19.10.2008 - 19.10.2008
We came. We saw. We got wet.
The weather report for today was rain in the morning but clear skies by afternoon. We had the perfect plan to navigate the weather – museum in the am and Acropolis in the pm.
We headed out to the National Archeological Museum, and on the way found breakfast. I had a feta cheese pie or something like that, basically a little bit of ricotta-like cheese inside filo dough with a bottle of water, and both were amazing.
The museum turned out to be free since it was Sunday, which was a very nice surprise, and we spent a while looking around in there. I was excited because photos were allowed, as long as there were no flashes anyway. We spent a while in the first gallery which was filled with items that had been found in graves, and then after that we saw lots and lots of statues. They were all made out of either marble or bronze, and the rooms just kept going! It was huge! There were both full-length statues and merely heads on pedestals. It was funny because they were all labeled in some combination of young/youth/mature/old and man/woman. On the heads all the noses were missing. Maybe it was the ancient version of Photoshop.
Once we realized there was no way we were going to see everything, we hunted for a specific statue mentioned in Frommer’s Greece, our not-so-useful, as we found out, guidebook. Anyway, the statue is either Zeus or Poseidon, but the lighting bolt or trident is missing, so it’s unknown which god it really is. I say Zeus, because who throws a trident? We all know what happened when King Trident gave his up to Ursula – not a good story. Margaret says Poseidon though because she doesn’t think the hand is open wide enough to hold a lightning bolt. But I guess we’ll never know for sure …
After the museum we went back to our hostel for a siesta, but when I realized that the Acropolis was only open until 7 and it was already after 3, we decided to get going because we knew we’d want to spend a lot of time there. It IS the biggest attraction in Athens after all! We were expecting it to be free since that’s what Frommer promised on Sundays, but we learned he was wrong and had to pay 12 euros to get in. The ticket also comes with entrance into the other ancient sights in Athens, so if you go to all of them it’s a great deal. But - since we were leaving the next morning we only had time for the big one – the Acropolis – and it was a little steep. After coming all the way to Greece, however, we couldn’t very well be cheap and not go in, so we sucked it up and paid the money.
Now, the Acropolis is on top of a hill, so you have to climb a bit to reach the cool part. On the way up I felt the first rain drop. I was not pleased. It wasn’t anything to get worried about, but I didn’t want to put my camera away at the Acropolis of all places! We made it up to the Parthenon before having to pull out Margaret’s umbrella, but it was all downhill from there. Literally and figuratively. At first I thought it was hysterical how hard it was raining – I literally couldn’t stop laughing. I hadn’t brought an umbrella because I was hoping that by not having one I could convince the weather to not rain while I was in Greece. Fortunately, Margaret wasn’t that stupid. I put my camera away to protect it from the evil wetness, and while we were standing there I told Margaret that maybe since it was raining, everyone else would leave and I’d be able to get some pictures without tourists in it. Yeah. Shouldn’t have said that. The rain started coming down in reservoirs, not just buckets. We were completely drenched within the first few minutes of huddling under the small umbrella meant for one person, not two people and some rather large purses. The cameras of course had to stay in the middle for the greatest protection, which means I got somewhat shoved out. It didn’t really matter though since I was already wet through. I think it was just so funny to me because I couldn’t believe how much water there was – pouring down on top of us and streaming towards the tourists huddled under a temple by the entrance.
We followed them to the temple in hopes of finding some shelter, but not only was it so packed that there just wasn’t any room for us, there wasn’t a roof there anyway! People were getting just as wet in there as they would have been out in the open, perhaps even more so (as I was) because of standing underneath the edges of other umbrellas that were pouring water onto them. Some people crossed over the path’s railings and tried to find shelter closer to the temple walls. That was when I noticed the signs that said “please do not touch the marble.” Since I didn’t have anything better to do, and I was by that time greatly annoyed at being thwarted in my attempts to take massive amounts of photos, I darted my hand out in rebellion and quickly tapped the marble. I know!! Shocking, right? Then Margaret decided she had to touch it too. I guess we’re just another example of girls gone wild. Tourists eventually left in little groups when the rain didn’t stop. Our philosophy was that since it was raining so hard it must be a flash flood and would be over soon. That’s the way it works in Seattle!
Yeah. Well forty-five minutes later we were finally right. By that time pretty much everyone else had gone, so I did indeed get my pictures with no tourists in them. That was exciting at least. Margaret jumped in puddles, but then got yelled at by a random guard when she squealed. I laughed.
I think the trick was to pray for the rain to stop. We prayed to pretty much everyone in our reservoir of religious knowledge, beginning with Mary – Hail Mary, full of grace, help us find a drier space. That particular one didn’t work so we tried variations including but not limited to H.M., f.o.g., make it stop ‘cause we don’t have a camera case. We realized we were probably praying to the wrong person so then we tried Zeus, Athena, Poseidon, and gods or spirits of rain/photography/cameras, and finally, with no ideas left – Mister cop, make it stop! Funnily enough, that one worked!