We did have, however, our own bathroom and a separate small kitchen in which we only used the kettle for tea. A cold breakfast was included in the $50 per night rate which we thought very reasonable, especially considering its good location near all the major city sights. What I liked especially about the hostel was that it had a 'living room' where I spent a lot of time writing posts in the early morning or late evening hours. Unlike any other hostels we've stayed in, those staying in the dorm rooms on the upper floors never used the main floor living or common room as they had their own communal areas.
Another very rainy day dawned so, instead of seeing the Acropolis first as planned, we decided to change gears and head inside to the warmth of the Acropolis Museum which was also at the top of our list of sights to see in Athens. Luckily we didn’t have a long walk in the rain. Thank goodness I studied Latin for five years eons ago as I remembered Acropolis meant 'high city' because of its location on a rocky outcrop high above the city of Athens. The Acropolis contains the remains of several ancient buildings, the most famous of which is the Parthenon. Look for more, way more on that, in the next post!
The museum, which occupied a large plot of the city's most prized real estate just below the Acropolis, opened to worldwide acclaim in 2009. It drew 90,000 visitors in its first month and more than 6.5 million in the first five years. Because of the rain, I didn't dawdle and take any exterior shots before we entered. I was back to using my original camera as the newer one was still messed up from the rain yesterday in Corfu.
The museum is a museum within one as, when they were excavating to build this, they discovered many centuries of ruins underneath the building site. Thank goodness I wasn’t wearing a skirt as the glass floors on the ground floor had great views down to, and up from, the excavations! The ground floor exhibit, The Acropolis Slopes, featured objects found in the sanctuaries and settlements around the Acropolis.
Athena, the goddess of the city:
Two Nikai or warriors, leading a bull to sacrifice:
One of the most impressive charateristics about the museum was that most of the items on display weren't encased in glass. We could get right up close and walk around them and thus see the art, the chisel marks and the beauty without anything between us and the statues, etc.
In the Parthenon, a huge sculpture of Athena was constructed made out of marble, gold and ivory and measuring about 40 feet high! In this statue of her, she was armed with a helmet, spear and a shield and she held a small Nike in one hand.
Reconstruction of what the west pediment (the decorated area just below the roof) of the Parthenon looked like according to a drawing done in 1896.
How absolutely amazing it would have been to see this rather than small model.
It was fascinating to read that museum politics were unavoidable. The Parthenon Gallery was designed to hold the Parthenon Marbles in their entirety. That included the sculptures Lord Elgin brought to London over two centries ago. Currently 50 meters of the frieze are in Athens, 80 meters in London's British Museum and another 30 meters scattered in museums around the world.
The floor to ceiling windows had breathtaking views of the Acropolis, the surrounding historic hills and the modern city of Athens very close by.
The Lion-head waterspout on the northeast corner of the Parthenon:
Poseidon’s chest: Only tiny fragments were original as the rest were in the British Museum in London.
I just loved this magnificent plaster reconstruction of the combination of leaves and a phoenix fan pediment which crowned the ridge of the Parthenon.
Reconstruction of the eastern pediment of the Parthenon:
Imagine being able to have seen this, oh my God!
In the great, bright eyes of the owl, the ancients saw the eyes of the goddess Athena herself. Native to the rock of the Acropolis, with its natural caves and fissures, the owl became the sacred bird of the goddess.