05 August 2009

Day 2 - 3/8/09

Our first whole day in Athens, we decided to make our "tourist" day. Woke up and took the metro to Monastiraki. Marveled (still do) at how the metro is the cleanest part of Athens - immaculate, really. We wandered through the labyrinth of kitschy shops in the flea market, through the Plaka and past the Roman Agora, always with our final destination visible above the rooftops.

Closer to the top, we climbed Areopagus Hill. This craggy rock used to be an important meeting place - the judiciary of Athens and later, St. Paul. We took the original stairs up - which are now a small struggle as the marble steps have grown fairly smooth - and the modern metal stairs on the way down. Had great views of the city, and talked cameras with a Brit.

Then we were there: The Acropolis.

At the ticket booth I realized I completely forgot to bring my student idea. The result was, I had to pay 12 euro to get in, and to add insult to injury, Amy got in FREE because her ID says Arts & Sciences somewhere on it, and art students get in free. Did I mention she is an ENGLISH major?

Along with hundreds of other modern pilgrims we ooo-ed and ahh-ed and took endless pictures, and I tried to dredge up from my brain some architecture or history that I could share with Amy, as her default tour guide.

Amy started a "sleepy dogs" series. It has the makings of a future calendar.

After seeing what could be seen, we ambled down the other side, past the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and then around the hill and back through the Plaka. We bought some huge grapes from a cart in Monastiraki, headed home and took a nap.
We had dinner at a great crepe shop near our hotel and then trekked over to where the funicular cable car goes up to the top of Mount Lycavittos.

From this little mountain, in legend a rock that Athena dropped on the way to the Acropolis to make her temple, you can see the entire city of Athens, and the sea. The city is huge, spreading to the hills that ring it on 3 sides like a horseshoe, which opens into the sea at Piraeus. Lycavittus houses a chapel of St.George, an ampitheatre, and a restaurant.

Hazy from the heat or the smog, the city spread out below us, beautiful from this height. We had a drink in the cafe to admire the view as long as possible, then came back to Exarchion and fell into bed.

(N.B.: more pictures will be added to this post when I find a computer that can handle rotating a photo)

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