Athens, Greece

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Modern Greek: Αθήνα, Athína; Ancient Greek: Ἀθῆναι Athēnai

The Acropolis

according to Rick Steves: The most important ancient site in the Western world, where Athenians built their architectural masterpiece, the Parthenon. But the British Museum has the best works, thanks to Englishman Lord Elgin. The mighty Parthenon is the most famous temple on the planet, and an enduring symbol of ancient Athens’ glorious Golden Age nearly 2,500 years ago.

The Acropolis (literally “high city”) is lassoed by a delightful pedestrian boulevard. Winding up the hill you’ll find yourself in an ensemble of grand temples. Led by the visionary architect/sculptor Pheidias, the Athenians built this complex of supersized, ornate temples worthy of the city’s protector, Athena. Unlike most ancient sites, which have layers of ruins from different periods, the Acropolis was started and finished within two generations — a snapshot of the Golden Age set in stone. Pheidias’ crowning achievement was the Parthenon: Simple, balanced, and orderly, this is the finest temple from the ancient world.

“it was Pericles (c. 495 – 429 BC) in the fifth century BC who coordinated the construction of the site’s most important buildings including the Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Erechtheion and the Temple of Athena Nike.” (Wikipedia)

The Parthenon

The Propylaia

IMG_0951

The Erechtheion

IMG_0971

The Temple of Athena Nike

Lastly, a panorama…

IMAG4241

360 view from Areopagus

From “the Greek name Areios Pagos, translated “Ares Rock” (Ancient Greek: Ἄρειος Πάγος). In classical times, it functioned as the court for trying deliberate homicide. Ares was supposed to have been tried here by the gods for the murder of Poseidon’s son Alirrothios” (Wikipedia)


Food

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Food according to Rick Steves:

Around 9 p.m., I head to a taverna and order a medley of mezedes (appetizers) and share it family-style. The selection, while predictable, never gets old for me: garlic dip, fava bean dip, tzatziki dip (made from yogurt, cucumber, and mint), or all three on a single serving platter; fried eggplant or zucchini; Greek salad; and big grilled peppers — red or green — stuffed with feta cheese.
Most of my meals also include something from the sea, such as grilled calamari or octopus, sardines, or a plate of fried small fish (three inch), very small fish (two inch), or very, very small fish (one inch).

It was pure delight to dine with native Greeks. And I didn’t think the firewater too bad either! Just wish we could have gone to the Central Market. Would have loved to try Trigona, a dessert. Yeah, we had tsipouro. ^_^

Greeks tend to show hospitality with drinks — often ouzo. You don’t drink ouzo straight; instead, you add ice or water, which turns the ouzo from clear to milky white. When Greeks really want to show hospitality, the drink is tsipouro. Similar to Italian grappa, this brandy-like firewater is about 40 percent alcohol and makes ouzo seem like kid stuff.

Opa!

~Jessica & Kai-ling

Santorini

Here’s the first post! I think cruises would be cooler if scholars gave talks during the cruise, as an in-depth lesson in local history. My mother took a cruise (Celestyal Cruises around the Greek Islands, I believe?) and here is what she had to say about it:

I would love to stay overnight the next time I visit this island, but that is the limitation of cruise vacations. I had beautiful weather, which isn’t surprising, as I was told it rarely rains there and not until November. Delightful! The first port we arrived on October 15 was Kusadasi, western Turkey (“The gateway to Ephesus”). I wanted to avoid the pricy shore excursion organized by the cruise, and since it was a nice day, I walked around the pier and the local market a bit. The ship docks at every port from 8 am to 5 pm, which isn’t enough time to do too much, but I learned a few things on this trip from other passengers about how cruises work (some of them having cruised over 30 times!)

After that, we hopped on to some Greek islands — Rhodes, Katakolon and Santorini (Σαντορίνη). Because the last stop was the most beautiful one, it was unfortunate we couldn’t stay for the sunset which is supposed to be absolutely worthwhile. A reason to visit there next time! Overall, the weather in Turkey and Greece was beautifully sunny and warm (80 deg F / 27 deg C) for the four days we lingered there, before moving on to Italia.

~ Kai-ling

Out on the pier

Out on the pier