The Parthenon and Old Athens area

We left Venice just after lunch.  Again the ship had to traverse the length of the Adriatic Sea and arrive at Athens, which is near the south end of Greece.

This took the remainder of the day, overnight, all the next day and then overnight for a second night.

We arrived in Athens on the morning of the following day.

We first saw a lot of marine activity in the port.  Behind the port, we could start to see the city nestled in the foot hill.  Then the mountaineous terrain that surrounds Athens.
Grandma and Jim had a look from the sun deck.  Parked next to use was another cruise ship.  On the shore we could see a much closer view of the waterfront area of the city.

By taking a short walk along the deck we were able to see a large sailing ship.  It certainly was equipped for pleasure, in that we could see a small swimming pool on the deck.  I found myself wondering what happens if the ship started to have a fair amount of heeling in a strong wind.  I guess I will not find the answer to that question.

We started the day with a bus tour.  Here Mary tried to get a few pictures as the bus moved onwards.

The first picture shows a bit of another area of the waterfront.  The next photo shows what I would call 'the saddle dome' like they have in Calgary.  This is part of sport facilities they have for hosting sporting events.

We arrived in the area of the Parthenon.  Now the Parthenon is located on the top of a large hill (really a small mountain).  It is a big climb from the roadway to get near the structure.

This is a quick check of the condition of people today, compared to people of a few thousand years ago.  This hill is hard work, and we had to pause on the way up to get a little rest.  The guide knew this and stopped at several points and explained things to us, so we could recover a bit of our strength for the continued climb.

At this point, we could look out over the remains of a temple and see some of the city of Athens in the background.
When we looked over in another direction, we could see we were gaining elevation compared to the general area of modern Athens.

We could look upwards through a doorway and see that we were getting closer to the Parthenon, but here our guide took quite a while to explain what was around us.  Unfortunately we were so busy watching where we stood on the sloping land, and trying to caught our breath, that I personnally remember little of what he said.

You can see we had a serious climb to continue.  Mary wasn't sure she was up to the task, but she was determined to take this historic site in, and she persevered to the top.

Now we were part of ancient history.  It is better to look at these photos because if you look at many of the people you cans see they have their eyes on their footing, trying to avoid any potential of falling.

You can see we were up high.  we had a magnificent view over a very large area.  No wonder this made a great place to build a fort.  You would be able to see hostile visitors, if they approached from any direction.
Our guide (the man with hat at his chest level) was explaining the details about the area we were entering.  Mary was paying close attention and probably remembers much more of what he said than I did.

The restoration work is an on going project.  What looked like rocks strewn about, is a tiny portion of what they have recognized so far and used in their restoration work.
Nearby was a building, I have forgotten the name of, with statues as columns at the one corner.  I took photos as I approached and walked around this building.

As we walked around to the far end of the building, I took a picture with Mary standing in front of the wall that was entirely pillars.

You can see by the scale compared to Mary's height, that these are very tall.  What doesn't show at this distance is how well the columns have stood the test of time.

Mary then used the camera to take a picture from her position, out past where I was standing to show how this site dominates Athens.

Three of the four walls of the Parthenon are standing in good condition.  The fourth wall has been missing for centuries because in a time of hostility, munitions were stored in the building.  Unfortunately a direct hit caused the munitions to blow away that fourth wall.

When we looked down along the one side of the cliff, we could see where they were assembling the stones and determining what goes where.  It was like a giant jigsaw puzzle.
You could see where they had an open amphitheatre, but had much restoration work to do before they would make it also a show piece.

It seemed that everywhere you looked, there was the treasure from many thousands of years ago.  For instance the structure made of a number of columns.

I am sure they have worked on this restoration for many decades, but you can also see that the work has barely begun.  Among the columns you can see the scaffolding, while in front of the structure you can see a few of the pieces of the puzzle they were trying to reconstruct.
Here is a little closer look along one of the walls of the Parthenon.  The scale of the structure has to be seen to be believed.

It is simple enough to think of a construction machine lifting and placing these large components.  But remember this work was done originally when there was only human, wind, and animal power.  I'm impressed.

Walking along the face of the cliff and looking down we saw another amphitheatre that has been much more completely restored.  It looked suitable to me to carry out plays on nice summer evenings.
Our time was short here.  We had used most of time in getting to the top and then attempting to absorb the many details that the guide was providing.

After a short look around, it was time to start back down the hill.  You can see that restoration is going on everywhere, on a big scale.

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