Friday, April 11, 2014


Wow, I've walked almost a layer of skin off my left foot....I'm not sure how my right foot escaped this damage because it's taken the same number of steps, maybe a couple less, but it's fine.  I've been to a number of ruins and museums in my few days in Athens, and as I look at my photos, it's hard to remember where I took them.

This is a street musician playing some unusual stringed piano-shaped instrument near the Acropolis Museum.

This one is outside the presidential palace.  It appears as if the public services cutbacks hit the government security department, because there were only these two fellows at the gate.

This is the ruins of yet another temple, but I can't remember which one.

These are some ruins in the ancient agora area, in contrast with the modern Greek Metro train.

One of the museums I visited was nearby, and I saw some very interesting statuary and stone carvings which were recovered from the agora area.

The detail of these centuries-old pieces is pretty amazing.  This was a pretty unusual piece for obvious reasons.

Photographs weren't allowed in some of the museums I visited, and I can only say that I've seen a plethora of statuary, artifacts, skeletons, friezes, columns, coins and jewelry.

There were a surprising number of tourists on most streets, but this one was almost deserted.

I moved to a hotel in the port area because I had to get up very early to catch a ferry to Syros, the first of four Cyclades islands I will visit in the next week.  The port area is pretty seedy, and there wasn't much to see there.  A trip to the post office to mail my tax forms gave me a great measure of the extent of the government cutbacks here.  There were 8 windows for general services, and only two were manned.  I waited 40 minutes to buy stamps.  For the first time in years there is a budget surplus, but the cost to the common citizen has been huge tax increases, huge jumps in utility costs, and significant decreases in public services.  Protests are still occuring but less frequently.  Yesterday a car bomb with 70 kilos of explosives was set off in front of a bank.  No one was hurt because a warning was called in, so that part was a relief.  

Yesterday Greece made a successful return to the financial markets, raising $3 billion euro in its first bond sale in four years.  It appears as if Greece is regaining the trust of investors.  The Greeks I've talked to see this as a very positive sign.  In spite of the tough times they've endured, I find the Greeks to be a friendly, hospitable people.  I think the islands have had it better because of heavy tourist trade, so I'm looking forward to my island hopping week ahead.

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