Monday, June 12, 2017

Acropolis Views

I wrote this while I was in Greece, but for some reason, never published it. That was in November 2015.

And then I saw it.

I saw it from the top of the Acropolis, the blue honey, my old friend the Mediterranean. I forgot for a second that my back was to the Parthenon. That sea keeps calling me. It calls me now as I write this, a siren, filling me with such longing to be there that tears well up in my eyes. November, my friend. See you soon.

I knew I would be visiting the sea in a few days, so my attention turned back to the Acropolis. (Some photos and a write up are here.)

There was so much to see. I thought I was going to do the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum in one day, but I spent four hours at the Acropolis and did a two hour lunch, not leaving enough time for the museum.

The place was full of broken rocks. Loved it. The history of the place is too long for here, but it includes earthquakes and plenty of wars. The Ottomans used the Parthenon to store weapons and it blew up in some accident. There are been many restoration projects but everything keeps on crumbling. Air pollution doesn't help, either.

The trick to getting the most out of these sites is to imagine what it was like in its prime. I was standing on top of 5,000 years of history. Look at the theater above. Imagine people sitting in the seats - the plebes in the grass while the rich get the seats up front (some things never change) and actors putting on the plays of Euripides.

In our age of cameras everywhere, we're recording every moment of our lives, leaving nothing to the imagination. I love the mystery of ruins. We've lost that. We've lost mystery and imagination, to our own detriment. Even Legos, toys of creativity, are now mostly branding of movies or television shows, filling children's heads with pre-conceived notions. Too many people would see these rocks as rocks, but they weren't rocks. They were buildings. They were part of people's lives. They were where people worshiped and laughed and talked about things that shaped our world today.

The contrast between modern Athens and the ancient state is severe. Greeks once ruled the world and now they are barely keeping together as a country. They've been battered and bruised and beaten time and time again in those 5,000 years, overrun by empires and dictators and all manners of war. But these ruins still stand, reminders of how we all got our start. This is why I love to visit these sites, to think about these things, to reflect, to wonder what it all means and to find answers to today's problems in history. They are there, lessons of the past, but you have to be willing to look for them.

Anyway, here are some more pics of rocks and temples and theaters and remnants of life.


giant aloe. it was taller than me.

Clearly reserved for a VIP

This guy was just crawling around the ruins.

I ended the experience with a Greek beer or two and several plates of Greek food, including a bowl full of olives that were heaven. I had a Greek salad. Any salad I would have ordered would have been a Greek salad. I enjoyed a leisurely lunch and watching the people go by and reflecting upon all the things I saw that day.

I was so happy.

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