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Athens – the last day

October 12, 2015 Leave a comment

All good things must come to an end, even a terrific trip like the one we have been on.  So on our last day we managed to get in some final sights.

We walked to Athens First Cemetery, the most important cemetery in Athens.  It is not the largest, but most prestigious.  The cemetery is organized by family, with all family members buried in one area or crypt.  Some of these were exceptionally elaborate.  If you can’t take it with you, make a monument…

Our friend George and his lovely wife Angela made our last day most pleasant.  First, he drove us near the top of Mount Lycabettus, the highest point in Athens at 300 meters (908 feet) above sea level.  A great view from way up there made the last climb up worthwhile!

For a send of, George treated us to a fantastic lunch at a very local sea food restaurant near the seaside city of Pireas.  The fish was fresh caught and superbly cooked.  Great sendoff, George!

Now only have the trip back to contend with and then see if we can get life back to normal.

Wonder if this was a sailor making his last voyage

Wonder if this was a sailor making his last voyage

A memorial to all the mothers killed during World War 2

A memorial to all the mothers killed during World War 2

Elaborate carvings

Elaborate carvings

Some self importance at work here?

Some self importance at work here?

Some reminded me of the Parthenon

Some reminded me of the Parthenon

The last walk was well uphill

The last walk was well uphill

The view made the climb worth it

The view made the climb worth it

If you look real close you can find the Acropolis

If you look real close you can find the Acropolis

Yes, the fish is fresh!

Yes, the fish is fresh!

This is how we like to see the fish!

This is how we like to see the fish!

And a toast to you and Angel, George

And a toast to you and Angela, George

Athens – the Agora Forums

September 25, 2015 Leave a comment

The Agora of Athens (also known as “Forums”) was the center of the ancient city: a large, open square where the citizens could assemble for a wide variety of purposes. On any given day the space might be used as a market, or for an election, a dramatic performance, a religious procession, military drill, or athletic competition. Here administrative, political, judicial, commercial, social, cultural, and religious activities all found a place together in the heart of Athens, and the square was surrounded by the public buildings (“Stoas”) necessary to run the Athenian government.

Later the Agora defined the open-air, often tented, marketplace of a city where merchants had their shops and where craftsmen made and sold their wares. Today, open-air markets are still held in that same location. There were confectioners who made pastries and sweets, slave-traders, fishmongers, vintners, cloth merchants, shoe-makers, dress makers, and jewelry purveyors.  One of the Stoas (Stoa of Attalos) has been rebuilt just to show the size and complexity of the building.  It now houses the Museum shops.

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View looking west toward the Hephaisteion

Detail of the  Hephaisteion

Detail of the Hephaisteion

Romola is dwarfed by the Hephaisteion

Romola is dwarfed by the Hephaisteion

Lower colonnade of the Stoa of Attalos.

Lower colonnade of the Stoa of Attalos.

Bust of one of the residents of the Forum

Bust of one of the residents of the Forum

Some ,of the statuary

Some of the statuary

Shrine has been rebuilt

Much of the Shrine has been rebuilt

Inside the Shrine

Inside the Shrine

Not much left of the Metroon

Not much left of the Metroon, one of the early meeting places

One of the old walls

One of the old walls of the Forum

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Athens – museums

September 22, 2015 Leave a comment

Athens has a lot of museums. A lot.  We didn’t have enough time for all so we just visited the New Acropolos Museum and the Archaeological Museum.   We could have spent days in either one.

The New Acropolis Museum is considered one of Athens most important museums.  Beautifully laid out, and still respecting the excavations underneath.  In fact, you can still observe the ongoing excavations, either through viewing openings or transparent  floor panels.  Much of the Acropolis’ treasures are on display in this museum.

The National Archaeological Museum houses some of the most important artifacts from a variety of archaeological locations around Greece from prehistory to late antiquity. It is considered one of the greatest museums in the world and contains the richest collection of artifacts from Greek antiquity worldwide.  Of special interest was the Antikythera mechanism,  an ancient analog computer designed to predict astronomical positions for navigation as well as predicting the cycles of the Ancient Olympic Games.

Acropolis museum, at night

Acropolis museum, at night

Artifacts

Pieces of the frieze

Parthenon carvings

Parthenon carvings

Parthenon carvings

Parthenon carvings

Parthenon carvings

Parthenon carvings

Parthenon carvings

Parthenon carvings

Parthenon carvings

Parthenon busts

Archeaological museum

National Archeaological museum

Detailed figurine

Detailed figurine some 5,000 years old

Gold burial decorations

Gold burial decorations

This statue is some 8 feet tall

This statue is some 8 feet tall

Tall statue of a virgin

Tall statue of a virgin holding her robe

Men spent much of their time in the gymn, and showed off by running around nude (really!)

Men spent much of their time in the gym, and showed off by running around nude (really!)

Artemision Bronze (God of the Sea), either Zeus or Poseidon

Artemision Bronze (God of the Sea), either Zeus or Poseidon

Depicting s killed warrior and his sad slave

Depicting s killed warrior and his sad slave

Massive bronze statues

Massive bronze statues

World's first analog computer

World’s first analog computer

Athens – Acropolis

September 22, 2015 Leave a comment

Athens has been the center of Greek civilization for some 4,000 years. The capital of modern Greece, it’s still dominated by 5th century BC landmarks, including the Acropolis, a hilltop citadel topped with ancient buildings such as the colonnaded Parthenon temple.   So it was fitting that we started our Athens trip at this iconic location.

The first observation was that of people.  Crowds everywhere, it took1/2 hour to buy tickets, then 15 minutes to get in.  There was even a 15 minute line to leave the grounds!  But put all that behind you, and enjoy not only the scenery but the awareness of walking in (on) the steps of people over some 4,000 years.  And marvel at the abilities of people who did not have any benefits of modern equipment.

Across from our hotel was the Temple of Olympian Zeus, definitely worth a visit.   The work on the column top was incredible.  Then a walk to the Panathenaic Stadium, site of the first modern Olympic games in 1896, again in 2004, and now hosting ceremonial events & live music concerts.

We ended the day with a terrific dinner at a most pleasant local Greek restaurant.  And oh yes, we walked around 9 miles today.

The Parthenon as viewd from the Olympic Stadium

The Parthenon as viewed from the Olympic Stadium; Zeus Temple peeking from behind the trees

Pantheon, from a distance

The Parthenon, picture taken from the rooftop bar in our hotel

St. George Chapel, on Lycovitus Hill

St. George Chapel, on Lycovitus Hill

Parthenon elevation

Parthenon elevation

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Parthenon coner

Parthenon corner

Hard to imagine how these were built!

Hard to imagine how these were built!

Looking up at the massive stonework

Looking up at the massive stonework

Tanya and Romola in front of the Parthenon

Tanya and Romola in front of the Parthenon

Lots of pieces left to put together!

Lots of pieces left to put together!

A view down to the old theater, still used today

A view down to the old theater, still used today

“Porch of the Maidens”

Tanya and Shane in front of the caryatids (female statues)

Tanya and Shane in front of the caryatids (female statues)

Hadrian Arch

Hadrian Arch

Detail of the column tops

Detail of the column tops

Temple of Olympian Zues

Temple of Olympian Zues

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Looking into the open end of the stadium

Statue at the Stadium

Statue at the Stadium