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Published: July 18th 2018
Ready for the Flight
Had a bunch of time to kill at Heathrow. They don't give you a gate until just before boarding.
Days 18 and 19 - Athens Bound
One of the big side trips this summer is an extended weekend trip to Athens. We spent Thursday morning packing and closing up the flat for our late afternoon flight. While London has been hot, Athens is even hotter so we were able to pack light, taking only a couple of small carry-ons for the three of us. We got into the Athens airport after 10 PM, got a ride to the house were were staying at and checked in. It was midnight local time so we headed to bed, planning to sleep in a bit before exploring the city the next day.
Friday was our first full day and we started with a greek breakfast and then a walking tour to see what we could find. Athens started out as a Greek city but was incorporated into the Roman Empire centuries later so there are many layers of ancient ruins. One way to tell the difference between Greek and Roman ruins is that the Romans used bricks and clay tiles in their building while the Greeks mostly used stone. There are also many places where
Waiting in line after waiting in line, about to board the plane.
various groups at various periods of history tried to repair or rebuild parts of the monuments.
Our first stop was Hadrian’s Arch. Hadrian was a Roman Emperor who was very fond of Athens and funded much of the rebuilding and conservation of his time. His Arch was near the entrance to the Temple of Zeus, which was unfinished for many centuries before his reign. It was very common to see a Greek Temple or shrine surrounded by the ruins of a Roman settlement or fort.
From there we headed for the cable car to the top of Mount Lycabettus, one of the tallest hills in Athens. The elevation gain of Mount Lycabettus made the ride up worth every Euro. From there we could see the Acropolis and Filopappou Hill and all the way to the coast. We rode the cable car up but we took the path down. It reinforced our good choice not to walk up. It was almost a 270 ft elevation change in less than a mile.
Our next stop was the Acropolis Museum in preparation for our planned visit to the Acropolis on Sunday.
This is the view from the roof of the house we stayed at. It is MUCH larger in person.
Many of the remaining statuary and freizes are being displayed here where they can be restored, preserved and studied. The museum itself is built over an archeological dig site and has been designed with glass floors in many places so that visitors can see the work being done.
Once we were out of the heat for awhile we realized how hungry we were and stopped to eat at the museum cafe. It was good food, but expensive. We spent the next hour or so looking at the reconstructions of the various temples on the acropolis. Many of the best preserved elements could be found in other museums so many places had plaster casts supporting smaller local fragments. We found the whole exhibit fascinating and really well done.
Once we finished with the museum we all agreed it was time for cold showers and a nap before heading out for dinner. Dinner was gyros in a little fast food place and then early to bed for our trip to Delphi early tomorrow morning.
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