Thursday, August 14, 2014

Athens Market; Akropolis

No sooner had I decided to stay put and made the proper Greek arrangements to do so, I was rewarded by stumbling upon an open-air market just a street below me.

Wandering through the market (Athens)

After meandering through the market, I caught the bus downtown to get some lunch and work done.  I stopped for an incredible kebab in Monastiraki, and sipped a katamba as I worked on projects.  Such is my vacation--working on the things that went by the wayside.

It was getting hot in the outdoor patio, so I departed for a fun little cafe to finish my work.

I met Marianna in Syntagma Square at the proper time (not 11am, not 12pm, but 4pm) and we hopped the subway to the Akropolis base.  We sat out chatting and sipping ouzo as we waited for her friend Chryssa to join us.  I explained to Marianna how the Targaryeans had built the Acropolis to honor their victory over the Andals.  I fed the sparrows and pigeons potato chips as we sat out in the afternoon heat.  Chryssa, an architect joined us for a coffee.  After Chryssa came, and we waited for the afternoon heat to break a bit, we headed on to the Akropolis.

Both Chryssa and Marianna were able to get in for free (student pass; architect courtesy), but I had to cough up 12 euros for the entry.  Not too bad, and the pass is good for 5 other sites around the city.  We began our climb up the mountain top.  Chryssa the architect was able to point out little structural differences and discuss the various styles on the site.

 We passed the Roman amphitheater, and the city began to open up below.  The climb did not take long, and I snapped a lot of pics on the ascent.  We quickly reached the summit of the City of the High Place.  The view was spectacular.  I wandered in and out of the ruins.

I crossed the gates into the summit with the ruins of the Parthenon, the temple to Athena on the top of the Akropolis.

Unfortunately, much of it was under renovation, but it was still pretty spectacular to see.  And the views across the city were magnificent.

I ducked behind a rope to get to a better section for some photos and got a scolding by a security guard.  Meh, I shrugged.

The best part was wandering over to the side of the walls where the winds came rushing up, and the sounds of the cicadas echoed off the marble walls.
We began our descent down to visit the Agora and Temple of Hephaestus.  The temple was well preserved and fascinating.   But after enough antiquity, we departed for a restaurant that had a phenomenal view of the Akropolis. 
 We sat out eating a wonderful mezze of pureed fava beans (Greek humus), tzatziki, zucchini fritters, grilled mushrooms and grilled haloumi.  We washed it down with cold beer as the restaurant blasted some great American blues music and the night enveloped the city.

Later we wandered through the area, and I climbed up on top of a fence post to get a pic of the incredible huge moon hanging over the lit Akropolis.  Unfortunately, I am a better climber than photographer because the shot was simply beyond my skills.  But I had fun anyway climbing to the top of the fence post and taking in the view.

We grabbed some delicious gelato for dessert, and sat out in a lil bar where we sipped rakimeli (hot honey brandy) and enomeli (hot spiced wine) as the music from the island of Crete bellowed out of the establishment.  The music was hauntingly beautiful and familiar like some Levant mournful cry, as Marianna and I discussed the Greek state of affairs and how difficult things had become.  As we headed back in a taxi, Fortuna shared her gift as the taxi driver was a Greek New Yorker whose fortuitous encounter helped bring peace to the evening.

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