Athens, Greece Day 170

We were awoken this morning at 6:00 am by the PA announcements to wake people up to get to their cars to drive off the ferry. That kind of sucked because we had set our alarm for 7:00. When we checked in the night before the front desk weren’t very clear on what the procedure was for the next morning, so we phoned reception to ask about check out/wake up times etc. They said the ferry got in at 6:30, but we didn’t need to leave our rooms until 8:00. Seemed strange to us, but we were happy for a little extra shut eye.
Well, we left our room at 7:30 to get off the ferry, and we were quite obviously the last ones on the ship. A porter saw us and grabbed my bag (they always seem to grab my bag first rather than Deb’s monstrosity. They’re smart, they can see what a bitch it is too!) He saw her struggling and took her bag as well and he hurried us through the ship to get us off. Trucks were starting to board the ferry at this point. Why oh why did TWO separate people tell us that it was fine to leave the ferry at eight? Clearly we would have been taken away to a new island if we had stayed aboard any longer! Maybe we should have been suspicious that their response to every question we asked about when to get off the ferry was “Yes, please.”
So we get off the ferry and saw a Starbucks close by in the port. We head there to grab a coffee and muffin and to utilise the free wifi. Starbucks is VERY expensive here! A tall cappuccino is over 3 euro! Maybe that’s on par with what they cost at home, but I hardly ever buy specialty coffee drinks so I guess I just can’t compare. We sit and have our breakfast and plan on how we’re going to get to our hotel. I know that there is a metro station nearby, so that would be our cheapest option. I ask the Starbucks girl how to get there, and how long it would take to walk. Oh, it’s just over there (she waves in a general direction) and it only takes about 3 minutes to walk.
This, in a nutshell describes pretty well every experience we’ve had with a Greek person to date when asking for directions. They are always very vague when giving directions. There’s no, “Go down this street and turn left. There’s just a lot of gesturing and waving in a certain direction and similar wording to that measure. And as for it being a 3 minute walk? Maybe if I had superpowers and became POWERWALKER could I walk that distance in 3 minutes, but really it was more lie a 15 minute walk. So we start walking and a taxi passes us and stops and asks where we are going. We just say no and wave him on. He says something else but we just say “No thank you!” We keep walking and the cab is back. He stops and gets out of his cab and tells us that the Metro is on strike today, so we’re out of luck there. Darn… best laid plans down the drain. Long story short, we had to pay 30 euro for a taxi to our hotel but we really had no choice. This is what the protesters want, after all, to inconvenience the tourists!
There are these stands all over Greece selling these bread stick/bagel type of thing. I think they’re pretty but never bothered to try one…
We settled into our hotel in the Plaka area (much nicer than our last hotel in Omonia) and decide to go on a walkabout. Since we already did the Acropolis when we here the first time we decided to check out all of the other sites in the area. We started out by going to the Temple of Olympian Zeus and Hadrian’s Arch. This is an amazing site. The columns are massive and in great condition, and is a truly impressive sight when you catch a glimpse of the Acropolis in the background. So beautiful.
Hadrians Arch.
Our next stop was the New Acropolis Museum. What a stunning museum this is. As you are walking to the entrance you can peer through the glass walkway to see the archaeological dig going on below your feet. As we were walking to the ticket counter we saw this little yellow Finch that was stuck trying to fly through the glass railing to get back to the trees. It was weird, because clearly he could have just flown in the opposite direction to free himself, but it was kind of like a fly stuck behind a window, he just couldn’t figure out how to do it. So I slowly walked over to him, fully expecting him to fly away but he must have been exhausted because he just let me pick him up and carry him over to the grassy area. As soon as I opened my hand he flew away and I felt like I had done my good deed of the day. And yes mom, I used my hand sani right after. (:
The museum sits at the base of the Acropolis, and you have a wonderful view of it from the huge windows that face it on each floor. The museum is only a few years old, and is bright, airy and modern. It has a fabulous collection of things found on the site of the Acropolis and a great representation of the statues that were part of the East and West pediments. Some of it is still intact, but most of it has been redone so you can see how it would have looked.
This is the walkway to the entrance.
There is a great sculpture in the museum depicting the birth of Athena, the namesake of Athens. It seems that someone named Metis was pregnant with a child, and the god Zeus swallowed her in order to prevent her from having offspring. But little did he know that she was already pregnant so when he ordered Hephaestus to crack him over the head to relieve a headache, Athena burst out fully formed and armed.
As a non-religious person this thought occurred to me as I was reading this story. I think if you asked anyone in the world (for the most part) if they believed that this story was actual fact, I think they would say it’s only a myth and not true. Why? Because it’s a bit far- fetched and seemingly impossible, right?  Then why do so many people still believe the story of Jesus? Or the story of Adam and Eve?  Isn’t it just as seemingly impossible? And if it’s a matter of faith, then would I be deemed a bit wacky (or would it be totally acceptable) if I decided I was going to start believing in Zeus?  I’m not asking this as a way of trying to make fun of anyone or be disrespectful. I’ve learned so much about the” big three” religions in the past 6 months and seriously want to know the answer to my question. I know there is no hard and fast answer, but I do wish there could be more discussion/debate on this topic without a lot of flaming and hatred… the world has enough of that on its own. What I have learned is that no matter what or who you believe in (or don’t believe in, like me) we’re all just people who mostly want the same things out of life.
This is the Herod Atticus Odeon. It was put up in honour of Herodes deceased wife in the year 160 AD.
This is the Church of the Holy Apostles circa 1000 AD.
Stoa of Attalos. This is where all the action happened. This is where business happened, philosophers debated and people just hung out.
This was  base for a statue. Kind of weird, isn’t it?
This is the base for a bronze tripod, which was the prize for a victory in the theatre. 1st century AD.
Great view from the area of the Ancient Agora.
We walked over to the Ancient Agora next. It is another beautiful structure, and so well preserved. The ancient Greeks really knew how to build things to last!
This is our cat of the day. His name is Meze!
The view from our balcony. Our hotel room might not be all that nice, but the view is pretty great.


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