Here's Artie balancing on mummy's shoulder. She loves it up high! She looks huge in this photo, but she really isn't.
She's grown a bit since we got her (5 days ago), but here is our new kitten Artemis (Artie) helping daddy with his first day back at work.... Or should we say "hindering"?
2008-08-16 21:00, Athens
Today we set out with the intention of spending our last spare euros on the horse and carriage rides we had seen around the Acropolis. Benjie says, "After the marriage you've got to have the horse and carriage!"
So off we went for our last romantic stroll around the base of the Acropolis rock, nice and shady and not at all interrupted by the seemingly unending crowds of tours - they were out in force today!
We eventually tracked down a ride that was just finishing and asked if we could be next. Although the sun was climbing high in the sky, the ride was very pleasant - the driver provided us with a sun shade, guide book and some local knowledge here and there, pointing out the important monuments. It was nice to hear some new information about some of the sights. We drove around the base of the Acropolis, central Plaka and even went up the narrow streets of the flea market. Many people took our photo or even videoed us going past (the horse was a big, lovely-looking shire horse), and we waved to the road train going in the opposite direction.
We both enjoyed the horse ride very muvh, but it was soon time to go to the hotel and pack our suitcases; we're leaving before 11am tomorrow :(
We've really enjoyed our honeymoon, this has been the perfect destination for us, and has been a brilliant get-away. We're sad to leave this wonderful atmosphere, but we are also looking forward to going home - a new flat, a kitten, English food and lots of presents await!
16th Aug 2008, 20:27
2008-08-15 20:49, Athens
Today, I set us a large budget and we headed down to the flea market. We arrived around 9, which was before most of the stalls we open. We spent about four hours browsing the market: we brought a couple of statues, some t-shirts, a dress, fridge magnets, a calendar with some traditional Greek recipes and ice cream.
Then, after lunch at Quick Pitta, we went for a 35 minute ride on The Sunshine Express - a road train - where we re-capped many of the places we have visited over our two week stay. Then it was home to literally chill-out - under the air conditioner!
We've had little to write about over the last few days because we've not done as much - we've been enjoying the relaxed atmosphere before going back to the daily grind - see the photo!
16th Aug 2008, 20:19
2008-08-14 20:28, Athens
We set off to go and visit the observatory and church that we'd been unable to see the other day due to the dogs. We found the observatories, new and old, and two churches - but we don't think either church was the one we were looking for! However, we did find and video a tortise and whilst doing so were snotted over by the over-friendly cat in the picture. We followed it back to its food bowl, where we found its tiny kitten friend, who miowed at us but was too scared for strokes.
We then continued up the Acropolis hill on to Areopagus Rock - which gave us a fantastic view of the ancient Agora. We also had good views of the Pnyx and Acropolis. According to myth, Areopagus Rock is where Ares, god of war, was tried for crimes against humanity, thus its name.
16th Aug 2008, 20:13
2008-08-13 19:05, Athens
Today we went out to visit the New Acropolis Museum, which isn't fully open yet, but it's ground floor is open "for a glimpse" between 10am and noon each day. The museum's architecture is pretty amazing: it is supported a couple of metres above a current archaeological dig by many reinforced concrete "legs".
It has many open air walkways which double as protection from the elements, and also has many areas of glass floor which are fun, if a little scary, to walk on and see the dig site underneath. We watched a video about the building of the new museum, and the moving of the antiquities, and even saw some curators setting up a display of statues - proving that the new museum is still actively being prepared for its grand opening.
We found a pastry shop for a gorgeous snack, and did little else that day. However, I am now quite good at double deck "sh*t-head"!
16th Aug 2008, 20:06
2008-08-12 21:21, Athens
Dodging the heat has been a good strategy this holiday, and so today we tried again. We got on the metro early and went to see the "Atheanian Trilogy." This is a set of 3 adjacent buildings related to learning - the Academy, University and Library. Each building, though modern, took its style from the ancient Greek architecture. The buildings were thus columned with sculptures and frescoes in bright colours and gave a good impression of what the ancient Greeks would have seen of their buildings.
We then moved on to Parliament to walk around the National Garden. The garden was huge with lots of interesting trees - cypresses and palm trees among them. Like Victoria park in Portsmouth, the gardens had a collection of penned farm animals to see. This included donkeys, goats, peacocks, budgies, hens, and some very noisy cockerels. There was also a lovely outdoor taverna in which we had our lunch. I ordered a mixed grill with various sausage and kebab meat, while Benjie enjoyed the english sounding pork and potatoes.
To dodge the midday heat, we then moved on to the National Archaeological Museum. We saw many many painted vases and sculptures, and spent over 5 hours wandering its air conditioned halls. Of all the things we saw, we thought this photo was most appropriate for our honeymoon blog; this is sculptures of various body bits (boobs and willies included!) sculpted by townsfolk in ancient times.
16th Aug 2008, 20:04
2008-08-11 20:01, Athens
Today we set out late with the intention of making the summit of Filopappos Hill. This is a smaller sister hill of the Acropolis, rumoured by the ancient Greeks and Romans to be the home of the Muses and forest nymphs.
It was an easy climb up a meandering shady path. On the way up we saw the cave rumoured by the guide books to be "the prison of Socrates" - where he spent his last days - however the signs at the site informed us it was more likely to have been a house. The climb to the summit took us half an hour, including a couple of stops en route to take in the view.
At the top was Filopappos monument, built by roman senator Filopappos. The views were amazing - we could see all of Athens, bordered by hills on one side and the sea on the other.
From the summit we made our way back down, past a very interesting church - very pretty with lots of carvings in the walls - it was the church of "Dimitri the Bombadier". Past that was the Pnyx, the meeting place of the congress of the first democracy. This was established in 508 BC and the theatre, cut into the side of the hill, held over 10,000. You could see why that site was chosen, it had a beautiful view of the city and was also overshadowed by the Acropolis.
We then tried to continue along our leisurely walk down the hill only to be chased off by some rather aggressive dogs. They were obviously guarding something, perhaps some territory and wouldn't let us pass. We even doubled back on ourselves and tried a different route, but they came through the woods at us, and so our ramble came to a premature end without seeing the Old National Observatory or the church of Agia Maria, who is associated with children and childbirth. The church would've been particularly interesting to see as its builders incorporated sculptures and friezes from surrounding ancient temples. Maybe we'll see it another day.
13th Aug 2008, 19:43