Monday, August 30, 2010

We are now in Athens, Greece and boy is it hot! It is a huge change from the British climate. It must be in the 30’s. The saving grace is that our hostel is air conditioned! Wow! Imagine. The air conditioning comes on with our room key so when we leave the room, the air conditioning turns off. Kind of neat. So they have managed to improved the temperature issue in the past 20 years but apparently not the plumbing issue. You still have to throw your toilet paper into a waste basket instead of the toilet. Ewww.

We climbed up to the Acropolis yesterday afternoon in the blazing heat, dragging Julia all the way. She had imagined lying on the warm sands at a seaside resort with cool breezes and palm trees, not climbing stark rock hills to yet another stone monument. No amount of discussion could convince her that the Parthenon was one of the world’s greatest structures.

Heat aside, I still found it thrilling walking up the smooth marble steps between the ancient columns, imagining the great statue of Athena that must once have stood there. And then, as I rose up through the columns, there was the Parthenon. We stopped in the shade of the entryway and noted the lack of marbles gracing the pediment of the Parthenon. We had already seen those at the British Museum. The restoration was coming along. In the past 20 years, we could see the progress they had made. There was a lot of new stone and I kind of hope they don’t redo the whole thing. It would be cool to see the way it used to look but there is something quite enchanting about seeing the ruins.

We walked over to the Erectheon (not sure about the spelling). It is almost more romantic than the Parthenon to me. The structure was built for a king. When the citizens were trying to decide on a name for their city, Athena and Poseidon vied for the right to name it. Poseidon showed his great strength and generosity by blasting a hole in the Erectheon (you can see it in the ceiling) and down into the floor of the covered porch. He poured seawater into the hole as a gift to the people. Athena then planted an Olive tree nearby as her gift. The people decided that the tree was a better gift as there were more ways to use the olive. They named the city Athens in her honour. The picture is of the children standing next to the very tree Athena planted. Really. The marbles at the British Museum tell the story of the battle between Athena and Poseidon.

After we climbed down the hill, we had dinner at the Plaka at a restaurant overlooked by the Acropolis. The food wasn’t that great, except for Julia’s lamb in a clay pot meal that was exceptional. It didn’t really matter, though, because we are in Greece! We had to get up at 2:30am to get to Greece but we are here and it is wonderful.


Rhonda said...

I just wanted to say that I look forward to reading your updates. Tomorrow I go in to set up my new class..... enjoy Greece!!

Mynnette said...

Your mom and Ian were here in Hville overnite after the wedding. We looked for a blog,but no new ones then.Enjoy Greece- so much history- glad you already saw the Elgin Marbles.XX Mynnette

Steve said...

The Plaka and Acropolis are definite high lights of Athens. Just seeing the sprawl of white wash stretch as far as the eye can see is incredible. The path ways of marble, smoothed over by thousands of years of feet walking the same path is so cool. It wasn't that long ago that Nancy and I walked there as well (OK it was 10 years ago almost). I am sure it will be nice to get out of Athens and up the coast or off the islands. Have a blast in Santorini and say hi to Mama in Fira for us!

maryanncart said...

Ok Ok...Now Steve has set me up with a password page so my dim memory will still connect! Great blog seeing Rhys and Julia where Ian and I have been...and all of you have been! TOTALLY COOL. Had a great trip to N.C....the wedding was wonderful...Lynne and Aleck did a great job...Rachel and Jim are fun...enjoyed staying at the Wilsons' in Hendersonville..