Published: June 23rd 2011June 23rd 2011
So where were we? The next stop on our tour of old stuff in Athens was Hadrian's library, which is actually a collection of multiple buildings (a bath, church, homes, and a library). We decided to go after 2nd nap which put us at about 1:30 in the afternoon. This is not an ideal time to be outside in Athens in June. For the first time in our lives we busted out the umbrellas on a crystal clear day in an vain attempt to avoid heat stroke. Proof positive we live in North Dakota.
The site had remnants of a fresco from a church that made use of some of the ruins as well as a tile mosaic floor with a hearts motif (perhaps made by ancient teenage girls?). The library was just a pile of rocks in a square (reminding me of our own library in its utility). The most intact feature of the site was the tower of the four winds, which used to be a sun clock and provide other time and weather information for the ancients. On our way out, we noticed the large ancient public latrines. Somewhat reminiscent of the men's bathrooms at professional stadiums...just
That day was also Father's Day so Pat and D enjoyed some time at the playground as well as soapy fun in the bath (complete with a baby comb-over).
The next day we got smart and headed out to sight see before first nap so as to avoid the blistering heat. We visited the Ancient Agora, or marketplace, though the site contained much more than a market. It was basically the downtown of ancient Athens. There was an Odieon Theater (with large mer-men statues), a very well preserved temple to the God of ironworking and crafts, and a reconstruction of the original market place (a gift from the Rockefellers). The reconstruction was nice since so many of the ancient sights are just a pile of rocks at this point, though we were glad they hadn't reconstructed EVERYTHING like China did (complete with identical paint jobs).
Afterwards we headed back up the hill to take a break from all the sun. We've become fascinated by a bird we saw up there, the Hoopoe. We've been trying in vain to get a good picture. We have some super nauseating videos of them if any wants to get
instantly sick. We enjoyed just relaxing under the olive trees while D ran amok.
The next day we made our way to Aegina, the island closest to Athens. We managed to time our morning perfectly and walked on to the ferry as it was departing. We decided to take the slow ferry to the island (takes about an hour) so that we could take in the view. We ended up meeting Tim Salmon (who played for the LA Angels for 14 seasons and apparently earned over $70 million during his career) and his family on the boat. Patrick talked with him the entire ride while D enjoyed climbing the three levels of stairs over and over and over again.
Aegina is famous for its pistachios (supposedly the best in the world), but really we just wanted a beach and some water to quench the heat. The island was much larger than it looked on our puny map. A car was definitely in order if we wanted to make our way to the nicer beaches or the ruin on the island (Aegina was once Athen's rival for power). We couldn't be bothered since we just wanted food, a cold
beer, and a beach. We chowed down on fresh calamari, shrimp with herbs and rice, and spicy feta spread mere inches from the beach. Our lunch included the use of an umbrella and beach chairs afterwards. The beach wasn't spectacular but the water was cool and crystal clear. Delaney enjoyed swimming around with mommy and daddy (though mommy managed to put her knee down on something that stung her). She even started getting in the water by herself!
After a few hours in the sun, D passed out on a sunbed and slept while we drank a tall cold Stella in the Saronic Gulf. We grabbed some pistachios, pistachios rolled in honey and sesame seeds, jarred honey with pistachios, and pistachios in vanilla cream before heading to the hydrofoil back to Athens. A very enjoyable lazy day on an island.
There are more photos below