United Kingdom, Greece, Denmark, Sweden
Exploring the cradle of Western Civilization. That gives a new, oddly dramatic spin on what otherwise is ... almost unremarkable?
Atop the Acropolis, you walk through the Propylaia (the entrance), across the Panthenaic way, gaze upon the Parthenon and the smaller Erechtheion, and down onto the city of Athens itself. The sun is out, it's hot and a bit humid, and did I mention the sun is out? Then you remember where you are, and it all comes together.
At least for a little while, then sweat starts to get in your eyes and your brain starts to bake, and it's not even noon yet. Coming back down into the Agora loses some of the majesty, and as we learned yesterday, the Plaka and the rest of Athens aren't nearly as remarkable. Neither was getting mislead by our Knopf Mapguide of Athens about the train tickets and having to pay a EUR60 fine when Athens metro police checked us. That kinda sucked.
Having spent the day exploring central Athens and finding every other major site a bit too far away to visit easily (even the port of Piraeus was too far), leaving Athens was almost a relief. The Temple to the Olympian Zeus was so large and vast that it was nearly as amazing as the Parthenon, but by the time we got to it, Kim said she felt "columned out", and honestly, she was right. As majestic and important as these locations are, they're not very well marked, so you're listening to your guide (if you have one) or nose-down in the tour book the whole time, which detracts from the experience. Hadrian's Gate was underwhelming, and the National Archaeological Museum, which was supposed to have opened five months before our visit, was closed!
Disappointing. At least we found how tasty Greek donuts were.
Took an evening flight to Hania (Chania, aka Xania) to meet up with the month-long class on Greek archaeology and Modern Greek that Kim had signed up for with APSU (Austin Peay State University, Tennessee). Two other students were also on the same flight, and the instructor, Professor Timothy Winters, came to pick us up.