Athens (Piraeus), Greece

The sun shone for our day in Athens, the highlight of which was a visit to the New Acropolis Museum, opened seven years ago with the hope it would eventually become the rightful home of marble sculptures from the Parthenon removed during the early 1800s by the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire. Since then they have been held, some say illegally, by the British Museum.

The sculptures have yet to be repatriated but in the meantime one can view more than 4,000 other sculptures, as well as tools, pottery and other objects dating from the 5th century BC. One can also enjoy a good view of the Acropolis itself, from the top floor of the museum. (That’s what Zelda is looking at in the picture above.)

One can see why the British ambassador, Lord Elgin, wanted to “rescue” some of the Parthenon marbles, as the sculptures are called,  from the Acropolis ruins. They are spectacular.

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High on the hill is what remains of the Acropolis

The Athens traffic was more gridlocked than usual because of a wildcat strike by Metro workers and a shutdown of certain streets due to a scheduled schoolchildren’s parade. But we still managed to see the stadium built in 1896 for the first modern Olympic Games. (It was also used during the 2004 Olympics, but only for the non-televised archery competitions, which our guide said were of no absolutely interest to the Greeks). We also got to visit the Plaka shopping and dining district where we enjoyed a fine lunch of traditional Greek cuisine.

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