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Sunday, February 23, 2014

A day in Athens

Because the ferry schedule didn’t work out to take us to the island of Andros, we decided to spend the day in Athens. We took the bus there, and, not sure where to get off, we rode to the end of the line. This fortuitously put us just north of the National Archaeological Museum. Looking for a café to stop at for a morning snack, we happened to walk by the museum and took the opportunity to go in. Even though I hadn’t done my homework to really know what I was looking at, I thoroughly enjoyed my walk through room after room of statues and artifacts, from Neolithic Cyclades to Roman era and Egyptian artifacts.
Mask of Agamemnon, Grave Circle A, Mycenae, 1550-1500 BC

Poseidon, 125 BC

Greek funerary statues, Delos, 300BC

National Archaeological Museum

The Parthenon

We walked another mile or so south through Athens from the museum to the Acropolis and Parthenon (that most famous building atop the Acropolis). The Acropolis is awesome. I don’t think it is possible to take a bad picture because everything from the buildings to the view is spectacular. As a place for which I had high expectations and had long wanted to see, the Acropolis did not disappoint. We also saw glimpses of the Agora (marketplace or gathering place) and Roman Agora on our walk up the hill to the Acropolis. Another day, perhaps, we can more fully explore the Agora.
Odeon of Herodes Atticus, the Acropolis

L1 and J walking up the Acropolis to the Parthenon 
Accomplished: mostly figured out the bus and metro; saw the National Archaeological Museum, the Acropolis, and Parthenon.

The reality of sightseeing with small kids is that you see a lot less of the inside of museums, and a lot more of parks and places to eat.  We arrived at the Archaeological Museum right around L2’s nap time when he was more in the mood to alternately screech or cry than to docilely be carried through rooms of fragile artifacts. We made it through one room before J took the kids outside and left me in peace to wander the galleries. I had about 45 minutes to myself to make a quick walk through. A person could spend days there, but those 45 minutes were precious to me.  Luckily, it was a beautiful day outside, there was a large, treed, open plaza in front of the museum, and the kids were much happier chasing pigeons than they would have been trailing behind us in the museum. Before we left the area, I changed L2’s diaper and nursed him on a bench outside the museum.  Traveling with kids, you get used to doing what you need to in public places.

L2 outside the museum
The family on a crowded street in central Athens

Our walk through Athens involved carrying the kids, often on our shoulders. L1 refused to walk most of the way – something we will have to work on since we can’t carry both of them all the time.  L2 eventually fell asleep in J’s arms while we walked; we found a shady wall by a church and he finished his nap there among the throngs of people out in central Athens on a Saturday. We trekked up the hill to the Acropolis and the kids made it to the top with a promise of a snack. Later that night, L1 said his favorite part of the day was eating fruit snacks at the Parthenon. It was late afternoon by that time, but the kids made it through a ride on the metro to the suburban railway to the bus and most of the walk home before L1 had a meltdown. That was actually a pretty good day for traveling with the kids.

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