Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Day 19 Athens

Athens was to be a long walking day. We caught the bus then Metro in to the Acropolis. I knew Athens was hilly, but looking up from the base to the Parthenon on top, it seemed like a very long way up! As we wandered up the hillside, there were ruins of all varieties to keep us entertained. Every so often there would be another flight of old worn marble steps to climb. Finally, we made it to the top. There were a lot of people milling about, and of course the ever present groups of school kids.

The walk was worth it, because when we got to the top we could see the whole of Athens sprawling out on every side of us. The wind was blowing, which cooled us down nicely, and we listened in on a couple of English speaking tour guides to gain some knowledge of the area. We have no more Rick audio guides left, and we had come to quite enjoy them. The Parthenon is thousands of years old, and has been (is) beautifully restored, with the new white bits of marble filling the gaps contrasting nicely with the age old yellowed original marble. After walking carefully down the steps again, taking photos from every angle, Richard was keen to climb up on a nearby rock, where a cache was hidden. That achieved, we wandered through more ruins further down the hill, and viewed a church and a well in tact Doric Temple. Hayden and Richard walked over for a closer look round, while Sarah and I sat under the shade of a tree, and listened in to an Indian guided group, whose guide was luckily speaking English. There was also an excellent museum on the same grounds, which we wandered through. We are now starting to recognise some of the styles from the different periods of history (from the other museums we have visited).

At the base of the hill, we chanced upon some markets – the shops were fascinating, selling everything from natural sea sponges, to hand crafted things, to flash bicycles! We had lunch at a cafe, and visited even more of the market. Unfortunately, by the time we got to the Athens Archeological Museum, which is meant to be stunning, it was2.58 pm and we were out of luck – it closed at 3 pm! That was a real shame to miss it, so we will have to put it on our list for next time. After a wander through the Botanical Gardens, which seemed to be filled with lots of very weird people, we found our way back to the Metro to begin our journey back to the campsite. There were lots of police around, armed with machine guns etc – Richard said it was because of a bombing in Athens, where one person was killed – I hadn’t even heard that it had happened! The Metro stations are some of the most modern in the world, and they are like museums themselves, with glassed cases filled with pottery, statues, marble and other artifacts. We managed to find our correct train, then catch a bus back to our campsite.

The washing strung round the inside of the camper had managed to dry nicely, so got packed away before a quick dinner, round of Canasta and into bed.