Monday, April 16, 2018

An Acropolis Kind of Day

Lately, I've been lucky enough to have a couple of chances to stay in Athens. Usually, it is not for very long but when you adopt my "I'll sleep when I'm dead" world view to traveling, you can usually get in a couple of sites, which is important in a city that has so very much to see.

Last month, that meant that I got to visit the National Archeological Museum and stumble across a cool hipster neighborhood. This month, I was back and staying within plate-smashing distance of the Acropolis.

This was my chance to check out the highly-recommended Acropolis museum, which is a relatively recent project, having only opened in 2009 after a lengthy search for the perfect location. I would argue that they found it.

It is located directly south of the Acropolis itself, meaning that when you are on the top floor looking at the sculptures that originally appeared on the Parthenon, you also seeing the actual site through large picture windows.

The museum was created for several reasons. For one, as excavations turned up more artifacts, the first museum, located in the Acropolis became much too small a space. Secondly, this new stunning building was meant to counter the British argument that the reason that they are refusing to return the Parthenon marbles is because the Greeks didn't have a suitable place to house them. Well, here we are, nine years later and a disturbing percentage of the artifacts displayed are replicas of the ill-gotten originals that the British are still clinging to.

There is a film running continuously that reveals how ruthlessly the British pilfered this site.  They loaded so many stone carvings onto one ship that it sank on its way back to the UK. If the museum's purpose is to leave you thoroughly piss off at the British Museum, then kudos, it worked. (Full disclosure: I was in that museum back in October and was already peeved at the extent of their looting so I was already halfway to pissed).

Overall, this is a wonderfully done institution that is worth visiting before going to the Acropolis in order to get a full understanding of its significance and what it would have originally looked like.

Sticking with the Acropolis theme, I then visited Mars Hill, which is on the opposite side and gives you one of the best views both the monuments and the city itself. But be careful because those rocks are slippery af and have for sure taken out at least a couple of selfie-takers.

What about another angle, say that from the rooftop 360 bar? By this point, I had met up with some friends and what better happy hour than one with a view of the Acropolis?

After the sun had set and the weather cooled, we went looking for warmer accommodations.

Yet, cold as it was, the lure of this majestic view drew us to yet another rooftop bar, this time the Anglais Athens.

From here it was just a one gyro distance back to the hotel after an incredibly fulfilling Acropolis kind of day.

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