Saturday, February 25, 2012

Greece Day 3: More Athens!

Today Sarah and I let ourselves lounge around in the morning because we were so exhausted from our island adventure yesterday, and then we headed into Athens again. We started out at the Acropolis Museum. Free again! Something probably different between Greece and France...if I showed my student visa to a museum ticket booth in France where the word "student" was written in a language other than French, the person working there would shake their head and shut the window on me. In Greece, even if they look slightly doubtful (especially since the photocopy of my visa is black and white and not super legible), they still have been letting me in for free. Pretty awesome.

Me and Sarah!  I guess the guy who took our picture didn't get the hint that me motioning to the art behind us meant that I kind of wanted it in the picture. Oh well! 

Then we walked to what's left of the Temple of the Olympian Zeus. Free again! Really cool. 


Then, because it's some holiday weekend or something, there was a little fair set up near by with all of these kids running around in costumes, and Sarah and I split fried dough with chocolate. 

Afterwards we went to the Benaki Museum, were we did have to pay 5 euros to get in, but it was okay because everything else has been free so far. Let me just tell you that I'm kind of tired of ancient Greek art (more on that below), so it was nice to see some things from other eras. 

Baby dragon!

There was also a really interesting exhibit of photos depicting Smyrna, which used to be a thriving port town in The Ottoman Empire, and which was virtually destroyed and abandoned in 1922 (for a lot of reasons) and which now belongs to Turkey. Most photo exhibits don't speak to me, but this one was really emotional. 

So, after a few days of realizing that we had both been feeling the need to constantly tell each other that we were having a good time in Athens, Sarah and I have come to the joint conclusion that while we are both very happy that we're here and that we've been enjoying what we've been seeing, Athens simply doesn't live up to the other European capitals we've each visited. We don't want to sound bitter, but we're just spoiled because we live in Paris, where beautiful things are literally all around us. We also realized that the thing that the cities we've visited recently (Rome, London, Edinburgh, etc and Paris) have in common that while embracing their own cultures, they each also place a strong emphasis on 1. Having important artifacts and art that belong to other cultures (i.e. in the British Musuem, the Louvre and in the National Museum of Scotland), and/or 2. They capitalize on multiple eras of their history. From what we've experienced here so far, Athens seems to have made itself solely a destination for its ancient history. And while that's an important part of it, it keeps Athens from being glamorous and cosmopolitan...unfortunately. And it makes it (ahhh, I hate to say this)....slightly boring sometimes? And it doesn't help that many of the destinations that people come to Athens to see require boat and bus trips that are multiple hours away from the city center. But like I said before, Paris has made us biased. 

Something that Athens does have over Paris is its inexpensive coffee. Sarah and I got HUGE frappes today (cold, thick delicious iced coffee drinks) for 1.50 each. In Paris, you're lucky if you can get a tiny shot of espresso to go for a euro, so that's pretty good. 

1 comment:

  1. The book Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenities depicts the massacre at Smyrna really vividly at the beginning of the book. I'll never forget it.