Friday, August 27, 2010

Athenian Nights

"Athenian Nights, like Athenian Days, are hotter than hot, in a lot of good ways" - Aladdin.

Athens in Review

I am barely keeping up with my travel journal as it is. I absolutely adore the Athens Flea Market in Monastiraki. It's goods everywhere you look, large signs that scream prices, souvenirs of every sort in the stores, men yelling at you in a mix of languages, tourists surrounding the place, purchasing key chains, playing cards, rings, jewels. It's an array of excitement and magic and it is shaded from the heat in it's cool alleyways. A must go for any one planning to visit Athens.

Other amazing things in Athens, include:

The Olympic Stadium.

The old "Marble" Olympic stadium is a sight for any athlete, fan ( or tiffo= Italian) or even someone who's seen Gladiator. I doubt highly that that movie was filmed there, but I mention it for the sheer grandeur of the old stadium is breathtaking. For only 1, 50 E you can walk around the stands, see where the kings and queens sat, run the track, see the monuments in the middle of the track. And just for tourists, there is a podium with three places, for you to pose. This just happens to sit directly in front of the Olympic rings high atop the stadium. It's utterly gorgeous. Just another reason why the Greeks astound us even still.

Hadrian's Arch/ Temple of Olympian Zeus

My history teachers would cringe- for certainly somewhere in my years of Greek study and ancient mythology ( I remember vividly from grade 8) there must have been mention of the creation of these places, but if I ever knew, I cannot recall. Just the searing heat and staring at the gorgeous columns that used to be the temple of Zeus are radiant. Hadrian's Arch is more intact and would've led to the temple in those days. I can just imagine old men bustling about in Greek clothes, building, talking, haggling prices with merchants. brown from the sun exposure, happy from their good wine and conversation. History really speaks to you in Athens, no matter where you go, except probably the mall.

Yesterday, we traveled an hour outside of Athens to the temple of Poseidon.
I must say, though I was starving, it was sensational. We arrived there near 7:15 pm and we thought ( my best friend and I) that we would explore, take photos and meander back to the restaurant at the base of the hill ( not as impressive as the hill of the acropolis, but a rival for sure). We did a round of the temple, gorgeous marble columns through which you can see the sea. Beside us the sea rages on with a golden sun basing it's reflection on the cool blue water. The picture wanted me to jump off the cliff into the water instantly. We were, unbeknownst to us, staying for the sunset. I read the end of my thriller, eavesdropped on a group of Italians, who seemed to be gossiping about a friend of theirs and her new apartment, and watched the miraculous sun disappear behind the ocean, imaging that at that time, it was certain that the world was flat. The temple is my favorite of it's kind, since Poseidon is my personal favorite god in Greek mythology of the men at least and because this temple over looks the sea and the sun set in a way that would be captured in magazines to lure tourists such as me. Also to be captured in poems and words and writings, but they would not do the beauty justice.

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