A Travellerspoint blog

Rain

Truly miserable weather today but atleast not particularly cold. We began the day with a longer than expected walk down to the Lioson St bus station in the rain to buy our tickets to go to Delphi tomorrow. A perfect day for museum-ing, we went first to the Hellenic War Museum. Kirstie brimmed with Greek pride at the praise heaped on the Greek fighters of WWII, Hitler in particular praising their tenacity and selflessness. The museum had a good collection of exhibits ranging from ancient Greece and the last stand of King Leonidas through to the War of Independence from the Turks in the 1840's, as well as both World Wars. On the advice of tripadvisor we then made a stop at the Bernaki Museum, which had a verz good collection of prehistoric, ancient, byzantine and modern greek objects, including a large section on the dress and culture of Greece in the years immediately preceeding the Greek war of independence. If the archaeological museum's collection of ancient and prehistoric jewelry was good, the Bernaki's was even better, with a lot of amazing and intricate jewellry that was over 3000 years old, and definitely fashionable even by today's standards. Exploring Plaka in the rain once again, we were enticed into a restaurant with a warm fire and a friendly owner. The meal was nothing short of amazing. Zucchini balls that melted when they were touched, homemade tzatziki, Greek salad and mousaka... Yum!

Posted by Oleus 30.01.2012 11:30 Comments (0)

Athens

The Archaeological Museum of Athens houses some of Greece's, and in deed the world's oldest and arguably most interesting artefacts. Tom was especially excited because it is this museum that houses the so called Antikythera mechanism, a clockwork astronomical computer manufactured sometime between 400-100 BC; perhaps the oldest known analog computer and a piece piece of fine mechanical engineering unrivalled in the West until the Victorian era. Along with the mechanism, the museum had a large collection of Mycenean artefacts circa 2000-1000 BC. Kirstie liked the resplendent and highly elaborate gold necklaces, of which there were many. Indeed, Homer was not far wrong in calling the Mycenean lands "rich in gold", as almost all of the artefacts were solid gold, from funeral masks (including the famous mask of Agamemnon) to diadems and daggers. To Kirstie's delight there were also two mummies from around 300 BC although these were part of the Hellenistic Egyptian collection. Snubbing the overpriced museum cafe, we walked down to Plaka and stumbled across a number of antique dealers with some seriously cool treasure. Easily passing our time in the antiques stores, we returned to the first restaurant we ate at and enjoyed a nice meal despite what we found to be an amusingly bad level of service.

Posted by Oleus 30.01.2012 11:10 Comments (0)

Acropolis

Today we explored the Acropolis. The weather was perfect for the climb to the top, perhaps even a little warm given all of our layers of clothing! The Acropolis is truly an ancient wonder, and the centrepiece of this is the Parthenon; Pericles' grand monument to the Golden Age of Athenian society. It is no small wonder that any of it is left standing today, given the sheer weight of tumultuous history that it has suffered under. Despite only being the picked bones of its former self, it still carries a presence that is nothing short of awesome. The other ruins either on top of, or on the slopes facing the Acropolis are also very impressive, and we sat and contemplated the life of an ancient Athenian on the steps of Dionysus' theater. Munching on a chicken gyros for lunch ("chicken, alors!") we strolled down to the Temple of Olympian Zeus, with its handful of (Doric?) columns the only remnants of this once mighty temple. Kicked out at 3, we then walked down to the Panathenaic Stadium and took an audio tour. The view from the marble seats of the top row offered a beautiful view of the Acropolis and the surrounding region of Athens. Tom ran on the running track in the footsteps of champion athletes both modern and ancient. We wandered back to Plaka and had Souvlaki for our second Greek dinner in our second deserted restaurant.

Posted by Oleus 13.01.2012 12:09 Comments (0)

Hello Athens!

Easyjet; what an experience. Not the flight itself but rather the frenetic boarding with its survival of the fittest mentality and the animal desire of people to get the best seats. Of course, all this was old hat to Kirstie, who instructed Tom on the best elbowing techniques and other strategies for getting seats together. Howeever, all of this was forgotten the moment we climbed the stairs of the Akropoli metro station to be greeted by the astonishing "castle of Athens"; the mighty Acropolis. Its sheer enormity is impossible to describe. Its walls, so ancient and huge that the Greeks of Pericles' time called them Cyclopean, stand complete to this day. After falling in love with Athens right then and there (and after some spinahc pie), we used the afternoon to visit the Acropolis museum where many of the friezes and statues from the Parthenon and other aspects of the Acropolis are kept. This gave us a good introduction to the history of the incredible centrepiece of Athens. Tired from the early morning, we crashed in a deserted Greek restaurant in Plaka, and had a scrumptious meal of greek salad, mousaka, and pastitsio. Perhaps for the first time ever, Tom was defeated, the greek salad proving to be a bridge too far.

Posted by Oleus 13.01.2012 12:01 Comments (0)

Hummel

We checked out of the Aldea Novum before heading out on a rather fruitless adventure for Hummel handball products that lasted 3 hours and culminated in a 40 minute journey across town to a store which had closed half an hour before. We did find the Hummel flagship store in Berlin and Tom bought a shirt and sweater, but the store was bereft of items from the "teamsport" catalogue which meant pretty much everything Tom was actually there to buy. The sales girl said we could find Hummel sport stuff in a place not far from our hotel, but after taking three metro lines and a bus to get there, it was closed.

Tom's spirit crushed, Kirstie managed to find omething in H&M. Remembering the markets we had seen at Hackescher Markt on our S-Bahn rides throughout the day, we stopped there to explore. Delicious crepes restored our good spirits and having shopped a little in the markets, ducked into a nearby restaurant to have happy hour cocktails and a pizza. With no rest for the wicked, our last act was to make the hour long trip across town with our luggage to the airport hotel we were staying at in order to fly out at 7am the next morning.

Posted by Oleus 13.01.2012 11:53 Comments (0)

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