If you like the title of this post, be sure and look up John Milton when you arrive safely on “the other side” and shake his hand. He has been over there for more than 300 years signing autographs so he should be almost caught up by now. The phrase comes from Paradise Regained (1671), Book IV, line 240. My little gray cells have taken off early for the Christmas holidays and the best I was coming up with for a title for this post was Athens Is Really Neat . . . not exactly Miltonian in its rhetorical splendor.
Following Sicily (see previous post) our next port of call was Athens. In just a moment I will tell you (sadly with none of the lyrical brilliance of John Milton) just how fascinating it was. But first, let’s take a stroll around the Navigator of the Seas and focus on what I am calling in this series of posts:
A FAVORITE FEATURE
These good folks, whoever they may be, are sitting outside the Two Poets Pub. (I am not that great a judge of age but I am pretty sure the lad on the left needs to be carded!) Here is a nice little YouTube video taken by a guest who was obviously having a good time back in May at this pub. It is a great place to sample a pint (or two) from all over the world. They have a very clever and informative menu with categories such as: Good For What Ales You, I Just Like The Taste, Brawny Browns and Second Cousins.
There is a section shown here with a lot of very funny quotes. If you can’t read the small print, call me and I can book you on the next sailing of the Navigator out of Galveston for a mere pittance and you can read the entire menu while plying the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. I love the etymology of words and sayings and from this menu I learned this little gem. “In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts. So in old England, when customers got unruly, the bartender used to yell at them to mind their own pints and quarts and settle down. This is where we got “Mind your P’s and Q’s.”
A PORT TO PONDER
Quite obviously, in the time remaining, I am not going to be able to do justice to one of the marvels of the ancient world. But here are a couple of highlights. We were extremely blessed to have such a knowledgeable and erudite guide for our day in Athens. I would be only too happy to share her name with you had I not managed to lose her business card somewhere between Athens and Ephesus. Dear lady, if you recognize yourself, send me your contact information and I will update this blog post! What I especially appreciated is that she spoke slowly and methodically which permitted even my plodding mind to keep up!
We spent most of the morning on the Acropolis. This picture, taken as we descended from the Parthenon itself, gives you a sense of how all the edifices built upon this famous hill dominated, and still dominate, the entire landscape.
As you can tell from this picture below, the Parthenon is in the midst of substantial renovations. The ravages of time and modern pollution have taken a heavy toll. The Parthenon was dedicated to Athena, the patron goddess of Athens. At one time there was a magnificent golden statue of her standing in the midst of the Parthenon.
Following our tour, we ( a couple of busloads of my closest friends and I) stopped off for a delicious lunch of traditional Greek food at one of the many restaurants nestled between shops in the Plaka district. This happens to be one of my favorite cuisines for those of you who are assembling a scrap-book of all my preferences and peccadilloes.
Following lunch and a brief time to browse the shops, we made our way to the breathtaking new Acropolis Museum. I could have spent hours in there.
All in all I would have to say, it was a great day . . . and a Greek day, as I think about it! I was worn out from all the trekking about but also very inspired. So, as I was taking a long shower back in my cabin getting ready for dinner, I decided to do a little carving with the bath soap and my toe nail clippers. Not too shabby, huh?