Friday, November 09, 2007

11th October, 2007 (Greece continues..)

Awoken at 4.10 by the ringing of Kate's phone. Worrying. WEnt back to nods and it is now 7.10 am. Cool outside with chirping birds. Brisk Brew is on the job and Kate is in the half-shower. More museums today.

The phone didn't worry me much. The blood bank calling to ask for more? Amex offering me a platinum card? I didn't recognise the number.

Only 11.8 kms yesterday, 590 cals, 15,742 steps. There will be more (!). We are ready.

Last night we ate figs from a small fruit shop (wonderful) and a nectarine (floury, not nice) and some cold spinach pie. We read for a bit and I tatted, and just before nine we were conked out. All that walking around does get one ready for bed. Today we do Museums in the morning, and then I meet Robert Molho from Elidoc - a Vital user. I am looking forward to it. I may return to purchase another less expensive trinket I spotted near the new Acropolis Museum. Will take the metro around, I think.

Later that evening. Step count for me is 19,790 or 14.84 kms. Probably more for Michael as we separated for the afternoon.

After our breakfast we took the metro from Monastiraki to Evangelismos. Emerged to find our way down past the War Museum to the Byzantine & Christian Museum. That is a lovely moderm museum with very informative displays. Lots of icons, many double-sided. Some textiles and books. I saw some hooks and eyes for clothing of absolutely the same design as today's. This was the site where a new wing was to be built but they dug a foot down and the Archaeological Police decreed that this was Aristotle's Lyceum. We asked about it but alas it was closed and workmen were busy there. It being Thursday.... (private joke - whenever we are THERE whatever we are THERE to see is closed - it being Thursday, or July, or 10.00 am, or a Saint's Day, or 2005, or whatever.)

We also saw an exhibition of Gothic architecture in the Mediterranean which was very nicely done. In the interstices of those vaulted ceilings are usually lots of ceramic pots - they make it light but add strength. There are always lots of young women hanging around in these museums, with their mobile phones at hand and their handbags slung over their chairs. What are they doing? They are not in any uniform, seem not to offer much, or any, assistance. The shop was absolutely minimal. A few scholarly tomes in Greek.

Contrast that with our next stop, the Cycladic Museum. It was much more impressive. Only half the museum was open but that included those enigmatic cycladic figures.

One of the more unusual figures is seated, holding aloft a cup. There are lots of t-shirts showing that figure, with funny quips about drinking through the ages.

How intriguing they are. It is impossible not to see Modigliani's faces looking back at you.

Some of those figures are really large. The 'frying pan' thingies are very interesting too.

We went to the Byzantine Museum because it is currently supposed to be the location of Aristotle's Lyceum, at least according to one of our guide books. Wikipedia has it at the new Museum of Contemporary Art, based on a 1996 find. However that new wing is a construction site, which fits with one blog I found. I took a few snaps. Then Kate set off and I returned to the War Museum - free admission. Very very little ancient. Mostly the endless war with the Turks. I had hoped to see the foll Spartan body armor - about 60 pounds including shield and weapon. The armor would be for a man 5' 2" tall. But no. The I set off for the Numismatic Museum in Schliemann's mansion. And a mansion it certainly is. I was reminded that the one Euro coin has a national symbol on the back; those minted in/for Greece have Athena's owl. I put one aside. There were some very informative displays, e.g., one showing the gradual debasing of the Byzantine Empire - the coins got lighter (more alloys), smaller, and finally concave from use - some light and fragile. I guess they got bent. Others about the flow of commerce, aided or hindered by money. It was nearly all coins, not paper money. Then I crossed the street and trawled throught the Attica department store, looked at homewares for kitchen utensils. I also looked at men's wear for a Greek necktie. All Italian or Englishe that I saw. Then I walked past the Congress with the guards in national dress, caps, skirts, (with the 40 pleats celebrating something to do with the eternal war with the Turks), pom pom shoes.

Past the National Gardens, then slowly back to the hotel. Made it at 3 pm. SMSed KVB.
She got back at 5 pm. After a bit we did a promenade around the Acropolis, climbing the Acropolis, climbing the slippery rock Areopagus, scouting the Jewellery Museum. Somewhere along the way Katester acquired more stuff. Yes we went to the Cycladic Museum first. Those strange figures. I think the first time I saw one was in "The Magus." I had to have an aide-memoir so I got a head that will serve as a paperweight. Kate also got some stuff there, which I bravely carried back to the hotel.

It was paper - a few cards and notebooks so not hugely heavy, but I appreciated the carrying.

I had an interesting afternoon at Elidoc, comparing notes about VTLS. Must write that up separately - lots of notes. They are indeed isolated and are doing some interesting and creative stuff, especially their work with the National Theater of Northern Greece, managing all the objects in a performance. Here is the crew:

On our perambulation around the Acropolis we bought a couple of baguettes and boxes of fruit juice for our dinner, which we have just eaten. As M says, it is great to have dinner in your underwear after a shower, with no getting up to go anywhere! We both had showers. One of my purchases today was a Dr. Scholl's foot scraper and some heel cream which I deployed. All those steps take their toll. I'm wearing a Waikiki sarong and my new Athenian necklace which M persuaded me to buy.

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