Athens and the Acropolis: Day Two

We woke up on Sunday morning to the sound of rain. By the looks of things it had rained all night and wasn’t showing any sign of slowing down. Our plans to see the Acropolis with Anna were looking in jeopardy. Regardless, Anna came to our apartment and we caught up before deciding we’d take a taxi to the Acropolis Museum and wait out the rain.

When we got in the taxi I didn’t check that he had his meter on. I couldn’t even see the meter. So when he dropped us the three minutes down the road and he asked for €5, I handed it over. I think we all thought that was reasonable enough. At the end of the day when we caught a taxi home and it took about 15 minutes, the total came to €5.50. Now that was a bargain. Anyway, I digress…

Acropolis Museum

Every tourist in Athens had the same idea to escape the rain in the Acropolis Museum. We joined the queue for security and then the queue for the tickets and set off for a bit of culture and learning. Thankfully Anna was of the same mindset as us in that we were happy with passive learning. That is, if the learning came to us, we’d take it in. If not, then we’d find the restaurant.

We wandered through the galleries, picking up bits and pieces from a tour guide who was leading a group. I learned that being naked in the gymnasium was a sign of high status. We also learned that there seemed little rhyme or reason as to why you could take photos in most galleries but not the first, despite there being no demarcation to tell you so.

Inside were lots of statues, urns, sculptures, columns etc, and minimal signage (although when there were information boards they were in big chunks of text…not that conducive to processing). Our favourite gallery, however, was on the top floor where they have replicated the size and shape of the top of the Parthenon and placed around the sides copies and fragments of the friezes that were on the Parthenon. Meanwhile, this window-lined gallery had a fantastic view of the Acropolis. This was a masterful piece of interpretation and by far the highlight of the museum.

Having reached the top of the museum and seen ‘everything’, we rewarded ourselves with lunch in the restaurant, again with a superb view of the Parthenon out the window. We’ve started to notice a pattern with food service that, when you’ve finished your meal, it’s nearly impossible to get someone to bring the check. And then, when they finally do, it takes another eternity to pay. Anna put it down to them not wanting us to leave so the tables would look full. Whatever it is, it’s frustrating.

The Acropolis and More

The rain had abated by the time we got outside so we walked to the Acropolis, bought our ticket and ascended the hill with the rest of the horde. It’s an impressive collection of statues, columns, temples and rocks on the ground. We navigated around the crowds and took our photos, looked out across Athens and considered how interesting it would be to have immersive interpretation going on up there, for example, a sacrifice to Athena or priests selling votives. I guess they don’t need to add more considering how many people go just to see it and the view.

We navigated around the crowds and took our photos, looked out across Athens and considered how interesting it would be to have immersive interpretation going on up there, for example, a sacrifice to Athena or priests selling votives. I guess they don’t need to add more considering how many people go just to see it and the view.

The Parthenon is under construction as part of renovation and restoration works so one side is covered in scaffolding and blocked with a crane. It would really be something if they were able to restore it to the level where you could walk through the temple itself. Then you’d really get an idea of the scale of the thing. The old temple of Athena, the smaller one next to it, is mostly there but again, off-limits.

We wandered down from the top of the hill along the southern slope, seeing more ruins, before popping out down the bottom to go walking through Plaka. We covered much the same route that we’d travelled the day before, again stopping, looking in shops and buying things. We also stopped at a restaurant near Hadrian’s Library and had meze and Aperol spritz.

Despite our screaming legs, we continued our march to check out more of the sites. We’d paid for a combo ticket (€30) which gave us entry to the Acropolis and a bunch of other temples and ruins. We hit the Roman Agora first but were unable to enter as it had suddenly become 5 pm and it had closed. We walked on, going to the Stoa and the Ancient Agora of Athens.

The Stoa, although restored, is impressive. A two-storey building with lots of columns, the effect of the light and shadow is stunning. We then cut across more ruins, up a hill and then to the Temple of Hephaistos which had excellent views across and up to the Acropolis. Well worth the trek.

Dead legs by this stage we cut through the tourist restaurants, again ending up near where we were the day before near Monastiraki Square, and caught a taxi home. Anna went to check-in to her accommodation and a few hours later we set off for food. Again, crossing territory we’d been over before, we hit a neighbourhood bar/pizzeria called Colibri. Glen and Anna had pasta while I had chicken and salad (GREEN THINGS! YAY!). We were falling asleep at the table by 8:30. Anna’s work colleague arrived but we said our farewells and stumbled home and to bed.

A packed day! Delphi on Monday.