There was no way I was going to miss it, even if it did mean, a guided tour, a two-hour bus ride (each way) and losing my only day off in 10 days. After all, I might never be in Athens again.
I’ve never been a fan of guided tours. There is a trade-off involved between the extra information you might receive from a knowledgeable guide, and the downside of having to accommodate yourself to someone else’s schedule.
Which may be why I haven’t yet posted anything about the guided tours I have taken in the past year, tours of the Swiss and Austrian parliaments among them. It is more likely that time constraints are the issue with those – I took in so much information I haven’t had the time to write a proper post. Those are coming soon – I promise. Just don’t ask me to define “soon.”
If you go to Athens you must visit the Acropolis, the hill that dominates the city. Probably the best-known ruin on the hill is the Parthenon, which is featured in today’s photos. Just allow yourself time to wander and think – my trip felt a bit rushed. Probably because it was.
Having never been to Athens before (changing planes at the airport doesn’t count), my preconceptions were based on pictures. It is a famous tourist site; I have seen lots of pictures. You have too. The place lived up to them.
My wife skipped the Athens trip and went to Corinth instead. The woman from the tour company, when asked to recommend which daytrip to take, asked if she had been to Athens before. On hearing the answer was yes, she said the Parthenon really hadn’t changed since Vivian was there.
I’m sure that is true, though in 1981 it wasn’t covered in scaffolding with renovations underway. I’m also told that back then you could walk into the ruined structures. Now, fences keep people away. Given the number of tourists and the age of the buildings, I understand why you want to keep the mobs away.
In Canada we are impressed by buildings that have lasted from the nineteenth century. We don’t have buildings that have lasted more than nineteen centuries. Nor, I suspect, would we know how to make anything that would last that long.
If you are a history buff you are already familiar with the Acropolis and its buildings, or at least know where to find the information. If you are not, you’ll probably thank me for not repeating any of it here.
You could spend hours on top of this hill, admiring the structures, looking out over Athens and contemplating the past (and what that past means for our society today). It is one of those tourist sites that, no matter how crowded, you really do have to see if you are in the area.