Saturday, May 26, 2012

Greece: Athens

Olympia was really cool but Athens was even more incredible. Well, sort of. Athens is much larger and has many more intact structures than Olympia and the history of the place is just about endless. However, the crowds are also just about endless. I’ll get to that in a second.

We got up and out bright and early in anticipation of a long day. We ran off the ship in search of the Metro. One thing we learned about getting around Greece is that our language skills do not include Greek in any way. I can sing the Greek alphabet and can recognize the letters due to my sorority years (shout out to my DG sisters!) but that is where it ends. I mean, the phrase “It’s Greek to me” makes absolutely perfect sense now. Left to our own devices, we couldn’t tell left from right in Greece. Thankfully most people speak English and even when Ron tried to ask directions in Greek (thanks to an online translating tool) people just answered in English. Thank God. The Metro was the most difficult thing to find though and once we did, it was pretty easy from there.

(I don't know why these pictures are so big. Blogger is being nuts. But internet is expensive on ships and I'm not spending 20 expensive minutes to figure it all out.) 

We found the Acropolis and bought our tickets to enter the park. We climbed up towards the Parthenon but came across two theaters including the Theater of Dionysus which is the oldest theater in the world (I think). It is huge and amazing to think that the ancient Grecians understood sound well enough to create a theater that amplified the voice from the stage to all of these seats. Incredible!

Up we went to the Parthenon where we were herded into a massive group of tourists all seeking the perfect picture with the historic structure. I’m telling you, it was CROWDED. For a few moments I truly hated my life. But it was worth it once we got over to the Parthenon and the crowd dispersed a little. 

This structure is one of the most intact of the Acropolis. It is called the Erechtheion which the Athenians honored as the tomb of Erechtheus, a legendary king of Athens. 

Then we went down the big hill and climbed up a little hill to get a picture of the Parthenon from a distance. It was incredibly slippery due to the years upon years of wear that polished the marble slopes into hazardous condition. But the danger was worth the view. 

Down over the other side of the little hill lies the ruins of Ancient Agora We walked through the town, wandering around headless statues and into little churches with lovely painted walls that have been preserved over the decades.

Our last stop before heading back to the ship was this hill overlooking all of Acropolis. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to add to my collection of “jumping” pictures. 

Hooray for Athens!

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