Day 034: Athens, Greece
Position: N 37º 58′ 32″ E 023º 43′ 26″
Weather: 36ºC wind north 15 kts
Last Port: Ashdod, Israel
Next Port: Mytilene, Greece
Status: In port, port-side-to
From the Navigator
A view of a Grecian Temple from the Acropolis
Surveying gear at the Parthenon – modern meets absolutely ancient
Columns in various states of repair. It was an absolutely clear and blue day. The wind was relentless, pounding in from the north and stirring up dust, sand and grit. Millions of footsteps have polished any piece of exposed marble to a fine polish. The slippery footing combined with the fine dust, uneven terrain and blowing debris made walking tricky.
Here we are after taking a few minutes to photograph our backpacking passengers – the West By Sea object collection
This may look like a jumbled pile of rocks, a child’s building block collection. But look again. Those three vertical windows are perfectly square, exactly the same in dimensions. Look a third time. The horizontal space *separating* the windows is exactly the dimension of the windows themselves. Now try doing that with technology only available 3000 years ago. Yup. Hard.
Another temple at the Acropolis. (We will dig out the name in the updated version of the post. Who knows what these columns represent?)
The modern camping industry could take a hint from this Hellenic period cookware. I love that the heat shield has its own matching handle.
An everyday goblet in ancient Greece.
This pattern was on the ground. It looked absolutely drab, the colors barely visible. Through the magic of photoshop we can see the effect produced by thousands of irregular tiles, each smaller than one centimeter square. Placing this floor required dedication and attention to detail. And maybe a little ouzo?
The Temple of the Eight Winds. This was an early observatory, with sighting slots, sundial and a water clock for keeping time on cloudy days.
Detail of the top pieces, one for each of the eight winds.
For Ed and you engineers out there, this is the best part – the plan view! It is rare to find something like this, but a welcome addition. We thank the designers of this sign for including a scale with the layout. This means we can build one of our own some day.
Where we stopped for lunch. These are strange looking men with long beards and bushy tails.
Michelle ordered this eggplant lasagne, alternately stacked with thick slabs of the vegetable and a filling which contained a more than generous proportion of pesto. The grape leaves are stuffed with a mixture of ground lamb, rice, mint and spices and drizzled with a lightly creamy cheese sauce.
The “Wind Star”, based in Nassau. Perhaps next time we get underway?
Back underway among the islands of Greece. It is easy to understand why they became a seafaring people. The islands are all visible from each other, just a short journey by boat. You don’t need a reason. Just go.
Board your motorcoach for a scenic driving tour into the heart of Athens. Your narrated tour orients you to the city and passes a host of major sites, including Hadrian’s Arch, the statue of Lord Byron, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Constitution Square, the former Royal Palace, the National Gardens, the Academy and the University Library.
Your six-hour, independent exploration begins in central Athens as you will be dropped off near the traditional shopping district of the Plaka.
The metro station is located at Syntagna Sauare (Constitution) and is probably the most beautiful station you will ever see, with an underground archeological museum right next to the trains. Across the street are the National Gardens, where you can hop a trolley bus to the National Archaeological Museum, unless you’d prefer to take a pleasant 30-minute walk there.
A short walk away is the Plaka, the city’s historic shopping district, located just under the Acropolis. The Plaka is the oldest section of Athens. Most of its streets have been closed to automobile traffic and walking the cobblestone pedestrian lanes will make you feel as though you have been transported to a small village. The streets are lined with boutiques, souvenir stands, jewelry stores, and colorful flea market stalls. Street musicians entertain as you browse the shops and flower peddlers offer fragrant bouquets as you pass by.
When you’ve worked up an appetite you can choose from a myriad of caf�s and tavernas offering traditional Greek fare. The seafood is exceptional, the salads fresh and flavorful, and the house wines a delight. Take a seat at an outdoor caf� and savor Greek coffee and traditional pastries, a wonderful way to soak up the local color and relaxed tempo.
Discover the many small museums in Plaka, including the beautiful collections in the Museum of Greek Folk Art, the charming Greek Musical Instrument Museum, and the Jewish Museum of Greece.
At the completion of your independent tour, return to the designated motorcoach area and meet your fellow travelers for a return trip back to port.