Ok, I'm back and ready to tackle the first half of the pictures from Athens. The cruise port is actually Piraeus, but it's more nuance than anything else since there's no empty space between Piraeus and Athens so it just looks like one big city. So here's what the port looks like:
We got off the ship pretty early in the morning, hopped on a bus to Athens, and then a subway, and then started hoofing it for the Acropolis.
Lee found this to take pictures of on the way.
And there it is! They're in the middle of a huge restoration project, hence the crane. And also it's Europe, there are cranes everywhere (especially Italy).
Mosaic floor we apparently saw somewhere on the way up to the top of the Acropolis.
I think that's near the Propylaea, the entrance to the Acropolis. I could be wrong.
Theater of Dionysus, which is on the side of the Acropolis hill.
I don't know what this is called, it's off to the southeast of the Acropolis a good bit away and it's driving me bonkers that I can't figure out what it is and I wanted to go there but we didn't have time. I keep wanting to say Areopagus but I looked at the picture and that's definitely not it. I think when we were there Lee had a brochure about the Acropolis and it said this had something to do with nymphs, but now I can't find that brochure anywhere.
And this is what the Acropolis looks like on any given day in the summertime: hordes of people.
Looking up from the Propylaea.
Proof that we were there!
Pretty sure this is a corner of the Erechtheion, a temple dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon. Both gods wanted to be the patron of Athens, so they had a contest: each gave a gift to the city and the citizens voted. Athena gave them the olive tree, while Poseidon struck his trident to the rock and gave them a saltwater spring. The citizens voted for Athena since the olive tree was much more useful than saltwater, and that's how Athens got its name.
Cool perspective shot by Lee. You can see the much lighter colored stone in the upper left corner--part of the current Acropolis restoration project is to replace damaged/missing bits of marble with new marble quarried from the same site as the ancient stone. On the one hand, it's really awesome to see these ancient buildings looking closer to the way they did in antiquity, but on the other hand, they are adding new material, especially on the Parthenon. However, Wikipedia says that the restoration efforts (much of which has to be done to correct previous restoration efforts) are designed to be completely reversible if they want to take the new stone out at some point.
There's a wider shot of the Erechtheion, along with my favorite bit:
The porch of the Caryatids. I love those, they're gorgeous! They're also fakes. The REAL Caryatids are in the Acropolis Museum, so these are exact replicas. I can't complain though--the originals are protected in a museum and getting cleaned up all pretty, while the replicas are exposed to the elements and you wouldn't know they were fakes just looking at them.
Yes, the sky really was that blue.
More shots of the Caryatids because I love them. I want some Caryatids in my house. Of course, my house isn't large or grand enough to need columns anywhere, but these would look awesome in my house...and possibly freak out the doglets. Teehee!
I just realized that the way I divided up the pictures in half, I haven't gotten to *any* Parthenon pictures yet. Guess you'll just have to wait till next time to see those!