Athens 11/06

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In the footsteps of ancient Athenians...

Room with a view: Acropolis day & night

Athens continues to offer the best of both ancient and modern worlds. A huge sprawling city, it delivers a unique mixture of 21st century urban life right next door to the roots of its thousands of years of history. Athens is the only city I've ever been to where pieces of marble lay beside the sidewalks and roads, where subway stations are museums of their own excavation and where a city full of tall office buildings is overshadowed by a 2500 year old monument on a hill.

Monday November 20th

Starting the day with coffee on our balcony at the Marriott Ledra Athens, I snapped the morning light equivalent of the Acropolis shot I took the prior night. The large picture above shows those two shots stitched together. After breakfast we began a walking tour of the city. We wound our way up the sidewalk and steps of the Acropolis. The sheer size of the Acropolis itself and the structures on it are hard to comprehend without being there.

 

Craig & Wayne at the Parthenon west face

After passing through the Beule Gate and ascending the stairs beside the Temple of Athena Nike, we turned right past the Odeon of Herodes Atticus (first picture above), crossing south away from the Erechtheion (second picture above). We set up a small tripod on the southern wall and waited for the sparse crowds to pass by to capture the large picture top of page right, standing at the foot of the western face of the Parthenon. Continuing east along the southern face of the Parthenon (third picture above), we got a sense of the incredible views this place offered for defending itself (fourth picture above looking southeast over Hadrian's Arch, the Roman Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Panathenaic Stadium, all of which lay ahead of us on our walk that day). The eastern face of  the Parthenon (first picture below) is near the (soon to be relocated) Acropolis Museum which houses many of the important pieces that once adorned the buildings (second picture below). Circling around the north side of the Acropolis we visited the Erechtheion close-up and got an overhead view of our next destination, where Socrates and Plato once walked (third picture below).

Leaving the Acropolis, we wound our way down the path to the Ancient Agora (fourth picture above at its eastern end and first picture below looking across from its western end back toward the Acropolis). Heading east out of the Ancient Agora toward Monastiraki Square, we visited the Roman Agora and the Tower of the Winds (second and third pictures below). The contrasts of ancient and modern Athens abound in this area. Skirting the base of the northeast wall of the Acropolis we strolled the thin streets of the Plaka, stopping along the way for a delicious lunch at a sidewalk counter creperie (fourth picture below).

Exiting the Plaka, Hadrian's Arch comes into view (first picture below) which marks the entrance to the Roman Temple of Olympian Zeus (second picture below). Continuing our walk eastward, we arrived at the site of the 2000 year old marble Panathenaic Stadium, which hosted the 2004 Olympics as well as the first modern Olympics in 1896 (third picture below). From the stadium we cut back northwest through the National Gardens, ending our walk around 4PM at the Parliament Building's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier where the Evozones, National Guardsmen in their unique uniforms, maintain an animated and remarkable vigil (fourth picture below).

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