No trip to Athens would be complete without a trip to the Acropolis to see the iconic Parthenon. The Missus's plan was to get there early before late rising Athens was fully awake and take in as much of the Acropolis and the Ancient Agora as we could. We awoke at a pretty late (for us) 7am and left Hotel Tony for the Acropolis at about seven-thirty.
We were surprised when we walked out to the street and saw this.
Walking into the lobby of the hotel, I spoke to Tony who told me once a month, Zacharista has a large market day, with fresh fruits, vegetables, and other food items for sale.
Our lucky day! This would add another wrinkle to our day which i'll cover in another post.
We made our way to the Acroplois through the surprisingly empty streets........
I guess even the dogs wake up late in Athens.......
As we aid our admissions and walked up the stairs we ran into the soldiers who guard the Acropolis on their way down.....
Rifles over their left shoulder, left arm swinging back then high into the air as they marched. It was quite a sight.
Walking up the stairs, you look up and see the pillars of the Propylaea rising up in the air. It's quite a dramatic sight.
It's easy to imagine the drama and pageantry that took place here.
Of course once past the Propylaea, there's the Parthenon, one of the undying symbols of Greece.
Most of the major building that we're familiar with were built under the watch of Pericles. Of these the Parthenon is the most recognized and impressive. Built as temple dedicated to the Goddess Athena, it actually replaced the "Older Parthenon" which was destroyed by the Persians around 480BC.
Yet, the Acropolis is not defined by the Parthenon alone. For us, one of the most interesting and photogenic structures is the Erechtheion.
And the beautiful "Porch of the Maidens".
There's a look-out where the flag of Greece is raised, the views from there are fantastic.
Overall, it was nice to see, but for some reason this felt anti-climatic after our visit to Ephesus.
After our visit we headed down the hill and Panatheniac Way to the Ancient Agora, once the heart of Athens.
I enjoyed meandering along the paths, some of which have been used for centuries.
The two most prominent structures in the area are the Temple of Hephaestus.
Built for Hephaestus the God of technology and artisans.
And the Stoa of Attalos which is now the Ancient Agora Museum. We had times things right, the place was empty when we arrived and the echoes of the hallways and peristyle really played with one's imagination.
Perhaps it was because we could only hear the rustle of the trees and the birds singing between our footsteps; but I enjoyed this more than the Acropolis Museum. The busts lining the peristyle seemed to gaze upon us........
There's a small, concise collection of items related to the Athenian democracy.
We decided that having seen the Ancient Agora, that we should make our way to the present day agora, the Athens Central Market. The building of the "modern" market was initiated in 1875. Like most of these types of markets (and we've been to a few), things are organized in sections. For us, the most fascinating was the meat. Where the carcasses of lamb were cut directly in half, looking like something from an anatomy book.
I was particularly fascinated by the offal, especially the long strands of intestine hanging on a hook like twine, ready to be spun around offal to make kokoretsi.
The Missus and I noticed something interesting as we passed the rabbits hanging ready for sale. We wondered why they left the furry tail and hind feet intact. Was it a sign of neatness, or perhaps freshness?
The seafood area was another place where I took my time looking around. The seafood looked very fresh and the smells were of the sea, not decomposing flesh.
Eventually, we found ourselves outside the market......
Passing along the perimeter and the nuts, sausages, and fruits.....
By this time we'd covered quite a bit of ground for a single morning and the Missus was hungry. And I knew just the place...........