Our boat docked early this morning with a 7am arrival and clearance. Team Lodwick was off this ship by 7:10 to meet our Athen's guide, John.
Acropolis: 'Acro' [High] and 'Polis' [City]
Quick drive through the city and surprising there was no major highway from the port. Just side streets weaving in and out of traffic.
Picture: Shows the Acropolis and Parthenon high above the city.
Picture: Dad, Siena, and Mara up close with the Parthenon. The columns are almost fully restored (started restoration in 1975)!
Picture: Erechtheion, a temple dedicated to Athena and Poseidon
Some of our favorite facts:
The Acropolis really is the highest point in the city. There are laws preventing building from being taller than the structure so there are no skyscrapers in the city!
The site was the social center of the city with men spending a good portion of their day at the Acropolis. Remained in continuous use for more than 1000 years
Construction started somewhere around 450 BC and was under construction for hundreds of years.
Built as a momument to the goddess Athena
Presidential Palace and Changing of Guards
Every hour and every day of the year there is a changing of the guards at the Presidential Palace. A couple interesting notes about this one:
Certain not as elaborate as Buckingham Palace changing of the guards
John took us to the back side of the palace where the crowd was almost non-existent (maybe two dozen people)
What are some of the most amazing things about this changing of guards ceremony:
The Evzones uniform of the guard is significant in many ways. The tunic, sash, clogs, etc. all have special meaning. For example, the bottom of the clog contains 60 nails (important battle) and each shoe weighs in at 3 kg! Here's a great explainer.
The guards pitch there legs up high as if running in slow motion, it simulates them running into battle.
City View and Observations
Our last stop was across town, up winding roads for a spectacular view of Athens:
Quick note about Athens and Greece in general. It's a beautiful country, a gorgeous town. Could not help but notice as we drove through the city the amount of graffiti on the walls and vacancies. Entire blocks had no businesses open with the windows broken out. It was sad to see for such a beautiful place. I chatted with John about this and ever since the Debt Crisis in 2008, it's been very tough for the area economincally. We hope for the best in such a historically rich and important place in our World!