Thursday, 27 October 2011

October 27, 2011

Woke up to a strong noisy wind this morning.  It was only gusting to around 50km/hr, but, with the trees being blown around so much, it seemed worse.  Hoevever, the high is supposed to be 18C. which isn't too bad.

It is "preparation day" and so we are not supposed to be working in the office much - just if it's urgent, so, we are did our washing, then Elder & Sis. Andros drove us to "downtown Athens."  Firstly, it seemed to be just a busy bustling city, cars going everywhere, and buildings rushing by.  The road we take goes all the way from Kiffisia to Athens and is called Kiffisia Ave. but changes it's name when you reach the downtown area.  Then we began to notice that there were foreign embassies every now and then along this road.  We reached Hadrian's Gate and I really became aware that I was looking at ancient history - very ancient history!  It is a huge arch which is not totally complete anymore, but what's left is well looked after as are it's surroundings. Next, we went to what the church calls "The Center."  The church acquired premises (three floors) in a building about opposite Hadrian's Gate.  It's a young single adult center and they hold sacrament meetings there also.  On another  floor is a games area with pool table etc. where they have a place to relax and get together (kind of like the Institute facility) and it's real name is the Acropoli Branch.  Then we walked around small streets, full of tiny shops, filled with souvenirs.  Suddenly,  we came to a wide open walkway lined with parks, trees and shrubbery on the one side and the Acropolis Museum and other buildings on the other side - then we saw through the trees, high up a very steep hill, the Acropolis with the Pathenon and other buildings.  Wow, it felt like you were in a dream, looking at some huge TV screen, taking in the view of Athens, but, no, you were really here, with a cool, stiff wind to remind you.  It was wonderful.

We turned from that view to the Museum that was placed in such a way, that being all glass in the front, it mirrored the Acropolis.  A masterful bit of engineering - amazing!   As you walked up to the museum entrance, you walked over glass panels which allowed you to see below, excavations of the ancient city of Athens.  Again,it took your breath away.  You could see the footprint of buildings and a village well and , just to keep it real, somehow a cat had made its way in there and was sunning himself on a ledge!  We didn't go into the museum today as we didn't have enough time to do it justice today, so we'll save that for a later date.  We continued walking down this promenade which was providing various views of the Acropolis as we went and then the Adroses guided us up a path that led to the ruins of the theatre, "The Odeon of Herodes Atticus."   Once again, it was hard to believe what we were looking at.  A lot of it was in ruins, but the seating seemed to be in good repair, but, being marble, I'll bet you needed some kind of cushion!   Then we continued on the path that led up and around to the entrance to the stairs to the Acropolis.  Again, we are leaving that for another day when we can do it justice.  A few hundred yards beyond that is Mars Hill, and we did go there.  It is not very high - you go up about the distance of two flights of stairs and you are then faced with the most breathe-taking view ever.  The only part of Athens that you cannot see is that hidden by the Acropolis immediately behind you.  Athens, close-up, is not generally very attractive, although there are exceptions, but seeing it laid out like that - gently hugging the curves of hills and mountains with a soft light hue over all, it's magnificent.  Then comes another feeling of total awe, as you contemplate that you are really walking where the apostle Paul walked and delivered his famous sermon to the Athenians.  There was an area where there were many rocks and you could really visualize the crowd sitting on these rocks which seemed to surround a central point where he may have stood to speak to them.  It is a very special place.

We headed back to the car, but had to see a couple of little alleyways which were full of these tiny tourist shops.  Elder Andros was looking for some owls that he wanted. After that, as it was getting late and we were hungry, we went to this little place and had chicken soup and toast.  It was homemade and VERY good - especially as we were all cold.  It was a really nice day.

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