It comes with mixed emotion that we write one of our last blogs. We are sitting here on our last night of our European adventure, our last night in Athens drinking red wine on our balcony. We just enjoyed our last meal on a roof top terrace over looking the Acropolis. It is hard to believe that it is over 2000 years old.
We have really enjoyed our time in Athens. We arrived late on Friday night after taking the ferry from Santorini. On Saturday we headed straight for the Acropolis. Climbing up to the top was surprisingly easy. Probably because of all the practice we have had climbing things.... Like Alps. The view from the top is amazing and the ruins leave you speechless. It is really hard to imagine that these were made with limited tools and no machinery thousands of years ago.
Again, like Rome, Athens is a huge sprawling city, with ruins interspersed throughout. The difference is that here, the ruins are much better marked. You can really get a good sense of what you're looking at from the signs posted at significant ruins.
There's also a dedicated path that connects all the major points that is for pedestrians only. Although the metro system is quite good, and actually one of the cleaner ones we experienced, the walk through the city along the path was lovely, and gave many different views of the magnificent Acropolis.
There was still some unrest among the people here, as the major square at the centre of the city was full of protesters with large banners. Late on Saturday evening, we ended up walking by the throng of people chanting and shouting outside the Greek parliament building. We steered clear enough that we weren't swept up by riot police, but still got a feel for the scene that was unfolding.
We felt fairly safe with our Canadian flag stitched to the bag we were carrying. That didn't last long. Sure enough, just as we walked away from the protest, we came across a long motorcade of cars bearing Canadian flags. We thought this was fairly strange, but were still excited to see such a large home presence here.
We learned later on the news that it was, in fact, Stephen Harper himself visiting Greece, professing his support for the Greek president. The very president that the protesters were chanting against. We didn't fly our colours quite so freely the next day, worried that it might get us in a little trouble with the locals.
We also were able to catch a few notes of an opera that was rehearsing in the odeon theatre at the base of the acropolis. This 2000 year old theatre that was redone just enough to make it an absolutely incredible concert venue. Sadly, we were only able to listen from the outside, as the actual concert date is June first, but to hear the opera resonating off the Acropolis... Is was a pretty special moment.
All in all, we really enjoyed our time here in Athens. We did our best to both see everything we wanted, but also air back a little and really take it all in. This is, after all, it. Tomorrow, we head to the airport bound for the great white (or wet as we've heard) north.
We close this entry with a little sadness, and a little excitement as we start on a nearly 16 hour adventure that will be returning home.
We will update once home of course, and will let all our loyal readers know when and where they can see the pictures we've selected from the over 2000 we've taken.
Until then... We bid you farewell and good night.
- Graham and Jill