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Sunday, June 27, 2010

GOING 'HOME': RETURNING TO ATHENS

 
                                                                      Villa Olympia
Each time I return to Athens it is like returning home. I have such a strong connection with that city, and with Greece, that I feel as though at least part of me belongs there. So it is with great anticipation that I am looking forward to my next visit in August.

As usual there are always new things to see and old things to revisit and especially the friends I have made who live there who I love to spend time with.

This year for the first couple of days I'm going to stay at the Villa Olympia pension which is run by a friend. Then I'll go and spend time with another friend before heading for the islands.

 
                                The New Acropolis Museum
One of the first things I intend to do when I arrive in Athens is to visit the new Acropolis Museum. Last year I was one day late in getting an inside tour of it. I did watch the opening ceremonies on TV, every night I sat at a taverna on the east side and watched the amazing hologram show projected on the wall, and I walked around the outside, over the plexiglass floors, looking down at the layers of Athen's history. What a thrill!

This year I'll go inside and have a look at the amazing collection of some 4,000 artifacts. They are still waiting for the return of the Elgin Marbles, but meanwhile there are many artifacts on display that haven't been seen (by me, at least) before.

Frankly, I was one of many who complained about the building itself, which tends to look like a train station or something industrial. But during the opening ceremonies, when I saw it from the aerial view, I realized that the structure is in fact, a reflection of the Acropolis itself in its shape. And the contents are a wonder with the statuary and other treasures displayed to their best advantage.

 
                                 The View from above Plaka


The next thing I'll do is walk up to this lookout point just below the flank of the Acropolis overlooking the red tiled rooftops of Plaka, the old city, where I used to live. This is one of my most favorite places to come for the view, to sit awhile and meditate, to listen to the thrumb of the city, the pulse that never stops beating.

Athens is alive! And in spite of her problems, she will survive!
And I am looking forward to a wonderful homecoming!

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