Whew, we’ve been back in Chicago for about a week now, but there’s still two ports left to get up on the site. I’m going to beg your forgiveness though, and blame it on a medical issue (more on that in a future post). For now, we’ll travel back in time to July 27th, when we made port in Athens.

We were able to sleep in a bit before wading into the city, which was nice. But once we got on the tour bus it was go go go! There’s lots to see in Athens, so we spent the first portion of the day just sight seeing on the bus. We made a stop at the parliament building and the tomb of the unknown soldier, which is constantly guarded by two Greek soldiers dressed in traditional garb. In the Greeks’ case, this apparently includes very wide sleeves, and shoes with sizable poms on the front. The guard is changed every hour on the hour and every half hour they go trough stretching exercises. This area is apparently the same area where protests have been happening frequently, but none were going on while we were there (assuming you don’t count the many pigeons that were protesting for food).

We then headed to the Panathenaic Stadium, a track and field stadium built for the 1896 Olympics and refurbished for the 2004 Olympics. Lots of marble.

It was then time for the real history: the acropolis. After a short bus ride, we started our hike to the top, weaving through the massive crowd. We went later in the day than most groups, which is probably a good thing, because they actually blocked access on several occasions in the morning due to the sheer number of people at the top.

Once we made the summit, we found pillars galore. A temple to Zeus, a small temple to Athena, another temple to another unremembered Greek god. But obviously the creme de la creme at the acropolis is the Parthenon. Built nearly 2500 years ago, it stands out as the main building to see on the acropolis. Unfortunately, it was pretty well destroyed in the 17th century. A group of Venetians were trying to take control from the Ottoman Turks that held the city at the time, and a Venetian cannonball ignited an Ottoman ammunition dump inside the building. What’s left today is a shell of the former building, but still a sight to behold. The Parthenon is currently being restored to the condition it would have been found in the very early 20th century, and some of the most notable carvings and stonework are being replaced with replicas and moved to museums to avoid further damage from acid rain.

We took some free time to wander around the acropolis, enjoying the unparalleled views of Athens. Those views can be nerve wracking though. In a number of places there was nothing between you and a 300 foot plummet except a short stone wall. And when I say short I mean short. One of them reached only to my knees. My stomach gets a bit queasy just thinking about it again.

After thoroughly photographing the acropolis we headed back down to the Plaka, a main shopping area in Athens. We grabbed some delicious lunch, a traditional gyro (which is apparently pork, not lamb and/or beef) and something called moussaka, which was like a delicious Greek version of lasagna made with eggplant.

It was then back to the boat for the long trip to Venice, where we were due to unfortunately end our honeymoon. I guess all good things must truly come to an end after all.