  The Parthenon!), here’s a shot that I cannot explain, other than that I took it while out walking on the first night in Athens.   It doesn’t look like a magician’s prop or a Halloween decoration, and I waited 10 minutes or so to see if someone was going to do something with it, but no one came.  So it’s a coffin sitting in the hallway of an open entrance next to a cafe.  Your guess is a good (or maybe better than) mine.   A reader of Greek might be able to tell us more from what’s written on the sign.

A coffin. In a hallway. I shot this right through the open door.

Okay, here are a few ACROPOLIS SHOTS (just a few, I promise).  Fortunately, the weather was fantastic for the rest of our stay in Athens:

Theatre of Dionysus. The seating has been restored (obviously) - the rest is the real deal. Originally built around 500 BC, then Nero renovated it.

Wide shot of the Parthenon - renovations are ongoing.

View of Athens from the Acropolis.

View to the Aegean from atop the Acropolis.

I'm pretty sure this is the Temple of Athena Nike.

More Parthenon.

After spending a few hours up on the Acropolis, we walked over to the Acropolis Museum, which is a great story because as they starting to build it, they discovered yet another Archaic to Early Christian Athens settlement right beneath where they were building.  So, instead of stopping the project, they went ahead and built the museum OVER the site, allowing the archeologists to do their work, which they were doing the day we went.

Entrance to the Acropolis Museum - there's an ongoing excavation right underneath the museum.

Another shot of the archeologists at work under the entrance to the museum.

The next day we visited the National Archeological Museum.  But while walking there from the hotel, something cool happened:  we passed the big meat market.  If you’ve been following this blog, you know I can’t pass up a good local market.   Margaret waited outside.   Here are some pix (my vegetarians friends might want to skip these):

The entrance to the Athens Meat Market.

Meat.

More meat.

The entire building smelled of freshly butchered meat, which isn't really an appetizing smell if you ask me, but there were several restaurants right INSIDE the market.

A couple of customers.

The National Archeological Museum was really pretty amazing – the place is huge and you’ll see more busts here than at a  ____________ (fill in the blank for a good “bust” joke of your choice).  I took a few shots of things that interested me the most. Here they are:

A roomful of marble busts. James asked a good question: "What happens if there's an earthquake?" I imagine they'd all tip over. And break.

The Arm of Zeus. It's about 6 feet long. Huge. 2nd Century BC.

Gold diadem with leaf-shapes pieces at the top. 16th cent. BC !!!

Didn't see the description on this one, but clearly it was found an early 5th Century merry-go-round.

Later we took the metro to the main Athens port called Pireaus to check out the ferry situation for the next day’s ferry ride to the island of Aegina.

Love the Athens Metro. The Greeks are very quiet metro riders.

Here's a shot from the pedestrian bridge crossing from the Metro Station to the docks at Pireaus.

I’m writing/posting this on Aegina Island – about  an 8o minute ferry ride from Athens.  It’s quite nice here.  Leaving to return to Hungary in the morning.  More on our Greek island adventure later.

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About patster66

I'm visiting Pécs, Hungary with my wife and son for the Fall 2010 semester. My wife, Margaret McMullan, received a Fulbright Fellowship to teach and do research at the University of Pécs. My 13 year old son is attending a semi-bilingual school here called the ANK where I am teaching English Language and Drama to 4th - 8th graders 2 days a week.
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