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Athens

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The number one attraction in Athens has to be the Acropolis. It literally dominates the skyline and its what most tourist come to see. The Acropolis is a massive rock outcrop in the centre of the city which itself is dominated by the most photographed of Greek temples.. The Parthenon. The newly constructed museum was first on the cards and typically is filled with antiquities from the original site. The architects constructed the museum over a dig site so you can see students at work. They also re-constructed the frieze that lines the Parthenon within the museum so you can see all of the scenes that are up there or should be up there. They generally depict good over evil and that battles that ensue. A large collection of the frieze panels are in the British museum after Lord Elgin removed them for "safe keeping" and later sold them to the British Government. These are known as the Elgin Marbles and are subject to hot debate as to who are the rightful owners. I believe the Greeks are well capable of looking after their own antiquities just like the Australians demanded the return of bones from the British museum and Egyptians demand the return of their national heritage. The Parthenon has been given a few restorations over the times but more recently the efforts seem to be more about preserving and not replacing or repairing. There are some places where they have replaced a small section to give an idea of what it would look like completed but that is minimal. The work seems painstaking but of an extremely high standard. This was the first real experience that we've had of mass tourism and a hint of the European crowds to come. It was a little uncomfortable with so many tour groups and trying to get a photo without a crowd scene is impossible but well worth seeing anyway. Pat had her birthday in Athens so dinner in the old city and a quick visit to Pandora. It was nice sitting in a cafe' on the street people watching and listening to the music. The food was sensational and way too much leaving us all with that feeling of eating way more than our share. The Plaka region of Athens is the old section and one where most of the tourist sites are. It's typical of most of these old cities with narrow streets loaded with souvenir shops, antique shops and restaurants. Nice place to wander and surprisingly the shopkeepers are very friendly and polite. We have moved on down the coast to see the temple of Poseidon in Cape Sounion . We managed to catch the sunset over the water and I think I enjoyed it better than the Parthenon. There were no crowds and although it is much smaller than the Parthenon I think its just as impressive. The Greeks came to this site to farewell their sailors and welcome them home, to listen for news and pray for family for safe journeys. Perched sixty meters above the ocean the views are spectacular. Brenton managed to get a stone into the water for luck but the rest of us weaklings failed miserably.

Posted by mike1967 23:53 Archived in Greece

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