Here’s the thing about ancient ruins. They’re almost always more, well, RUINED than you might think. There’ll be cranes and all sorts of reinforcement/construction work going on, which kind of mars your picture-taking opportunities. It will be far from a postcard-perfect scene.
As sights go, though, the Acropolis is totally worth the admission price (12 euros as of 2013). The views from the top alone are priceless – a magnificent vista of glittering roofs all around, an empire indeed.
We also hiked up the nearby Hill of the Muses, which is a great spot to stop and picnic and take in the panoramic surrounds, ringed by the misty coast in the distance, blocks of apartments pointing the way in razor-straight lines.
I was quite taken with this lonely collapsed column at the Temple of Olympian Zeus…
Nearby is the Arch of Hadrian, where I managed to slip in what must be the only mud puddle in the entire arid city in my effort to capture this photo
Plaka is full of little surprises, like this random church down a quiet street…
And some puzzling/disturbing graffiti.
People may tell you Athens is a hole. A dump that’s only worth a day at most. True, it’s dry and charmless for the most part. I can’t help but wonder what the weight of history places on the city’s inhabitants. It’s a lot to live up to, being the birthplace of modern democracy and all. The huge rock in the middle of Athens is a daily reminder of that. And look at it now. Can a city burdened with such a great legacy come back with a second act? Hopefully. But in the meantime, that marble mountain keeps people coming. Long may it continue.