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Day 5 Under the Acropolis


Location - Athens

The day started a little later than planned because the kids were pretty tired, especially Triumph, who was basically unconscious with fatigue for most of the morning.

We walked the five minute walk to the Acropolis Museum (a passive-aggressive attempt to shame Britain into returning the Elgin Marbles) at about 10 am. What a cool building! Glass floors that revealed the excavations below and the tourists’ panties on the floor above, complete with a to-scale parthenon of friezes and metopes on the top floor. It wasn’t too crowded, and we saw lots of famous pieces, like the ‘almond-eyed Kore’, the ‘blond boy,’ and ‘pensive Athena.’ We also liked the three troll-like heads on the Hekatompedon pediment monster and the very cool Lego Acropolis wherein we are pretty sure they are staging Oedipus at the Theatre of Dionysus. But, of course, the big draw, at least for me, was the original Caryatids from the Erechtheion. Such strong beautiful women!

We went home for a take out lunch and to let Tri nap. Then our afternoon plans had to change; we thought we were going to go to the Acropolis at 4, but our host had arranged a doctor’s appointment at 5. (Tri had developed a rash on the top of his foot in Sounion, and we didn’t want to leave Athens without having it looked at.)

We decided to go to the (non-Lego) Theatre of Dionysus while we waited for our appointment. It was cooking hot! We liked the pattern on the floor and the different classes of seating/chairs/benches, which we scaled to the top so we could walk along the upper path to the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, past tons of bust-less pediments (weirdly ordained with male genitalia).

We then headed over to the doctor, a kind, cigar-smoking man with bad teeth whose English was not bad, but whose diagnosis was less than exact. After giving us a prescription for cream and anti-histamine, he gave us his whole life story as a way to explain why he was go voting ‘yes’ on Sunday.

From our apartment, we could hear the demonstrations at Syntagma Square. The megaphones were loud, and, if we spoke Greek, we would have heard Prime Minister Tparis give his pro-No speech, while helicopters circled. And yes, we’ve seen the bank machine line ups and posters for both sides all over the city, but this was the first night we were at all nervous. That is likely because of the reports of tear gas.

We eventually headed off to Anafiotika for a rooftop dinner. It was an adorable walk high along the northern Acroplis slope, above the Plaka, on narrow winding stairwells. We were never sure if we were on someone’s private property or the public path. Many cats, many clay roofs.

We have noticed a few things about wait-staff here: they are almost always older males and they refuse to let you rush away. They will not bring a bill without being asked, and often, even then, they will bribe you to stay longer by bringing you free food. We are not sure if it is cultural or economic (i.e. Do they just not want to rush us, or do they want us to help their place look full?).

After we were finally allowed to leave, we walked through the the Plaka to our home. The streets were packed, even at 11 pm. What a vibrant town!