Published: September 16th 2012August 18th 2012
We were off the ship and said good-bye to our Cruise Director, Dottie (from Kissimmee, Florida) before 9:00AM. We jumped in a cab and headed to the Royal Olympic Hotel, where we were staying for one night. As usual, our room wasn't ready, so we ditched the bags, slathered on the sunblock, and started our self-guided walking tour of Athens.
First stop, the Temple of Zeus which was right across the street from the hotel. There weren't many people there so we basically had the place to ourselves.
The temple was built between 472 and 456 BC, I read that the columns are 10.43 metres high (approx. 34 feet) and 2.25 metres in diameter at the base (approx. 7.5 feet). Somehow when you are standing there, they look so much bigger. The columns are made from local shell-limestone and covered in stucco, giving the appearance that they are made of marble.
The temple was burnt by Theodosius in AD 426. Then earthqaukes finally knocked it down in AD 551 and 552. Excavations were started by the French is 1829 and this is what remains today. It is pretty impressive to stand there and see it all in person.
From Zeus, we moved on to the Acropolis. We hiked up the hill in the heat, paid the admission and spent a couple of hours wandering. We could have hired a tour guide, but didn't... We followed the path and took in the ancient sights.
At first, there was some confusion on what was the Acropolis and what was the Parthenon
(okay, it seemed to be me who was confused)... For those of you who unsure, the Acropolis is the whole site. The Parthenon is the pillared building in the pictures where the crane is. The Parthenon is where the government at the time met. Also at the Acropolis is the Altar to Athena
as well as a bunch of old stuff. I should have paid attention more in my history classes.
After the Acropolis, we wandered some paths that dropped us down into the Plaka District. We had lunch at a local restaurant and shared plates of greek food to get some energy for the afternoon. We shopped and then headed back to the hotel to lay by the pool.
We made reservations at the rooftop restaurant. It was crazily expensive but it was our
last meal together, so what the heck. We both ordered the tough steak (that isn't what they called it on the menu) that was highly over-priced and took in the sight of the Acropolis lit up at night. It was a great thing to do.... At this point, it wasn't about the food, the wine, or the view. For me, it was all but about spending what little time I had left with Laurie.
The next morning Laurie was up and on her way to the airport early. I waved good-bye at the sidewalk and there were no tears this time (unlike at Pearson Airport when I was leaving for 2 years). We would see eachother in 10 months which seems like no time at all now.
I had a few hours to myself so I wandered up to the Parliament and watched the changing of the guard. From there, I headed to McDonalds to pick up 10 cheeseburgers for my friend, Michelle here in Dar. I wandered the streets, picked up a few souvenirs and then wandered back to hotel to finish the packing before heading to the airport.
This trip was absolutely incredible. I am
To give you a better understanding of when things were built.
sure I have bored many of you with so many entries, stories and pictures. If I have, my apologies. That was not my intention.
I am now back in Dar and will start posting entries that will be more about the life here... No more vacations pictures until December... That's when I head to Madagascar! I can't wait.... This is a crazy life I am living these days.
There are more photos below