The Birthplace of Western Civilisation

Athens (Greece), 10.11.2013

Many sites of great cultural significance have shaped the route of this journey, and most of them in Asia. To retain the spirit of Eurasian travel, there are some places that cannot be skipped to make the tour complete. And Athens is a major one of these. Inhabited for over 3.400 years, this city is the birthplace of many foundations of western civilisation, and walking through town I could see history everywhere around me. After breakfast I walked towards the Acropolis, through the Psiri district. There were a lot of people on the streets, enjoying the great weather and the marathon that was celebrated today.

DSC_0002 DSC_0004Passing the the Hadrian library and the Roman agora I kept walking uphill through small streets, where many wonderfully renovated neoclassical town houses stood side by side with ruins of the same period. The air smelled of figs, cypresses and pines gave shadow to the streets. On a small square a taverna had tables outside, people sat in groups chatting. I took a break to enjoy a frappé and the relaxing atmosphere, overlooking the ruins on the foot of the hill. It was warm enough to sit outside in a T-shirt – Mediterranean feeling! Continuing the walk up the hill I saw that the Acropolis was as packed as last time I saw it, in August. A steady flow of tourist winded through the fortification and its sights. From a nearby hill the view over Athens was breathtaking. Visiting the Acropolis museum I spent some time admiring the statues and marble plates that decorated temples and houses. After the many other historic places I had seen in the recent months I noticed how I discovered more details in the same exhibits I had seen here some years ago. I remembered Persepolis, but also Angkor Wat, and the contrast of geometrical Muslim ornament that doesn’t depict people, plants or gods, or the Japanese graphic decorations of the palaces and temples in Kyoto. Every culture had a different form to express its desire to embellish its buildings.

DSC_0006 DSC_0007 DSC_0008DSC_0011DSC_0015Walking out of the museum over a glass floor, under which the ruins of ancient Athens are being excavated, I went into the Plaka district, to a small square covered by trees, and wooden tables of a restaurant where I enjoyed a long lunch, reading and looking at the families eating together on a sunny weekend, kids playing between the tables. Later I met a friend with his family, that had come downtown for the marathon, and we spent some time in a cafe. Exhausted from the day I took a nap in the hotel. In the evening two friends picked me up and we went for dinner in a cozy restaurant downtown. It was great to meet friends back in Europe, share some food and drinks for dinner. Also, I had to explain many things about this journey that I hadn’t put into words so far, and this always requires reflection, synthesis and order among the many thoughts and impressions that I have been gathering over these months.

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Author: electroboris

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