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Athens Day 2

As an addon to yesterday's post, here is an interesting fact about toilets in Athens, actually, I am told this is true in all of Greece, I am telling you about this now because I am sure it was a question you were about to ask. All toilets have a wastebasket next to them. The one in our hotel room, all the stalls at museums, etc. Seems like the plumbing system in Greece is old, very old, and cannot carry what systems in other countries are capable of. So, nothing extra can be flushed. This includes used toilet paper. Hence the wastebasket. Makes me look forward all that more to boarding the cruise ship.

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Moving on to the other end of the digestive track, the breakfast buffet yesterday (and all days) at our hotel is typical. Eggs and rolls and breakfast meats, and some local specialties. When I was growing up, I was fond of a dessert called halvah. It came in vanilla, chocolate, and marble. Halvah is a sweet dessert, very sweet. There was something that looked like halvah in amongst the breakfast offerings, the marble kind, but likely a marble bread of some sort. I took a piece to see what it was, but certain it was just a type of bread. I was wrong. It was halvah. Very disgusting to offer that for breakfast. I finished it. 


Breakfast today is at Starbucks.  

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Now, what we really learned. Today started off by a walk up the the Parthenon. And, we were told that the Parthenon is located on the Acropolis. So, here is some information about the Acropolis, the same place I claimed to have known nothing about yesterday. Yesterday, that was a true statement.

Acropolis is the high hill that contains several structures, the Parthenon being one of those. Like many Greek words, this one is a combination of a prefix and suffix The prefix is "Acro", which means heights or high place, the same as in acrophobia, the fear of heights. The Acropolis is on high ground. "Polis" means city, so the Acropolis is the high city above Athens. And I thought it was just a building. Tisn't. It's the land on which other buildings reside.

Of the many buildings on the Acropolis. the first one we saw was an ancient theater. An amazing fact is they renovated the seats and still use the theater today. Another interesting fact is that both the Greeks and Romans built theaters, but those built by the Greeks were designed to present plays, while Roman theaters were designed for music. I am sure some acoustical factors differentiate between the two designs. This theater was one of those, either Greek or Roman. I was not listening closely when we were told that detail. The Romans did construct some buildings here around the year 500.

The main building on the Acropolis is the Parthenon, built as a temple to the goddess of Athens, Athena, the goddess of wisdom. There was actually a competition, many years ago, between Poseidon (the sea god) and Athena, a competition over who would be the main deity in Athens. Athena gave the city a gift of the first olive tree (now you know). Olives provided food and, of course, olive oil. Food provided comfort and peace, so was appreciated. Poseidon provided a fountain. Looked nice, but it only produced salt water. The Athenians already had enough of that. So, Athena won, what would be expected from the goddess of wisdon. Poseidon never stood a chance.


I know everyone is now wondering how Athena was born. Well, it's obvious if you just think about it. She sprang forth fully formed from the head of Zeus. The Greeks called that a virgin birth. Hard to disagree. But, that's why her temple is called the Parthenon. Translated, it means virgin birth.

Here's one more building at the base of the Acropolis, on low ground.

The building is the ancient agora of Athens. Maybe, by now, "ancient" is redundant. The agora was a popular market place, the most popular, and often crowded with shoppers. We were told the place was packed, so much so that many people felt uncomfortable being there. Another word out of (ancient) Greece is agoraphobia, meaning the fear of crowds. This is where it came from.

All for now, from the birthplace of democracy since the 5th century BC[E].

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