I keep my blog as a personal record of what I'm up to, which might be seen as working towards "An elegant sufficiency, content, retirement, rural quiet, friendship, books, ease and alternate labour, useful life"

I'm certainly not there yet.  There is quite some way to go!










Entries in Greece (3)


All good things




…come to an end.  We tried to stretch this one out a little longer, by lingering over breakfast watching one ferry after another leave the harbour here in Athens.  But sooner or later, we had to leave as well.




We’d had plans to visit the new Acropolis Museum but our habit of visiting cities on Mondays when such places are closed continues.  We settled for a view of it here and decided to walk in the other direction, towards the Archaeology Museum instead.




I was keen to get some photographs of the guards with the pompom shoes but again, it was a definite no go area for me due to those pesky pigeons.  Athens is absolutely full of the things and I walk in fear and trembling.  Not a comfortable place for me to be.




We enjoyed a leisurely walk along Panepistimiou Street towards the museum, loving the shapes of all these pastries.




We couldn’t resist taking a closer look at the National Academy – so much lavish decoration, so many owl motifs to spot, too!




Further along, the front facade of another of the “Trilogy” designed by Theophil Hansen  (I think this is the “Propylaea”) had this wonderful frieze along the whole length.  We couldn’t really get high enough to take better photos, but were interested to see variations on the “Meander” pattern from Ephesus here, too.




Too hot to sit in the sun drawing – thank goodness for digital cameras!




Though the beautiful classical buildings stand proudly back from the dreadfully busy traffic, sad to say that much of the street scene looked a little scruffier.  Perhaps not altogether surprising, considering the current situation here in Greece?

Thankfully, we didn’t have much further to walk until more attractive wall decorations were in sight.  I gathered a few more fragments for my collection as soon as we managed to gain access to the Museum.




I found a few hands to admire, too.




Not to mention some magnificently sculpted fabric folds




Though we’ve seen a fair bit of Roman sculpture recently, I’m a little less familiar with the Greek side of things.  In particular, I had no idea what lie in store in the next room, where the treasures from Mycenae were on display.




This was just one of around a dozen cases of gold treasures found in graves   dating from the sixteenth century BC.  The detail and patterning was remarkable and we stood for some time marvelling at the craftsmanship.




There were butterfly motifs, spirals and whorls, all absolutely regular and finely drawn.  This was so refined and not primitive in any way in spite of the great age.




In another room were small (about 1.5cm sq) pressed glass tiles which had been created to form jewellery – neckpieces and suchlike.




The subtle shades and patterns of these pieces were similarly sophisticated although rather more modern than the gold: These date from the 13th century BC.




Altogether quite awe-inspiring.  Unlike the pavement on the way back to our hotel.




Mind your step!


Athens Out-takes

As soon as we realised we were "there", we dashed out for our last breakfast with a view - to find a chap waving his arms about and looking a little frustrated (understatement!) Perhaps this was the clue to the way the day would progress for us, too!


Having got our things together and had the call to disembark and collect our bags, we joined a morning city tour to fill in the time before our flight, which wasn't till 7pm. We began by driving around the old port of Piraeus.


Along the way, we saw plenty of evidence left behind from the 2004 Olympics, though the city was quiet on this Sunday morning.



From time to time we passed a ruin or two, but sadly we were unable to catch any details.



Most of the time, we couldn't even catch the ruin!

We didn't really get a feeling for the city at all as we seemed to go in and out and around the same parts over and again and breathed a sigh of relief when we were taken for coffee to a "room with a view".


Around 1pm, we arrived at the airport, clearly far too early for our flight but hopeful of dropping off our bags and heading for the lounge to catch up on email, snoozing and easing ourselves back into real life.


No such luck. All pleas to get through to "the other side" fell on deaf ears and we faced a three and a half hour wait in the noisy checkin hall, even though we'd checked in online the previous night. Might we be able to squeeze onto the earlier flight, leaving in just two hours, perhaps? Probably not, for it was overbooked already.

We sat and waited, grumbled and muttered to one another. Mark returned to speak to the supervisor to make one more plea if someone didn't turn up, could we have their seats? A grudging agreement was given - there were three people remaining who hadn't arrived yet.


As we sat there, one woman came up to the desk. There was one gone. But amazingly, by the 2.15pm deadline, no-one else had arrived, so we hot footed it over, smiled sweetly (through gritted teeth) and were grudgingly given boarding passes!

As we flew over Switzerland, we had a fine view of the Alps. So clear, we could pick out favourite places. We even flew directly over Mark's hero's birthplace - Lachen. We had a very entertaining pair of chaps as cabin crew and were delighted at the prospect of arriving home a little earlier, since I had teaching commitments on Monday.


But then things began to happen. People came to the front of the plane to use the loo, but then turned around and went back after having spoken to the steward. The loos were out of action. Looked like someone had forgotten to empty the tank at Athens and the Captain was unwilling to fly on to Heathrow with no functioning loo, since the weather was bad and it looked like we'd be stacked for an hour or more. Typical, we thought - why hadn't we stuck with our original flight?!


So, we had an unexpected diversion into Geneva, where the tanks were emptied, everyone on board seemingly did their best to fill them again (!) and off we set once more in surprisingly jolly mood. Drinks all round again - oh heck, get the G&T now, never mind the good intentions ("Oh good girl!" said the steward, "It's Happy Hour so have two!")

We arrived at Terminal 5 about two hours earlier than we would have done on our original flight. Guess whose luggage was first off the plane?


What a great baggage system they've got there!!


Note about the photographs: throughout our holiday, I've discarded very few "duds", even though many have been taken through bus windows and been snapped quickly in passing. The photos in todays post are typical of those taken today and believe it or not, are unedited!!



An Afternoon in Rhodes

I felt this to be a small bonus in addition to all the "big" destinations of the trip. We'd decided to spend the time pottering about rather than go to one of the historic sites and as it was our first time in Greece, we looked forward to a few hours there.

We "parked" very close to the old town and were fortunate to be the only ship in port today so the place wasn't overwhelmed with tourists. First thoughts were how quiet it was after Cairo and Alex, how clean, how comfortable...how European! Wandering about the empty, narrow streets was a joy and we were happy to mooch in and out of shops, along little passageways and forego any plan.

We loved coming across little details like this

peering through open doors

and wandering up little cobbled streets.

We loved the Street of the Knights too - a pity the museum closed only last week for refurbishment.

A final surprise on our way back to the ship was this delightful corner, where the little church was open and we were encouraged to go inside and take a look. Icons, richly painted walls and Orthodox chant - what atmosphere to absorb as a memory of this lovely Friday afternoon.