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Postcard from Athens – The Underworld of Europe

November 13, 2011

Dear Mum

Went to Athens today.

Not much to report, really. Nearly froze to death on an open-topped bus from Piraeus to the Acropolis. Traffic awful. The Piraeus Road lined by sex shops. The Parthenon is still there. You can’t get a decent photo because of the cranes, but at least you’re above the pollution. Nearly decapitated by low-hanging oranges on our way to the Archaeology Museum. The Schliemann treasures from Troy and Mycenae are fantastic. Unfortunately we couldn’t see everything because they kicked us out at 2.45. It was Friday, you see. So we went for a coffee nearby and people-watched for the next hour. Nobody seemed particularly down-in-the-mouth despite the financial crisis. Checked out Syntagma Square – all quiet despite the Papandreou vote of confidence due at midnight. Took the Metro back to Piraeus. Packed but efficient.

This was the cradle of democracy, the city of Pericles, Euripides, Plato and Socrates. The civilisation I spent all those years learning about in that expensive school you and Dad paid for. Did I miss much?

Maybe I’m toured-out by now after seven days on a cruise ship. If you haven’t seen it already, get the DVD of Joanna Lumley’s Greek Odyssey. She does Greece far better than I can. I suppose it helps having a production company pay for you to meet a Venetian Count in Corfu, Melina Mercouri in Epidaurus, oily wrestlers, shipping magnates and old ladies picking asparagus for supper in the Peloponnese. She’s a bit gushing, but always a pleasure to hear her honeyed voice.

There’s much more to Greece than sad old Athens, thank God.

Much love


From → History, Travel

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