|Our next port was the ancient, wet city of Athens. Yep, it rained all day...from the time we got off the Eclipse till the time the ship left, it rained. In fact, there had been talk onboard that this was a cyclone that had developed in the Mediterranean and I guess there was some merit to the rumor as schools in Athens were closed on Friday because of the impending disaster. In the end, the official explanation was that it was a low pressure system with a lot of rain...just our luck.
Our travel agent had made arrangements for us to get a free – though nothing when you travel is free – bus tour of the city. We did some research on the tour and it sounded OK...it covered a lot of ground, including time on your own to do what we were told was a “must do”...a visit to the Acropolis and the Parthenon, but alas, it didn’t turn out that way, though the day wasn’t a total loss. Dave and Kathy had already done this tour and Lisa and Ken had already been to Athens so they all opted to skip the tour and take a cab to see some sights...including the Acropolis...but talking about it only makes me madder; but anyway...
We drove past quite a few spots of interest – most I don’t recall the details – but we did stop for a short time to take a few damp pics of the stadium that was the birthplace of the “modern” Olympics in 1896, so that was pretty neat. The highlight of the day as far as I was concerned was our stop at the Acropolis Museum https://whyathens.com/the-acropolis-museum/. Acropolis is defined as a citadel or fortified part of an ancient Greek city, typically built on a hill, so the Parthenon is the actual building on the Acropolis...who knew? And while we both would have rather gone to the top of the Acropolis https://www.athensguide.com/acropolis.html and seen the Parthenon and the view – even in the rain – it was still an awesome opportunity see the massive collection of artifacts from the site.
Another amazing thing about Athens, and other Greek and Italian cities, is how many buildings and artifacts they uncover when doing construction projects. These sites http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1994-05-31-9405310197-story.html and https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB116984964804789430 show just how much of the vast Greek and Roman empires have been only recently uncovered and makes you wonder how much is still buried, only to be found the next time they dig a hole...and how much has been destroyed during previous projects. Another amazing thing, in a bad way, is how much graffiti covers Athens. It seems like 50% of the vertical surfaces below 6’ high are covered in graffiti and it is apparently an accepted and tolerated scourge...good job Athens...not.
After we got back to the ship an announcement was made that turned out to be a very smart decision on the part of the Captain. Due to the forecast, he decided to swap the next 2 ports to get what was hopefully going to be better weather. We would now go to Rhodes, then Santorini and while we had some rain in Rhodes and the day started gray in Santorini, it ended up being beautiful there which of the 2 ports, was the most scenic. Considering the amount of logistics involved in the swap – changing all the excursions, fueling of the ship, getting dock space, etc. I’m sure it was not a simple process but I know all of the passengers appreciated that decision.