We’re on Top O’ the Acropolis Ma!

IMG_1157While in Athens, we learned that “Acropolis” is actually a Greek word meaning the highest point in a city. In other words, there were acropolises all over the place in Greece… it’s just that this particular one became famous and known as THE one.

The same thing happened with D-Day. It was the term used for the launch of any important military operation… but the D-Day on the 6th of June, 1944 became known as THE D-Day because it was so big and important.

Trivia alert: the “D” in D-Day actually means… wait for it… “day.”

So “D-Day” means “Day Day.” There’s some military genius for you.

And that’s not a random segue: D-Day became a part of this trip, even though our itinerary was only in Greece. Oooh! There’s a big cliffhanger! Stay tuned!

As you walk around Athens, the Acropolis is viewable almost anytime there aren’t buildings in the way. Most of the restaurants have a flat rooftop so they can tout their view of the Acropolis. This is the view from a nearby restaurant where we had dinner, the view having been sufficiently touted.

IMG_1065And this was our view from the rooftop breakfast buffet at our hotel. The netting was smartly placed there to keep the birds out of the buffet, except of course the ones we were eating.

IMG_1044And here she is, the mother of all acropolises.

IMG_1150Speaking of mothers, here’s Carolyn in front of the Erechtheion, which is a temple dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon. It was built between 421 and 406 BC.

IMG_0303These are the stairs leading up to the complex. It’s hard to keep the names of all the buildings straight, but I’ll do my best as we wander around the place.

IMG_0310I think this is the Erechtheion again. If not, it’s some old Greek building.

IMG_0314The Parthenon, the most famous of the Acropolis buildings, was dedicated to the goddess Athena, the patron of Athens and the goddess of war.

IMG_0319The Greek flag flies proudly over the area.

IMG_1152So of course we had to selfie-ize it.

IMG_0324This is the back side of the ruins. Which is kind of cool… like seeing the backside of a waterfall.

IMG_0300A view from atop. The theatre-looking-thingy to the right is the Theatre of Dionysus, which we’ll cover more of below.

IMG_0304There are plenty of hills and stairs you have to climb to get up there; if you walk from the base of the whole hill it’s a fair trudge. They didn’t have wheelchairs back then so you’re a bit SOL if you’re confined to one.

IMG_0308I’m pretty sure that’s the Erechtheion again on the left. That’s the world’s worst tour guide on the right.

IMG_0311But then they throw me an easy pitch to hit. The Parthenon! The Parthenon! Boy, it’s awesome being an expert.

IMG_0325Those who know me best are the least surprised to know there’s a sign there telling us not to touch anything.

IMG_0320The construction of the Parthenon began in 447 BC when the Athenian Empire was at the peak of its power. It is considered one of the world’s greatest cultural monuments… just behind Trump Tower.

IMG_0321I have no idea what the one on the left was used for since it appears to be all of one piece with no lid. Come to think of it, I have no idea about any of them… why are there rocks laid out that way? This is surely one of the eternal mysteries of the Acropolis.

IMG_0322They obviously had to have ladders built into it so they could wash the windows.

IMG_0326The origin of the Parthenon’s name refers to “unmarried women’s apartments.” In other words, this was where all the single chicks hung out.

IMG_0327And this may have been the wall they threw themselves off of when their love went unrequited.

IMG_0294We ended up with about 78 pictures of the Acropolis from afar. We’ll only show you a few more before you start thinking of it as the Acrapolis.

IMG_0339No, the man in the red shorts is not taking a dump. That’s not a toilet, sheesh! Get your mind out of the gutter. As for me, I’m urinating on the stairs. But in the gutter!

IMG_0337The Theatre of Dionysus is thought to be the world’s first theatre. Dionysus was the god of grape harvesting, wine, fertility, ritual madness (whatever that is), religious ecstasy, and theatre. Whatever else he was, Dionysus was certainly a party animal.

The theatre could seat as many as 17,000 people, and with its great acoustics, everyone could hear everything, including that one time Heinieornerus let out a big fat fart during the middle of delivering a line. He’ll never live that one down.

IMG_1178I think this is where Samson first tried pulling the pillars down, except that it was right after his first haircut, which left him with a mullet, and so of course even God said, “Oh hell no.”

IMG_1182I’m really hoping this is the result of wind erosion. I’d hate to think their sculptors were that bad.

IMG_1170Today’s Greeks are such wimps. Your forebears erected that whole thing before they even invented pencil and paper! Today you wienies need an entire frickin’ crane just to fix it up a little! Oh how far have you backslid? No wonder you needed to be bailed out by the EU!

IMG_1173Yeah, we have hundreds of photos of the Parthenon, but this is one of the gooder ones.

IMG_1176They say if you kiss your mate in front of the Parthenon, you will end up in a blog. OMG, they were right! Of course, whenever I see pictures like this of me I always wonder why I still put shampoo on my head every morning in the shower.

IMG_1155The one thing Athens has going for it is an interesting view from the Acropolis. It’s just a vast sea of houses, with very few buildings poking above the rest. It sprawls just about as far as the eye can see.

IMG_1110

IMG_1134In Rome we learned that the thinking towards restoration work has changed over the last century. Instead of replacing things to make it look new, they do everything they can to protect what’s there. It looked to us that they were working very hard to do just that, although many of the stones were obviously newer.

IMG_1136The Romans, contrary to what some believe, did not invent arches. Ray Kroc did. Ha! Actually, arches have been used since prehistoric times, but the Romans perfected their use and put them into larger structures. Prior to that they were mainly used in smaller doorways. So no McDonalds for the Greeks just yet!

IMG_1145I mean, how the heck did they get those blocks on top of the columns? What you don’t ever hear about is how many times someone knocked over one of them, sending them all tumbling like dominoes and forcing the construction to start over all over again. Probably because they were executed.

IMG_1148In addition to the Parthenon, the other various monuments which make up the Acropolis include the Temples of Athena and Nike, the Erechtheion and the Propylaea. This is one of those four.

IMG_1149In the distance is Lykavittos Hill, the highest hill in Athens. You can get to the top via Funicular. That word alone makes it sound like it would be a blast, but we didn’t get over there.

IMG_1151The crowds were pervasive, but it wasn’t too bad. We’re glad we didn’t come in the dead of summer… not only due to the larger crowds but there ain’t no shade and it can be hot  up there! In fact, Athens holds the record for the highest temperature ever recorded in Europe, at a blistering 48°C (118.4°F).

IMG_1132The world’s first spreadsheet.

IMG_1135I don’t believe I will ever cease to be amazed as to how they got those stones up there, perfectly straight and aligned, without the aid of any machinery.

IMG_1138And then they were able to put even larger stones on top… and here they are still standing almost 2,500 years later. Mind blown.

IMG_1139Just follow the sea of tourists to the Parthenon. I only follow the one in front.

IMG_1142This sign is in both Greek and English (one of the things that makes me grateful for having been born into an empire… with apologies to the Indians, Africans, Puerto Ricans, Hawaiians, Eskimos, Mexicans, and everyone else the US conquered or enslaved). It describes the restoration work, some of which is noted as being that of a “rescue nature,” which is why some of the columns have white areas. When it’s either that or to have the whole thing tumbling down, I’ll take the mismatched colors any day.

IMG_1137Carolyn’s obviously fearful that the columns may come tumbling down anyway.

IMG_1141So we had to get another selfie in before it all collapsed.

IMG_1143I think this is the Old Temple of Athena. It’s surprisingly hard to figure out what’s what even with the internet. They didn’t have a whole lot of signs about, or if they did, we neglected to take pictures of them. Oh, well, a Greek ruin by any other name…

IMG_1129The guy in red was the first one to see the aliens landing.

IMG_1124Until you get up there, you don’t realize how massive the stone is leading up to the Acropolis, and how they built so expertly atop it.

IMG_1116Here you can see better how it was just one big hunk-a hunk-a… um rock. Not burnin’ love. Thangyouberrymuch.

IMG_1107I had forgotten that we’re already famous, so I quickly donned sunglasses to fool the paparazzi.

IMG_0275A last photo… but wait! Is this why everyone is calling me a dickhead?

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