strollin on the panathenaic way

May 18th 2006
Published: May 18th 2006
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Moo! Moo! Moo!

The painted cows are also in full force in Athens... this one in definite Greek style. This one greeted our arrival at the Monastriaki metro station.
Aright... Athens. The last time I was here, it was on a whirlwind tour of Europe and mom and I spent 2 days here. I didn't see a whole lot. Now, I'm staying in the Omonia bordello-esqe district but I havn't seen a whole lot of hookers yet.

We had dinner in the Plaka last night and were schooled on Greece by our british-accented Greek waiter. Janice made the mistake of asking for (pita) bread to go along with with tzatziki. As you all are well aware, north americans enjoy fusion cuisine - mishmashing various cultures in the name of tasty (if not sacreligious) cuisine. Well, thats quite a no-no in greece except on souvlaki because pita is an eastern cuisine (from lebanon?). So, unfortunately, Janice had to enjoy her tzatziki with crusty bread (not my personal preference).

After a bit of struggle, we managed to score our free pass to most museums and archaeological sites in Greece through the Canadian Institute in Greece. Unfortunate for us, the acropolis and national archaeological museum were free today for everybody. Oh well. The acropolis was amazing and we wandered about. I will dwell a bit on the topic I was going to do my masters thesis on: the pediments (triangular sculpture areas on the top of the acropolis) are carved with scenes of battles with greeks vs. amazons, centaurs, lapiths and giants. The greeks used these mythological scenes to demonstrate superiority of their kind over the savages and barbarians. (I can't quite remember nor care about how many pillars there are on the acropolis).

Below the acropolis was the agora and the stoa of attalos. People back in the day would file past these buildings to get to the acropolis to honor Athena. The stoa of attalos was rebuilt in the 1990s by the American School in Greece. Its quite nice but it stands out in contrast to the rundown-ness of the acropolis.

random tidbits:
The greek alphabet is a bit foggy in my brain as I only remember the letters that appeared on the frat houses at the U of A but I guess Kappa alpha theta hasn't failed me entirely. However, having never taken greek (modern or ancient) I can only understand words that resemble english.

motorcycle riders or scooter riders don't manditarily have to wear a helmut and it seems as though sidewalks and pedestrian malls are fair game for these riders. Further, come to think of it, no one wears protective motorcycle gear when they ride. It did seem a bit odd to see a man dressed in full business suit attire (complete with spiffy shoes) cruising down the street with his hair blowing in the wind.

I'm pleasantly suprised by the metro system in Athens. I think it was spruced up a bit for the 2004 Olympics. Its a clear contrast to the Rome metro system which was dark, dingy and really quite ghetto. There was spray paint all over the subway cars.

we're off to santorini tomorrow!

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