Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Today we were in Athens, wow, Athens, the birthplace of democracy, it was fantastic.  We took a tour to the Parthenon on the Acropolis.  It was almost surreal being there.  There were the statues of the Greek Gods, Zeus and Athena,
the huge Ionic Columns that made up the temple walls and the marble steps that led up the hill.  
As you passed through a magnificent monstrous marble gate the vista of the iconic Parthenon was right there in front of you.  
The marble is mined 12 miles away and was transported by wagon and sometimes rolled all the way to the site and then up a 600 foot hill.  The temples that they built at the top of the hill have been under reconstruction for 15 years and they expect it to take another 10 years before they will be done. 
It was interesting to see where they have put the new marble in to repair old sections, the new stuff was really wide and the older marble was discoloured to a kind of yellowy colour.
You could see the city of 4 million people laid out in front of you.  There were tall pointy hills right in the middle of the city with buildings going as high as was practical.  

Afterwards we were taken the stadium where the first modern Olympic Games took place in 1896.  Apparently the track is too narrow for any events nowadays but the stadium is still used for political events.  
We saw some of the venues for the Games that took place in 2004, the volleyball and soccer stadiums and I think they held the archery competition in 1896 athletics stadium.  Unfortunately we were did not visit the main stadium from the 2004 games.  Fortunately the guides have lots to talk about so there are frequent stops when we are climbing up lots of stairs.  Mom made it to the top with few extra stops today 
We are on our way to Turkey at the moment and we have a tour of Ephesus tomorrow.