Friday, 12 August 2011

Athens, making curved lines straight since 447BC

Our overnight at a hotel chain near Munich airport was unfortunately
the least hospitable stay that even chocolate on the pillow couldn't
allay. On the bright side, we were out of there at 4:30am to reach an
early flight. We were able to recover some sleep as the plane was
delayed for 3 hours and then we were off to Athens.

Having looked forward to the heat of Greece for some time, it was
still a bit of a shock to see a brown landscape and feel 31 degrees
again. Exchanging our hiking boots for sandals made us much nicer to
each other.

We checked into our hostel and, after a brief rest in the air
conditioning, went to find the Acropolis. At 3pm the sweat was flowing
freely, and taking a wrong turn we ended up in a very dodgy area of
town: covered in graffiti, delinquent-looking men everywhere staring
as we passed, 'second-hand' mobile phone shops and our first lesson in
crossing the road - just walk. Walking with an air of confidence we
didn't always feel, we were soon back on the right track and on our
way up to the Acropolis.

The Acropolis has been a site of importance for centuries and human
occupation has been traced back to the Neolithic period (). It has
been a seat of kings, the home of a cult (to Athena) and the buildings
that remain today temples (?) built between 447 and 406 BC.
The scale of the buildings was massive, all built of marble, including
the ground which was a bit slippery at times. Every lintel, cornice
and column still retained at least some of its original sculpting.
Even the block-work of the walls was fitted aesthetically. All around
the buildings that remain standing are pieces of rock that .. Are
trying to fit back together like one giant jigsaw, made all the more
complicated by allowing tourists to take pieces home up until the
'80s. (?) When these buildings were whole it must have been truly

From the hill of the Acropolis you can see a full 360 degree view of
the city. There are few major, straight roads through the city, so it
appears quite jumbled. This is probably not surprising given it has
evolved over more than 2000 years. Over that time, various wars and
invasions have added to the destruction and thereby evolution of the

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