Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Athens post #2 - The Temple of Olympian Zeus

On the first full day that we were in Athens - Friday - we had planned to go to the Acropolis first thing in the morning and then go to the Temple of Olympian Zeus and Hadrian's Arch. When we checked in with the concierge at the hotel that morning, he told us that the entire government was going to be shut down due to a massive strike of all government employees. The country of Greece is bankrupt and in exchange for bailing them out, the European Union demanded that Greece reduce the number of federal employees - needless to say - the employees were mad. That meant that the Acropolis was scheduled to be closed as were all of the other national monuments. We were really upset and thought that our whole gameplan was going to be thrown off. The traffic in the city had come to a standstill and the shuttle that runs from the hotel to the center of the city wasn't running. There was no way to take a taxi because walking would be faster and the Metro was closed due to the strike. The only option was to walk with the kids to the city center. Athens is stroller-lethal so we set off with Aoife in the backpack and the other two walking. Emmy got carried a bunch and Aidan got a few shoulder rides but they walked on their own a lot - especially Aidan. They did great but were exhausted by the time we got back to the hotel. They all went to sleep at 5:00 and slept through until 8 the next morning!

Anyway - as we were walking away from the protests we realized that the gate to the Temple of Olympian Zeus was open. We were so happy that we were going to be able to see something that day and realized that perhaps the communication between the strikers and the rest of the federal government wasn't that great! Here are some of the pictures that I took. It was amazing - the columns are HUGE and although only 16 exist today there were over 150 originally. The temple was 130 by 350 feet and had a roof! Imagine that!
The black that you can see on the underside of the marble is from pollution and acid rain - they somehow clean them but are evidently saving money by not cleaning the bottoms!

The view of the Acropolis from the Temple of Olympian Zeus:
This column fell down at some point and they said - hey - let's just leave it there! It is neat that you can really see how the columns are constructed.
The Acropolis with Hadrian's Arch in the foreground:
Emmy being a Greek statue:
2 adorable statues - they moved quite a bit:
Hadrian's Arch:
So we obviously did get to visit the Acropolis after this. We decided to give it a try and they were open. It was very empty so I think most other people thought the same thing that we had! I'm sorry to post in bursts like this but I took 217 pictures on day 1 alone so plowing through them is taking a bit of time. I will publish the best ones in the next few days so keep checking back!


Sue said...

More fabulous pictures! You all have good adventures....even if you walk your legs off! Is the Hadrian of the Arch the same Hadrian of the Hadrian Wall in England?
:-) Mom

Matthew, Eve, Noah, and Noelle Middleton said...

Wow you guys are really getting to see some amazing things out there!!! But I think your little statues are the cutest :)