Friday, June 12, 2015

Friday June 12, 2015

First glimpse of Parthenon 

A bunch of random observations as a result of our visit to the Acropolis and Athens today:

The Parthenon housed a church (Our Lady of Athens) for almost a thousand years.
Also a mosque. Complete with minaret.

Much of the destruction of the Parthenon was as a result of an explosion of munitions that were stored (unbelievablely) there. This happened not very long ago (1687).


There are stray dogs on the Acropolis. Many. But they appear to be well-fed even though they desperately need a bath.

You can see the Mediterranean from the Acropolis. The Parthenon has a spectacular setting.

The Parthenon is undergoing restoration therefore a not insignificant portion is hidden by scaffolding. The restoration appears to be something that will be ongoing for many years.

The Acropolis is slippery. There is lots of exposed bedrock (due to overzealous excavation). This rock has been polished by millions of visitors. Therefore extreme caution is required when walking.

Japanese tourists are terrified of the sun. They seemingly do not care what they look like just so as every inch of their body is covered or otherwise shielded from the sun.

You are not allowed into the Parthenon. You can only look at it from a distance of about ten to fifteen yards.

The new Acropolis Museum is built on top of an active archaeological site. You can see the ongoing dig through glass floors located inside and outside the museum.

They do not serve ketchup with French fries at the cafe in the Acropolis Museum. Nor do they serve mayonnaise. No sauce whatsoever. However the fries are still tasty.

The quality of the sculpture at the Archaeological Museum is better than at the Acropolis Museum.

Poseidon throwing a thunderbolt or a trident

Tour guides do not like it if you walk in front of them. Even just a little bit. Like eighteen inches. If you don't believe me just ask Russell.

Whatever you do, stay behind the number three!

They do serve Greek yogurt in Greece. For desert. With honey. Also yummy.

Greek flag has nine blue and white stripes with a blue cross in the upper right corner.

The books at the Acropolis Museum Shop are not sold in the ground floor shop but rather in a special second floor shop. This means that one would have to re-enter the museum in order to purchase books. To re-enter the museum you must show your ticket. But if you have entered the museum with a tour guide you do not get a ticket (she just scans her card through the machine and you follow along behind her). Therefore, people who shouldn't be buying books because their luggage is already grossly overweight cannot even look at the books that they should not be buying even if they really want to. Without a ticket. Which they don't have. Understand? Me neither.

There is a lot of graffiti in Athens.

Some of the graffiti appears to be political with phrases like "Wake Up" and "Fight Back".

Despite the economic crisis, life in Greece goes on pretty much as it does everywhere. For example, people ride the bus, drink coffee at cafes, get their hair cut, ride scooters, etc.

Tennis anyone? Yes, that's a man in the white pleated skirt!

You can bring a pocket knife onto a cruise ship but only if you show it to the security guard on duty and
therefore hold up an entire line while doing so.

This member of our group is violating the museum's rule against posing with the statuary. Seriously, that's the rule!

Note: they do not sell cough drops at the duty-free store in the port of Piraeus.

Also, if you want to withdraw cash from an ATM in Athens you have to select "borrow money" not "cash advance".

Just a few random observations I thought you might appreciate.

PS -- Some of the above information comes from The Parthenon, Revised Edition. A Harvard University Press book (2010) by Mary Beard.

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