Athens was brilliant. We flew out of Heathrow, which was o.k. even though it was bristling with army personal and light tanks, not to mention armed police (very unusual in Britain). We flew with B.A. and were upgraded to business class which was a great start to the break.

In Athens we stayed in a Holiday Inn which was quite central and just down the road from one of the metro stations. This is new since I was last in Athens, 23 years ago!!! The Metro was great for me getting around, I always find most metro systems easy to navigate. Anyway, I spent Thurs and Fri wandering around a few of the ruins. I really enjoyed myself and was able to spend as long as I liked in the ancient Agora (market/meeting place) imagining what it would have been like in Socrates’ time. I also visited an ancient pottery museum, which had interesting movies about how the ancient Greeks made pottery.

Still found time to shop, or at least window shop. I didn’t buy much but it was fun to wander around looking at the tourist stuff for sale, still good prices even with the Euro in use in Greece now.

Saturday, Dave and I went to the Acropolis. We climbed up past the Theater of Dionysos and the Odeum of Herodes Atticus which is still used every summer to stage plays. We entered through the Proplaia, the gateway through which the Panatheniac procession passed in ancient times. This is my third visit to the Acropolis and my most educational one. This time I knew a lot about the buildings and was interested to see them in detail, as much as you can; there is continual work going on and a lot of the place is out of bounds. There is also a museum on the Acropolis now, housing some of the works of art from the site which were being slowly ruined outside. They are now safely indoors while their place has been taken outside by concrete casts. The Parthenon, unfortunately, is out of bounds so one cannot, as I did the first time I visited in 1974, walk about inside what is left of this beautiful building which housed a huge gold statue of Athena scupted by Pheidias.

More tomorrow.






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