Monday, May 1, 2023

Athens: The Parthenon

The one thing about traveling on a cruise ship is that you often feel cheated about the time you have to see things when stopping in port. Our stop in Athens was one of those times. Normally, I'd want to spend at least a week in a city like this. On this day, we had roughly 4 hours.  So the only thing you can do is pick one major site and go see it.  

On our stop in Athens, we picked the Parthenon. It sits on a hill in the center of Athens called the  Acropolis.  This marks the center of ancient Greece; some will argue where the modern world began.  It was an easy choice.   

Once our ship docked in the Athens port of Pireas, we took a 40-minute ride to Athens and the Acropolis.  It is very interesting driving through the city.  The stop-and-go city traffic gives you a lot of time to people-watch.   We are in Europe, but it feels much different.  The sun-bleached white buildings' architecture has a middle eastern feel to it.   The streets are a bustle of activity, with people doing their daily business in the hot June sun. 

We arrive at the base of the Acropolis and walk through the dusty park towards the ticket office.  After a short wait, we get our tickets and walk up the hill towards the Parthenon. It's a narrow winding path; the higher we get,  we start to develop other views of the city and landmarks.  The most prominent are the Odeon of Herodes, Atticus Amphitheater, and the Temple of Hephaestus. 

We walk up the stairway and through the Propylaea, the ancient principal entryway to the Acropolis, built c. 432 BCE, with white marble Doric columns.  As we walk thru the columns, the Parthenon appears like a majestic beacon overlooking the city of Athens.  

It is massive and much more impressive in person. We walk around the structure, which is in a constant state of excavation.  We see the Erechtheion honoring Athena & Poseidon. This famous, ancient Greek temple features a porch with 6 caryatids.

We spend more than an hour walking the grounds, then head back down the hill to catch the Hop On Hop Off bus.  We didn't have enough time to see anything else, but at least we could tour the city.  While driving past some of Athen's major sites, we could only dream of a time when we could go through them.  We return to the cruise ship feeling good about seeing one of the world's wonders. 

No comments:

Post a Comment