Athens

Athens
Arrived at the one star Omiris Hotel overlooking an old, tiny church, in the Plaka region. Breakfast appalling, no toaster, just a waffle toaster and no waffles. So the bread/toast ended up 3 mm thick. Orange juice thin, reconstituted. Very small room, a/c us. Stayed there for one night before joining the others in the Central Hotel. Room slightly bigger, tiniest lift in the world, fits three people. Breakfast quite good. Athens itself was very dusty and hard on the lungs. We visited the Royal, later called the National Gardens which were like an oasis in the desert. Almost a forest. Magnificent. In the middle of it was their zoo. Rabbits, goats in a large enclosure. Bare, beaten earth. Nothing to eat and all malnourished – not a pretty sight. The caged birds fared a little better. From there to the Parliament building, where they have this quaint ceremony of the changing of the guard every hour.

Changing of the guard

Changing of the guard

Passed Hadrians Arch which was apparently built to honour his visit to the city.

Hadrians Arch

Hadrians Arch

Close by the remains of the Temple of the Olympian Zeus.

Olympian Temple of Zeus

Olympian Temple of Zeus

Outside the National Academy buildings were two beautiful, imposing statues, one of Athena (Virgin goddess of wisdom, arts and intellect) and the other of Apollo (God of music, medicine, truth,light). Absolutely beautiful statues. Next day the others arrived.
Off to the Acropolis. Acro- meaning high – polis – city with our very knowledgeable guide. A nice winding walk up the hill with the tourist hordes. A magnificent pillared entry gate built at the western end

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Erechtheion close-up side view

Erechtheion close-up side view

and on the top, two buildings – The Parthenon, dedicated to the Goddess Athena and the lesser one, Erechtheion, dedicated to Poseidon but also shared by Athena.

The Parthenon

The Parthenon


The Parthenon

The Parthenon

The buildings have been under restoration for over 30 years and work still goes on. New parts of the jigsaws are left as white marble. From the far end of the hill there is a lovely view of the old historical area of Athens known as the Plaka. On the south-west slope of the Acropolis is the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Dame Nellie Melba and many others have held concerts here.

Odeon of Herodes Atticus

Odeon of Herodes Atticus

Thence to the new museum.

Athens Museum

Athens Museum


Museum Beneath

Museum Beneath

When they began construction, they found remains of an earlier city beneath, so the museum is actually built on stilts so that you can not only see it through the glass floors but also so the “dig” can go on.

The Acropolis

The Acropolis

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Next morning a 06:00 start for a mad dash to the ferry at Piraeus – the main port of Athens for the start of our three week tour of the islands.

Athens addenda – very dusty, busy city – looking forward to fresh air in the islands.

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