Friday, December 28, 2007

20th October, 2007

A new day and we are again planning our day's steps. We are heading towards Banaki's Islamic Museum, although I am in pattern/design overload after yesterday. I couldn't sleep for thinking of all those beautiful t6hings I'd seen yesterday. I should not buy embroidery books - it just sets me off thinking about things I could make. Nevertheless, Islamic Art here we come. Nearby, close to Keremeikos, there is also the delightfully dubbed Museum of Traditional Plottery. One of our maps is not noted for its accuracy of spelling or location.

AKA the Museum of Traditional Pottery. However, nearbyer there is the Museum of Traditional Greek ceramics too. It is even closer, hence neraby-er. Overall the objectives for today include 1) M. Ceramics, 2) Plottery 3) Islamic Art, 4) Hellenic Cosmos, and 5) Ancient Eats. Along the way we need some AA batteries.

Step Count as at 6.00 pm - 15, 719, or 11.78 kms, 589 cals. The morning was ALL GO! We headed for the Benaki Islamic Museum with a few side visits into bead shops. I'm thinking of buying some brightly coloured felted 'beads' but I'll have to return to that shop I saw yesterday. We skirted the Keremeikos and found the Museum of Traditional Plottery, but were told by the man in the ticket office (!) beyond the open door (!) that it was closed on Saturday (!!!) Around the corner was the Benaki Islamic Museum, in a very run-down area. We went in and headed down to the WC (bottom floor) when we saw roons among the foundations. Part of Themistocles' wall. Being so close to the Keremeikos is it any wonder? There are roons under every building, no doubt at all. It must make any kind of development extremely difficult, as the Archeological Police descend when you dig your veggie patch!

The Museum was deserted but for us, and eventually two American women. We started at Floor 5 (cafe) and worked down, back in time. Wow! What a spectacular museum. The quality of the exhibits, the beauty, it was all just glorious. We were intrigued to see quite a lot of depictions of human figures (given the proscriptions of Islamic culture and the barbaric destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan). huge One huge bronze candlestick, however, had had its human representations effaced. The tiles were lovely, ceramics, glassware from sixth centry, mosaics, textiles, gold jewellery. This could be my favourite museum. When we reached the bottom we went back up for a coffee on the rooftop, level 5. Excellent coffee and some exceptional chocolate cake. Light and moist and warm. A good view over Keremeikos:

and some interesting graffiti on the building next door:

Thus fortified we set off down Piraeus Street in search of Helenic Cosmos. Past the Gasworks. Down a very busy road, we walked and walked. We walked some more, looking, looking for #254, We walked even more, and found ourselves at #134. A few drops of rain dampened our resolve. We got weak and gave up. We headed back in search of Ancient Eats, a restaurant. Walking, walking, We walked through back streets, and got an impression of what it must have been like in the 1920s. some lovey old houses, but now very dirty and run down. The streets are lined with orange trees in full fruit. You could smell the oranges on the ground. Much bougainevillea and geraniums.

We found the restaurant - closed - but we were not expecting to eat there, being still full of cake. We were close to the Metro (Metaxourghis?) and opted for it. On the train Michael was surrounded and squashed by some blokes who refused to budge despite his an my shoving. Wallets and purses were closely watched. No harm done, but it was odd. We changed at Omonia and got off at Monsastiraki. From there we went to the small museum of Traditional Folk Art Ceramics Pottery... whatever. There are so many museums! It is in a 1759 mosque with a dome. An odd collection of stuff, but there were lots of Greek women in there enthusiastically admiring the displays. There was stuff from a couple of artistsd - not particularly good, I thought, but the, we'd just seen some pretty spectacular stuff at the Benaki.

Then we divided. I went to the end of Adrianou in search of a drachma note for the Hortons, which I found for one euro. So cheap I bought two so the vendor did not have to make change. I then headed back to get an IHT. Once I had that I back tracked to the T-shirt place that had the EYE. Found it and got one. Then back to the hotel, getting some soda next door. This took time because of a throng of German-speaking children milling about the doorway. By the time I got back to the Adrian, Kate was already there, worried that I had been abducted. I'll let her explain that, and how it was she got back sooner than I did. I presented my acquisitions for her approval. Then I went downstairs to gdo email, as it started to rain. Usual stuff from work, but it took time. Couldn't find anything in English on the web for the Hellenic Cosmos, but there was a leaflet in the hotel. If we try again we'll take the metro. We ate figs and lollies while it rained on and on. It rained from about 3 pm until 6.30. When it seemed to stop we were hungry, so we geared up and went next door for eats. Good plan! I had pork Kassato (a wine sauce, the waiter said) and Kate had salmon.

The salmon was good, if salty. I also enjoyed the brussels sprouts, oyster mushrooms, carrots and lettuce leaf garnish and bread roll. Definitely hungry! After we had split up at Monastiraki I went in search of the bead shops, but was unsuccessful. I looked at a few scarves but nothing of the quality of the Benaki one I bought Julie, and I have so many scarves myself. I couldn't find the owl clip we had seen on the pistachio man's cart either (it was holding down a sheet of plastic in the rain..) Dispirited, I returned to the Hotel Adrian expecting to find Michael. Not there. Immediate thought was that those blokes on the train had tracked him down and abducted/murdered him, and I was going to have to find the Australian Embassy to help find his body etc etc. I need some Very Large Worry Beads to help deflect some of this! I heard his whistle outside the door and was VERY PLEASED to see him. I'm not a worry-wart, and I never exaggerate. We sat around all afternoon listening to the rain, tatting, puzzling, emailing etc. I have plans to go to the bead shops again, and to the haberdashery shops at Ermou 8 to look for tatting shuttles and thimbles.

On Saturday our missions include 1) Traditional Plottery 2) Bead Row 3) Sunday Flea Market, and...

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