About Me

I am a 45 year husband and dad, currently adjusting to life back in the United States after living in Italy for a little over two years. I love spending time with my family, cycling, model railroading, mosaics and watching TV and movies.

Saturday, April 30, 2011


It's Saturday, our last full day of vacation in Greece.  Today we headed to the Acropolis to see the Parthenon and other Greek ruins.  

We stopped for breakfast at a bakery just down the street from our hotel.  Brandon had some pita chips, while Katrina and I each had some freshly baked spinach stuffed bread.  

We caught a Metro train to the Acropolis stop, then proceeded to enter the historical park.  The Acropolis is the Sacred Rock where the most important temples of Athens are located.  The great marble temples were built during the late 5th century reign of Perikles, known as the Golden Age of Athens.  

Dionysus Theater was our first stop on our long hike to the top of the Acropolis.  This theater was the site of Classical Greece's drama competitions, where tragedies and comedies by the great playwrights were performed.  The theater seated 15,000.  Some of the engraved front row high back seats where the priests sat are still visible.  

Brandon takes a seat in the theater to look through his pictures.

Trying out one of the priests seats.  

Herodes Atticus Theater.  This theater was built in later, in 161 by its namesake.  In summer it hosts the Athens festival.

View from the Acropolis.  Thats the Temple of Hephaestus down below.

They say there are 150,000 stray dogs in Athens.  Many are cared for - fed and monitored health - by local organizations.  

  Acropolis Rock is the highest part of the city, an ideal place of refuge.  It has been used for religion and royalty continuously since Neolithic times.  The Propylaia is the grand entrance through which all visitors passed to reach the temples.  On the right sat the Temple of Athena.  

The Parthenon.  This was the epitome of ancient Greek Classical art.  It was a Temple to the Virgin goddess Athena who was represented inside by a giant gold and ivory sculpture.  Today the temple is surrounded by scaffolding while restoration work is being completed.  

Columns of the Parthenon

View looking down on the Dionysus Theater

The columns are wider than Brandon's arms stretched out.

More views of the Parthenon

Part of the column.  Brandon thought it looked more like a giant toilet seat.

Erechtheion.  According to myth, Athena and Poseidon battled for the patronage of Athens on this spot.  The Erechtheion's design unites separate temples to each of the two gods.

Second part of the temple

Brandon tries his hand with Katrina's camera.

He looks like a professional!

Pieces of marble and stone laid out for reconstruction.

Temple of Athena Nike at the entrance to the Acropolis.  The really white marble is new stone used to complete the reconstruction.

Another one of Athens canines.  

From the Acropolis, we made our way down to the Agora, Athen's ancient marketplace founded in the 6th century BC.  It was the center of all civic activities - politics, commerce, philosophy, religion, arts and athletics.  This is where Socrates addressed the public when democracy was born and where St Paul preached.  

Nymphaion.  The ruins of the Nymphaion, a 2nd century fountain house, are still visible despite the building of a Byzantine church over it in the 11th century.

These two pieces sit just outside the Stoa of Attalos.  King Attalos II of Pergamom built an impressive two story structure.  Today the Stoa is a museum displaying finds from the Agora.

Spring time in the Agora

Temple of Hephaestus.  This is the best preserved Classical temple in Greece, devoted jointly to Hephaestus and Athena.  

What a smile!

What a goof ball!

These column sections look as though they have shifted a bit.

Temple of Hephaestus

We left the Agora through the side gate and headed into the flea market area to find some lunch.  After lunch we hopped on the City Sightseeing bus and rode it to the Temple of Zeus.  

Athens street scene near the Agora.

The flea market area is always busy.

We passed these people filming some sort of scene.

Athens meat and fish market

This part of the market sells beans, spices and olives.

More spices

One of the old Greek government palaces, now a museum.

We exited the City Sightseeing bus at the Temple of Olympian Zeus.  The temple to the ruler of the pantheon was the largest in mainland Greece.  Inside stood two large gold and ivory statues;  one of the god and one of the Roman Emperor Hadrian.  

The guidebook and pictures speak of 16 columns still standing on the site.  We counted 15, and one fallen over.  We wondered how recently that happened?

Athenian canine guarding the temple

This was a massive temple.

View of Acropolis Rock from the Temple of Zeus

This column appeared to have recently toppled over.  Even the guidebooks show it standing.

The day was getting warm, so we found a bench in the shade and enjoyed the views.  At 3:30pm we were told it was time to leave.  Many of the monuments in Greece close very early in the day.

We walked up the street to the New Acropolis Museum.  Once we arrived, we decided we were too tired and lazy to look at a museum.  So, we walked up the street a few blocks to a photography exhibit that Katrina had spotted.  

The New Acropolis Museum is built on pillars above Greek ruins.  

Brandon tries to take a picture through of the ruins through the walkway glass.

On our way to the photography exhibit we passed an extension office of New York University.  Unfortunately, the outside walls were covered in anti-American graffiti.  

This and another phrase telling America to go f.... itself.  

Katrina visited the photography museum while Brandon and I hung around outside, sharing a drink and snack.   We were tired after a week of sightseeing.  When Katrina exited the museum, she tried to take a picture of the banners hanging on the building, advertising the photographer.  She wanted to remember who he is.  The security guard told her "No photos".  Come on, its the exterior of a gallery.  Katrina then explained that she wanted to remember who the photographer was, so the guard asked us to wait.  He came back a few minutes later with the photographer himself!  He spent some time talking to us and drew a picture for Brandon.  

Time to head back to the hotel.  We caught the next City Sightseeing bus, which would take us near the Novotel.  

Athens University and Academy of Arts

Demonstrators camping in front of the university:  they want asylum for Afghan refugees

National Library

Hard rockers never die, they just tour Europe.  

We exited the City Sightseeing bus and stopped for dinner at the same restaurant we ate at yesterday when we arrived.  This time we had gyros.  They were good, but didn't live up to our expectations.  

Its been a fabulous week in Greece.  I loved Santorini and really enjoyed Athens.  Tomorrow we fly home to Milan.  Our next and last 'big' trip will be to Norway at the end of the month.