Day 19 - The best for last19 Jul 2015 |
The best for last.
Having returned to Athens, our goal for the day was to see as much of the National Archaeological Museum as possible. This was a big challenge!
The museum is about a 30 minute walk from our flat. This took us out of the Plaka and into realm of real Athenians. We started our walk with a stop at our nearby bakery for coffee and pastries eating and drinking as we walked. Previously, I was thinking out loud wondering “Where are all the disabled Athenians” because given the way the mopeds and motorcycles drive, there must be lots of accidents. Well, as we got out of the tourist area we started to see people begging while displaying their disfigured body part for maximum effect. Besides that, it was mostly regular Athenians going about their day, crossing the streets is the most daring ways and risking becoming another accident victim. It is clear that all rules of the road are more like guidelines than actual rules.
The museum is a bright yellow building with white columns and a wide marble staircase. Inside there is a wide entrance area where we bought our tickets and I checked my backpack. From the entrance you can go in three directions. To the left is Neolithic artifacts, to the right are Minoan pieces and down the centre passage is the very large display of Mycenaean treasures including the mask of Agamemnon. Each of these displays represent the oldest items from the early civilizations of Greece. From these initial displays we traveled forward in time see impressive works right up to Classical period and on into Roman times. The layout of the museum was a bit of a challenge, seeming to defy logic. Favourites of the museum were Aphrodite and Pan (with her sandal in her hand to slap him), the Mycenaean signet rings and daggers, some of the Kouroi figures and the funeral reliefs.
We stopped for lunch at the museum Cafe. I was worried that it was going to be expensive but I saw some museum staff having coffee so I figured it would be alright. We bought some sandwiches and drinks, with Kristine and I having just plain brew coffee. I didn’t pay to much attention to the cost of things. To steel ourselves for more museum exhibits, Kristine and I decided to have a second coffee. I went up and got 2 more regular coffees and the lady asks for 6 Euros. My jaw dropped, I had paid about $4.20 for a cup of coffee. Ack! I am doing my part to help Greece out of debt. Only a few more coffees and I will have them sorted.
After a long day in the museum, the 30 minute walk back seemed long but we made it back to our flat for a drink and Athena got ready to go and meet a Greek girl, Myrto, who will be attending Sciences Po with her in the fall. They went to the Cafe Plaka a few blocks from the house for a Cappuccino Freddo before wandering about the Placka for a couple hours. Myrto, who came by the house to drop Athena home, is a charming 18 year-old debate champion whom Athena is looking forward to meeting again in Reims. Athena enjoyed walking the streets with a local, especially when she verbally slapped-down an aggressive street hustler with a few bullet-fast Greek phrases.
Athena arrived back at 9PM and we went up to the top of our street to the restaurant for some more traditional Greek food and live music. We had been walking past this restaurant everyday when we were in Athens and turning down the offers to sit made by the proprietor. We figured we out to patronize the taverna right next door to our flat at last once. The food and music were good with lots of Greek patrons (always a good sign) and a very large and celebratory table of gay tourists. Another great day in Greece.