Athens - 37° 58' 04" N 23° 43' 38" E

...and once again, I wish I had taken more history in school. History upon history upon history everywhere. Each time a shovel is sunk into the earth in the old city, ruins are revealed. Sewer systems, house foundations, mosaic floors, wells and walls. The foundation engineers of Athens are a pretty resourceful lot managing to redesign (at short notice I am sure), the substructure of a building to minimize impact on the ruins.

But mostly they are just that, ruins.  Even the famed Parthenon, perched magnificently atop the Acropolis, is on a shimmer of its former self.  A few millennia and vandals such as the Christians, the Ottomans and Lord Elgin have pared down this extraordinary structure to a few columns and the odd frieze. And despite this, it remains impressive. The precision with which these huge lumps of rock, way up in the air, were put together with the limited technology at the time is remarkable, even when you have slaves to do the heavy lifting.

We explored the Acropolis Museum today - what an amazing building. They are preparing the ruins they discovered when digging the foundations (anyone surprised?) for public access. The main floor has sections of persplex through which you can peer down into the ruins. The top floor is amazing. All glass, looking out over Athens on all sides and lined up with The Parthenon. And it houses the original marble from the frieze, the metopes and the pediments - or what is left and reproductions of those that can be verified. So you can walk around viewing all this up close whilst, in the distance, the you can see the real thing! And at night, the Parthenon reflects on the windows. Very cool design.


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