Athens Day 2

First full day in Athens and my wristwatch says that I took 19,624 steps and — if you will excuse the gushing cliches — that’s nearly 20,000 new vistas and experiences in this city in which every step offers a view either to the ancient past or to the vibrant present. I started out the day at the Acropolis Museum, which opened in 2009 and houses artefacts and carvings from the Acropolis. The third floor has original pieces and some reproductions of the freize that wrapped around the Parthenon. I learned that one whole side depicted a battle between drunk centaurs and some other beings whose wedding the centaurs crashed. Several tasteful but pointed displays show visitors how much was taken by the British and is still on display in museums in London. Visitors are forbidden to take photos in the main exhibit, but the first video above shows the excavations under the museum. After a coffee and sandwich of freshly roasted veggies and equally fresh cheese that was one of the tastiest sandwiches I’ve ever had from a street corner deli, I went on to the Ancient Agora, deciding to skip going up the Acropolis until first thing tomorrow. But before going to the Agora, I explored this little neighborhood on the upper slopes of the Acropolis called Anafiotika, which is in the second video above. Lots of walking. Lots of walking down streets and alleyways because they look interesting. Lots of stopping to appreciate what the senses offer here. In the afternoon/ evening I strolled around a different neighborhood called Psyrri which according to my copy of the Lonely Planet, “may look dilapidated, but it’s the city’s liveliest quarter, where bars and restaurants coexist with warehouse conversions and workshops.” That seems like a reasonable statement based on my groundtruthing walkabout as I followed streets by whim. I didn’t take any photos (I tend to not take photos of the city or street scenes that I move through) but I ended up eating a gyro platter at a downscale joint. It was good food, but not on the same level as the many hip eateries in that area that would be better experienced with the company of another. While eating, the rain that had been holding off all afternoon finally let loose with a legit thunderstorm and buckets of rain. On the way back to my hotel, I even saw lightning crack over the Acropolis like Zeus was trying to tell us something, I don’t know what.