Athens: the city - a legend. What it is worth looking here at?
Travel to Greece were my long dream which, actually, had even no concrete form as I never built realistic plans. Nevertheless, it was the only country which, without reflecting, I called in response to a question of where I would like to travel. Since then there passed many years, I visited many countries, but Greece and remained for me dream from the childhood when I became engrossed in reading of historical books, the attracting and mysterious country of temples and legends...
To Athens we arrived early in the morning, without effort reached from the airport the center, but to find the hotel which is in hundred meters from metro station it was necessary to use the navigation system, and the principle of numbering of buildings in Greece we did not comprehend until the end of the travel. We planned to spend the first four days in the capital, and then to start long voyage on islands. We determined by the main objects for visit the Archaeological museum, the Acropolis, the Agora and Zeus Olimpiysky`s Temple.
Of course, we saw much more, walked on the central streets much and soon not bad were guided, but these four pearls of Athens nevertheless left the greatest impressions.
The archaeological museum stores so much amazing that some emotional contusion, impossibility to apprehend more, need of a pause and concentration on something neutral is felt soon as at a choice of perfume - our sense of smell quickly becomes dull and the enterprising seller offers us coffee... Here so, with breaks on coffee, we also wandered about halls which collected in themselves the best works of ancient art from all territory of Greece, excluding, naturally, the masterpieces which are stored in Olympia. Already here we felt how history of Ancient Greece fascinates us in mental captivity, but we felt full immersion on depth of the millennia next day when we went to the Acropolis.
Small practical detail : planning survey of the main sights of Athens, it is worth beginning with the Acropolis - the ticket for visit of Parthenon costs 12 Euros, but this price includes also six additional tickets for excursions into Dionysus`s theater, the Ancient Greek Agora, the Roman Agora, Zeus`s Temple, Library Adriana and Kladbishche of Ancient Athens - Keramik. Separate visit of each of six objects will cost 2 Euros, and tickets received at visit of Parthenon are valid within four days.
It is necessary to tell that Greeks make thrifty use of the heritage unusually and patriotically, all historical objects are intensively restored, for restoration the same materials, as thousands years ago in total with the latest technologies are used, the European Union finances 75% of all works what report big bigborda at each entrance about. And still the Greek citizens terribly are indignant concerning unwillingness of the British museum to return the marble statues of Parthenon which are taken out to England at the beginning of the nineteenth century by lord Elgin. I think, this situation has political character, and, perhaps, not the last factor is the Greek origin of the spouse of the English Queen here, but... these are only guesses, and the bright fact is Parthenon reviving, majestic and striking, despite efforts of numerous conquerors and destructive time.
The tremendous impression is made by the new museum of the Acropolis , especially its floor devoted to Parthenon. We visited the museum for the fourth day of its opening. Surprisingly, but got in uncrowded hours though later saw huge lines at an entrance. A payment for visit symbolical - 1 Euro.
Outside the museum looks more than is modern, in its construction the latest materials and technologies are used, but having only got inside, understand idea of the building - to give the chance completely to plunge into the atmosphere of antiquity by quite unusual methods, passing on transparent coverings over streets of ancient Athens, rising to bas-reliefs of Parthenon. The museum is constructed in such a way that one floor imitates the top part of the temple, allowing to admire the well-known works of Ancient Greek sculptors, and, all details which did not remain or being in the British museum are recreated anew. Transparent walls allow to see along with survey of sculptures and bas-reliefs ancient Parthenon at Acropolis top.
The ancient Agora where we did not notice active recovery work, stores absolutely other power: despite presence is temples here, everything dominates - something human, everyday. Here you pay attention to echoes of Ancient Greek everyday life more: a water supply system, drainages, the place for placement of announcements. The Roman Agora remained even worse as one Greek honestly told, explaining us the road, there is nothing to look - everything is destroyed long ago. Actually, as well as Zeus`s temple, but his majestic columns which came presently in the millennia still excite imagination and force to feel contrast between them and the little man whose life is so short...
Well, the touch to antiquity occurred, as well as a superficial acquaintance with modern Athens - after Barcelona, Amsterdam and other European cities, the modern capital of Greece looks quite unattractively and does not cause desire to be late here. Many Athenians make impression enough gloomy, rough people with a big raid of the Turkish culture what it is impossible to speak at all about them as any mention of Turkey can be apprehended very aggressively. And even the coffee which was so adored by them is called in Turkish by coffee on - Greek!
Greek cuisine very plain, but pleasant. The main shortcoming consists that at all restaurants (even on different islands) the same dishes, and most often only the simplest prepare: tzadzik - yogurt, cucumbers and garlic sauce, saganak - the fried layer of the Greek cheese feta, a taramosalata - juicy fish caviar salad, kalamar - fried circles or the cut carcasses of squids, a musaka - meat casserole with potatoes or eggplants, tomatoes and eggs.
Each seafood dish, except for squids, in the menu is marked with a small asterisk which is deciphered even more small in the bottom of the page, unostentatiously informing that in preparation of these dishes the frozen seafood is used. Naturally, at small restaurants where cook fresh-caught seafood, the prices are several orders higher. For us and remained obscure where the rich catch of the numerous fishing boats and boats which are so picturesquely looking against a sea azure goes.
A heat in the megalopolis where 30% of all population of the country live - the first that pushed us rather to leave Athens and to begin our travel on the Greek islands. Saronichesky islands and Cyclades - such is there was our plan. But we did not fail to seize the opportunity to look at Athens from a top of the mountain Likavitos located in the downtown and from height of 277 meters to admire a view of Parthenon and the sea distance merging with the sky. In the thoughts we already rushed to the legendary island which is hardly seen on the horizon Aegina...