Athens | Acropolis NOW!
I love a bit of history, and due to my Australian education I was well versed in the structure and layout of ancient cities. However, after a few hours in Athens, I suddenly realise why the English and American curriculum focus mainly on the classics. Society and buildings does not prepare you for the commentary and stories so closely link with Athens.
This is another city where we tried out the Segway Tour. This tour us from The Acropolis Museum to the streets of Plaka.
From Mars Hill we could see far stretching views of the Acropolis.
Our guide was invaluable for his knowledge of the ancient Greet mythology and history. This olive tree, on the top of the acropolis was the god Athena’s gift to Athens in Zeus’s challenge for possession of Athens. Behind is the Temple of Poseidon, where hole in the portico marks where Poseidon struck the ground with his three pronged trident to create a spring well. The people chose the olive tree for it’s oil and fruit, thus Athens’ name was founded.
The gravity of the buildings built during both the Greek and Roman times it truly breathtaking. In a way it surpasses the towering sky scrapers of modern day. Knowing that hands built such structures, with simple tools and mathematics.
There is a strange feeling that you get when you know you are standing on ground that has felt the weight of 1000’s of feet over 1000’s of years. The first athletes to create the ancient Olympics, the shoes of the runners paving the way for the modern Olympics.
There are dips in the steps in the stands, wear on the seats. How long does it take to wear a stone seat?
Food in Athens
At night there are a myriad of Taverna’s to try the nectar of the gods. If you fancy, you can even attend a Greek cooking class in a traditional Taverna. Our host taught us to make traditional pasty pies, with meat and cheese; Dolmades with rice and spices; Greek salad washed down with our new favourite digestive Rakimelon. We slow roasted a shoulder of lamb in herbs, garlic and white wine until it fell of the bone.
All with lashings of Greek wine, which, coincidently I am sipping, now, as I write.
We stayed at the Plaka Hotel, with gorgeous views of the acropolis and surrounds. Close by we found a famous bar called Brettos. They barrel their own brandy, port, wine and Raki, as well as holding a vast supply of Greek and international wines. We were hosted by the owner who brought us a glass of wine each from out own individual preferences. Each wine was exactly as we described we liked. He followed us up with some of our favourite Rakimelon, warmed this time, tasting like Christmas and the orient; a mark of the multiple Turkish invasions.
Athens is a place where you can eat cheaply. It is cheap in general. A ticket to the Acropolis will also get you into the Agora including the Temple of Hephaestus, the cemetery (Kerameikos), the temple of Zeus and the theatre of Dionysus surrounding the Acropolis.
The Acropolis Museum is spectacular and very modern. Built around the friezes that once circled the Pantheon. Such a good display of antiquities, I can understand the Greek plee for the Elgin Marbles.