The Parthenon in Athens

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There are some places on the planet Earth I feel every human should visit at least once in their lives. Athens, Greece is one of these places. I don’t really need to go into the history of Western Civilization. Suffice it to say, that as you walk through the Parthenon and among the ruins on and around the Acropolis the past surrounds you, envelopes you as a palpable, living entity. The rocks have, literally, told their stories and the generations of archaeologists and historians have done their best to make that past come alive for the visitor. They’ve done a good job.

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Partenon Athens

As is often the case for most of us, we don’t always have the luxury of time when visiting these great monuments and, aside from a day or two of wiggle room, we’re pretty much stuck with the conditions on the day we have. Ours was a hot, bright Aegean sunny day with at least one, but probably more like four, massive cruise ships at port. We knew about at least one by the thousands of tourist sporting their cruise ship brand strapped colorfully around their wrists.  With no other real choice we fell in with the steady procession climbing the fabled trail up to the Parthenon. The ancient and worn stone steps would stand the test of time for at least a few more thousand footsteps that day, ours among them.

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As we all funneled out through the last portal and onto the Acropolis hilltop, we found ourselves almost alone on one quiet corner that had been some long-ago senator’s favorite spot to sit under an olive tree on just such a day as this. The crowds parted and we were able to feel like the swarming masses had withdrawn and there was peace. We even managed a quick photo or two before an onlooker spied our revelry and decided there was room for one more small group on that quiet spot. It’s hard to stay indignant for long as the realization hits that we, too, are equally a part of that swelling mass of tourism. We are quick to beckon our fellow travelers over for what we have found to be one of the least crowded, if not serene areas.

Where is your favorite spot in Athens?

14 Comments

  1. Getting away from οἱ πολλοί ain’t easy. Even for a minute. Note the Greek. I’m proud of my one semester of study.

  2. I’m 95% sure I’ll be in Athens for TBEX. Hope to meet you. This post really makes me want to go there. Love the thought of being surrounded by this kind of history. And considering how many places you’ve been, I’ll take your advice that it’s a must see!

    1. Ann, Oh I hope you do get there. It would be great to meet and swap travel stories. We still need to book our air tickets and hotel…I guess we should get cracking on that!

  3. We were in Athens for a day at the start of our trip, and a day at the end. Plan was to tour the Parthenon that first day, but it was closed due to a strike. On the last day, we were traveling back from Santorini, and our flight was delayed. We got back to Athens about 45 minutes before closing time. We dropped our suitcases at the hotel, and the driver zoomed us there. Somehow, we made it, and had only about a half hour. But it was blissfully empty at that time. I can’t believe we almost missed it! The travel blogger conference sounds wonderful!

  4. It’s a very long time ago when I went back packing to Greece with some friends from Uni – the Parthenon was amazing …. You’ve made me want to go back. Santorini was one of our island hops then – good times, beautiful architecture, blue seas … bliss. Thank you for the lovely memory.
    Enjoy your travel writers visit – that’ll be fun.

    1. Fil, The Parthenon, as well as lots of sites in Athens are some of those sites that no one should miss. I’m glad it brought up a happy memory for you.

  5. I am really impressed you found an area less crowded and were able to get such a good photo. Mine seem to be dominated by tourists. Being that we arrived in Athens on a cruise ship, it’s difficult for me to really complain about all the people there, but I did anyway 🙂

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