Doug & Heather's Voyages

Join us as we travel the world...or at least that which can be reached by cruise ship.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Ancient Greece

Today was a long and hot day, but we got to see most of what we had planned, although a couple of things were from further away than expected. The day started off by getting in line to get off the ship as early as possible. From there, we walked about 2 miles to the metro station. This was the first electric train build in Athens and was very convenient. We met a very nice woman from Norway who was studying Greek in Athens for the summer. She was very helpful and this made the train ride a lot of fun (Heather's favorite thing of the day). From our stop on that line, we switched to another line and rode a couple of stops which brought us to the base of the Acropolis.

The Acropolis was beautiful and the view from the top was amazing. From this vantage point, you could see all of Ancient Athens. Of course, it was also very crowded and hot by the time we got to the top around 11:00 (after having docked a little late at about 9:00). At this point, we were pretty glad we weren't on a tour because the tours had to group together so close, that they couldn't find any free space.

From there, we climbed the Aeropagus which is where speakers could address the population of Athens. It is also where Paul spoke to the Greeks about the Christian god. People make pilgrimages to this site. The view of the acropolis from here was very nice.

Next we headed to the Pnyx which is where votes were cast in the Athenian democracy. As the birthplace of democracy, to us, this was one of the most significant things we saw today although there were no other tourists there. I guess they missed out on the substance of the civilization while only viewing the religious temples and such on the acropolis.

The Agora was the place where government and business was conducted in Athens. Here we saw a lot of ruins and the Temple of Hephaestus which is the best preserved Ancient Greek building from the 4th century BC and still standing…pretty amazing. It was getting hot, so we didn't explore the entire Agora, instead heading off for another train ride to the National Archeological Museum.

On the walk from the Metro station to the museum, we stopped off at a bakery and got some good ice cream (which I think s better than the gelato we've been having). The museum didn't open until 1:30, about 15 minutes after we arrived. After a wait in line, we made our way through most of the museum which included many wonderfully preserved statues and sculptures as well as some other artifacts.

We headed back to the ship on the same train line, pretty good transportation this day, and all of this for only €3 each. The train was extremely crowded for the entire ride, which took about 20 minutes. After getting off the train and realizing we were going to have to walk another couple of miles before reaching the ship, we smelled something wonderful. As we came down the stairs, we realized there was a man cooking souvlaki on the street. It was only €1.50, so we had one and it was really good. Hopefully we won't get sick from that.

Finally back on the ship, we had to take a swim to wash the grime of the day off. Overall, this was a great day that we're going to look back on fondly.

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