Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Aegean Sea Cruise: Athens, Greece

The long awaited arrival in Athens came quietly in the very early morning hours on Friday. I woke up at 4:00 AM, it was still dark, but I could see that we had arrived in Athens. From my balcony, what I saw was a populated, sprawling city, and no evidence of antiquity of this ancient city. It wasn’t until we journeyed well into town that we caught our first glimpse of the pride and glory of Greece. When I first saw the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Acropolis from afar, they looked like something on a movie set. It wasn’t of course until you get closer that it becomes very real. You can feel the history when in its presence. The core of ancient Athens was built high up on a hill, with temples and monuments to the Greek Gods. Athena, goddess of wisdom was important to the ancient Greeks, as was Poseidon, god of the sea. Both are honored in these magnificent temples that overlook the all important Aegean Sea from afar. Throughout its history, Athens had various foreign rulers, including the Roman Emperor Hadrian who ordered the Olympian Temple of Zeus and his own Hadrian’s Arch constructed. We walked up to the Acropolis, a fair climb on a path paved with stones. We approached the Propylea, which lead us into the Parthenon, then the Erectheion and the porch of the Caryatids. Looking down we could see what remains of Dionysus Theatre. It was all still in amazing condition, but the government is slowly reconstructing it all, following the exact same process, materials and methods used by the ancient Greeks, except for the use of cranes. The visit to this area was memorable-one which I would recommend seeing if you can get to Greece. Later we had a really delicious lunch at a local restaurant where there were barely any tourists to be found. That’s the sort of place I like to eat when I travel. It may sound cliché, but we each had a Greek Salad (no lettuce- tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, green peppers, kalmata olives and huge hunks of feta cheese). We also had Greek Crepes, filled with cheese and vegetables. It was served with fresh baked sesame bread, and I indulged with a Greek beer, Alfa or something like that. What a delicious meal. We explored Athens on foot, taking in the sights, sounds and signs; take this sign for example:

What the heck does this say anyway?
Modern Athens is a huge city, and some parts are not pretty at all- but that is city life anywhere.

above: an lovely Greek Church

above: the Parliament building
I did enjoy poking
around some of the markets and shops that serve the locals. Things like fish markets, dried goods, all kinds of things sold in bulk. Check out these photos:

Fish Market

These fresh olives looked so delicious!
I went into one shop and tasted some alcoholic drink called Raki I think. It was so strong. I can hardly believe I drank something from a shop keeper that was poured out of a bottle I didn’t even look at! At any rate I did a bit of shopping and was quite happy with our time in Athens. Here are all the photos I took of the ancient ruins and temples:

above: temple of Olympian

bove: Thesseion

above: Hadrian's Arch

above: Dionysus Theatre

above: Wet Doggie at the Acropolis!

above: at the Acropolis

above: approaching the Acropolis, Athena's Temple

Other than the hideous amounts of rain that kept pouring down most of the day, we enjoyed it. And we now have an overpriced umbrella as a souvenir. Today we’re in Kusadasi, Turkey. I hope you can come back again for more adventures from the Aegean Sea Cruise. Thanks for stopping by!
-Rick Rockhill


snowelf said...

That doggie is so cute!! And I bet that salad was delicious. You weren't kidding about the huge chunks of cheese!!

Greece is so fascinating to me. I love the history, love the architecture, and love that you were able to go and share it with us.


Anonymous said...

I haven't eaten breakfast here yet, and that salad looks so delish!

ThatBobbieGirl said...

I'm vicariously enjoying your trip - keep up the great photos and commentary!

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

rick that greek salad looks so good!!! and i have overpriced umbrellas from so many places! ha ha ha

smiles, bee

KathyA said...

Marvelous. Can't wait to see the next installment.

Odat said...

Heyyyyyyyyy I'm going on a cruise from Athens on Nov. 7th!!! Thanks for the preview! Let me know where all the good places to eat are........ Great pics!


© Karelian Blonde said...

Simply marvelous travel log :)


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