Friday, July 26, 2013

Europe 2013, Day 11, Athens, 07-14-13

 7:20 a.m. Up at 6 to find we'd docked silently at Piraeus, Athens' port. I was last here in May of 1956—a mere 57 years ago, though then we anchored off shore since there were no docks large enough to accommodate us.

Meeting in fifteen minutes for the Athens tour. I'm going to try to get a picture of the same fallen pillare on which Lloyd and I sat for our photo.

Supposed to be 93 in Athens today though, other than the heat, we've been quite lucky. No rain. As a matter of fact, I've been very lucky on all my Europe trips, with the exception of the three solid days of rain while in Amsterdam. You know, I talk about these places and know I've been there, but it still doesn't quite compute. I hear people talk of their travels to exotic spots and am in something akin to awe...yet when it comes to my own travels, there is an odd sort of disconnect I don't quite understand.

Well, time to head to the Ambassador Lounge and the new day's adventures.

Bus to Acropolis. We got there quite early and, while we thereby escaped some of the heat later in the day, there were a lot of people already there. Much reconstruction going on, and I'm really curious to know just how much reconstrution there will be. I personally would like to see it put back to its original condition, but that's unlikely to happen.

I looked in vain for the fallen piller I remember so fondly, but the area where I remember its being is now covered with construction materials. Perhaps it's been restored to it's original position. Still the Acropolis is pretty much the way I remembered it...though with a lot more people than I remember.

Leaving the Acropolis, during which time I experienced a couple more minor losses of equilibrium, we walked (the temperatures had risen considerable) six blocks or so to the new Athens Archaeological Museum devoted entirely to the Acropolis and one of the most modern in the world. When they were looking for a place to construct it in a city several thousand years old, there obviously weren't many. So they chose a large excavation site and built the museum over it, incorporating glass floors on the main floor so you can look right down into the excavations. Fascinating and brilliant. No photos allowed on the main floor, but okay in the rest of the museum (no flash, of course).

Returned to the ship where I found a note slipped under my door saying that because the island of Delos is indeed an archeological site run by the Museum Union (who knew there was a museum union), which is currently on strike against the government, Delos is closed. I had mentioned that we were to spend half a day on Delos and half a day on Santorini. Wrong again. We aren't going to Santorini, we're going to Mykanos. I was really looking forward to Santorini from the beautiful pictures I've seen from there. Mykanos has windmills. And we will be spending the entire day there. Oh, well.

Today is the 13th, which means the trip is nearly over. Mykanos tomorrow, then one more stop (Izmir?) before Istanbul, where we leave the ship. Why does time go so much faster looking backward on it than it does looking forward to it? I only have 50 minutes of internet time left to me, so will try to stretch it out...though ten minutes is wasted every time I try to get on line.

I'll survive.

Interesting note about the ship: it is only half full. Just 168 passengers...fewer than were on the Viking Prestige, which was less than half the size of the Aegean Odyssey. No idea why (the economy?). But Voyages to Antiquity has only one ship, and I'm sure they're hurting.

Another pleasant dinner. Tom and Mike weren't there when I arrived, so I was joined by Adrian, Dave (another one of the looking-for-detergent crew) and a very, very English older gentleman whose name I do not know. Like everyone else on the ship, they have been everywhere several times and had a lot of interesting stories.

I do think I've eaten more on this trip than I have in more than a month at home. It's the ready availability of small amounts of many things, and I thank God for the tapas. And I'm not used to 2-hour dinners. Ah, how the other half lives!

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