Athens Day 2 – The Acropolis Museum
I could fill a whole page or two with photos from the Acropolis museum and our second day in Athens, but I will try and limit myself. The day, a Sunday, started with a short walk up to the parliament building at Syntagma to watch the Evzones, the presidential guards. “The Evzones or Evzonoi, is the name of several historical elite light infantry and mountain units of the Greek Army. Today, it refers to the members of the Presidential Guard, a ceremonial unit that guards the Greek Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Presidential Mansion in Athens.” [Wikipedia] We were there to see them in their hourly duties, but at 11.00 on a Sunday, they also perform the changing of the guard in a more intricate ceremony.
By that time, however, we had taken the metro up to the Acropolis museum. The metro, as I’ve said before, is clean, punctual and not expensive. The display pictured below, for example, was at the museum station. There are uncovered ancient ruins in the concourse at Monastiraki station.
The museum itself (€10.00 entry) is large, well designed and full of history of the Acropolis and Parthenon including a life-size freeze from around the top of that building, discovered artefacts, models showing the development of the area, pottery and even uncovered archaeology still beneath the site. There is a café for a pit stop and a video display where you can sit and rest for ten minutes and watch the history of the place. You’re able to see the Acropolis from the windows. It was still windy outside, so we didn’t venture up to the summit itself, but if you’re planning to do that, or visit the museum, my advice is to go early. We walked straight in, but by the time we left, there was a huge queue.
After that, we took a walk through Plaka, had lunch and headed back to the hotel for a siesta. Later in the afternoon, we wandered down through Monastiraki and onwards to Thiseio (or Thissio), a neighbourhood bordering the ancient agora at the foot of the Acropolis, and one of my favourite areas in the city. As it was (still) Sunday, the ‘boot fair’ style street market was there, although there are craft and other stalls lining the main pedestrian street every day, and so we spent some time wandering the stalls and checking out everything from antiques to tat and from homemade jewellery to homemade leather-bound notebooks (I resisted as I already have four).
The walk continued until, before we knew it, we were back at the museum and halfway through a circular route which took us back through the Plaka towards Monastiraki and dinner. We walked six miles that day and ended up at a taverna that was very pleasant, not costly and looked awfully smart. It was all going well until the hostess, Irini, began her nightly routine of teaching everyone ‘kaliiiispeeeera’ and so on, and insisted those punters who wanted to, got up to dance Zorba, including the smashing of ‘plaaaayts’ as two very talented musicians played and sang. It was good fun, though we stayed rooted in our chairs.
You can have a bit of everything in Athens all in one day.