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Friday 27 September 2013

[Thursday 26 September 2013]

09:00–17:00 Piraeus (for Athens), Greece

Day 270 Friday 27 September Nehemiah 6-7

Cruise News









Explore Ashore




Janet was up at 6.15am and I shortly afterwards. The Lido Restaurant was like a fridge, so we had breakfast out on deck near the pool, where it was warm. Our trip to Athens was scheduled for 9am, so we needed to be where the coaches departed from by 8.45am. The Cruise News for today gave us cause for concern, though, because it said:
Port Shuttle Bus
…Complementary shuttle buses will be running from the ship to the port terminal. This service will run from approximately 8.15am throughout the day. Please note the first few shuttles may be busy and you may like to adjust your visit ashore accordingly.

Knowing neither how long the trip to the terminal would be, nor how long we’d have to wait in line if the shuttles were busy, we decided to leave the ship at 8am. As it turned out, we were the first and almost only people on that first shuttle bus.


Friday 27 September 2013 — 08:03:08
On the shuttle bus

Two of the tour managers, a man and a woman (named Paula), also boarded. One of them was carrying “table tennis bat”-like things for each tour guide to hold up as a visible rallying point. When the bus dropped us off we followed these two through the terminal. We found ourselves among crowds of people emerging from huge cruise ships, passing through to the parking lot just beyond the terminal to board coaches. So the tour managers advised us to wait there, just under a disused dockside crane (pictured below), while they returned to supervise and guide those who were leaving our ship. We boarded our coach ca.8.30am, and set off just before the scheduled 8.45am. Our coach (and “bat”) number was “6”.


Friday 27 September 2013 — 08:34:16
On the coach

First was a tour of Piraeus, with our guide Ioanna pointing out features, before we went on to Athens. First stop was the stadium that hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, reconstructed entirely of white marble from the remains of the ancient Greek stadium on that site. Across the road from there we could see the Acropolis.


Friday 27 September 2013 — 09:21:54
Panathenaic Stadium, Athens


Friday 27 September 2013 — 09:22:40
Acropolis, Athens


Friday 27 September 2013 — 09:24:08
Panathenaic Stadium, Athens

Janet wrote: “We re-boarded the coach and were shown a statue dedicated to Lord Byron. He sided with the Greeks against the Turks and actually died and was buried in Athens.”[i]

[i] I quote from Janet here because although I remember mention of Byron, perhaps more than once, I couldn’t remember the details. According to Wikipedia, although it was in Greece that he died, the location was Missolonghi. “Byron's body was embalmed, but the Greeks wanted some part of their hero to stay with them. According to some sources, his heart remained at Missolonghi. His other remains were sent to England for burial… He is buried at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Hucknall, Nottinghamshire.”


Statue of Lord Byron, Athens
(Wikipedia)

We drove past Syntagma (“Constitution”) Square, where we actually got a glimpse of two soldiers of the presidential guard, wearing pom-pom shoes, doing their “silly walks” slow goose-step. I missed photographing this, though I did snap a stationary guardsman out of the side window as we passed.


Postcard showing Evzones in full dress uniform changing the guard


Evzones in summer service uniform changing guards at the tomb of the unknown soldier (Wikipedia)


Friday 27 September 2013 — 09:38:30
Evzone at the tomb of the unknown soldier, Syntagma Square, Athens

We stopped in a parking lot, with olive trees much in evidence all around, not far from the Acropolis. Ioanna made very sure we all understood the way back to the meeting place, pointing out other ways that would lead us astray, etc. She was perhaps the best guide of the whole trip for organising and explaining things. The ascent up many steps was not too demanding, nor was it all that steep. The marble was a bit slippery in places, though. The sun was hot, and Janet found herself almost wilting once or twice before the trip was over.


Friday 27 September 2013 — 09:59:26
The Acropolis, Athens


Friday 27 September 2013 — 10:11:16
Ascending to the Acropolis, Athens. Centre: Temple of Athena Nike

Ioanna took us aside off the path at one point to show us the semicircular theatre below, still in use for concerts.


Friday 27 September 2013 — 10:13:40
Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Athens


Friday 27 September 2013 — 10:13:58
Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Athens


Friday 27 September 2013 — 10:14:44
Views from that location


Friday 27 September 2013 — 10:15:38
Views from that location


Friday 27 September 2013 — 10:18:10
View across to Piraeus

We assembled in front of the huge, pillared gateway to the Acropolis. Ioanna told us that the Parthenon was only one of several temples on the site, one of no less than three dedicated to Athena (to Athena Parthenos, “Athena the Virgin”); and from there she pointed out the one dedicated to Athena Nike (“Victory”). I couldn’t make out what she was indicating at the time.[ii] We would also see on the site the third temple, dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon. She led us onto the Acropolis, pointing out among other things the Areopagus to the north-west (which interested me because of the connection with Paul the Apostle), then round the Parthenon “counter-clockwise”, stopping more than once to tell us about its structure, design, damage by Turkish bombardment during the War of Greek Independence, and its restoration, and pointing out other things below that could be seen from there.

[ii] I have since then ascertained which structure it was, and have captioned it where it appears on photographs.


Friday 27 September 2013 — 10:21:04
Approaching the Propylaea (monumental gateway) of the Acropolis, Athens


Friday 27 September 2013 — 10:21:58
Assembling before the Propylaea (monumental gateway) of the Acropolis, Athens


Friday 27 September 2013 — 10:31:30
View from the Acropolis, Athens


Friday 27 September 2013 — 10:32:34
The Areopagus, Athens


Friday 27 September 2013 — 10:40:36
The Parthenon, Athens


Friday 27 September 2013 — 10:40:46
Part of the frieze of the Parthenon, Athens


Friday 27 September 2013 — 10:52:12
Temple of Olympian Zeus and Arch of Hadrian, Athens


Friday 27 September 2013 — 10:52:42
Theatre of Dionysus Eleuthereus, Athens


Friday 27 September 2013 — 10:53:30
The Parthenon, Athens — south side


Friday 27 September 2013 — 10:53:50
The Parthenon, Athens — south side


Friday 27 September 2013 — 10:54:04
New marble restorations to the Parthenon, Athens


Friday 27 September 2013 — 10:57:32
The Parthenon, Athens — east end


Friday 27 September 2013 — 11:04:18
The Parthenon, Athens — north side


Friday 27 September 2013 — 11:04:34
The Parthenon, Athens — restoration on the north side

We had some free time to explore. There was a raised area, rather crowded, but I managed to get some photos from it.


Friday 27 September 2013 — 11:21:12
View westwards from a vantage point farther east on the Acropolis, Athens — left: the Parthenon — right: the Erechtheion, dedicated to Athena and Poseidon


Friday 27 September 2013 — 11:21:54
Temple of Olympian Zeus and Arch of Hadrian, Athens


Friday 27 September 2013 — 11:22:10
Arch of Hadrian, Athens


Friday 27 September 2013 — 11:22:28
Temple of Olympian Zeus and Arch of Hadrian, Athens


Friday 27 September 2013 — 11:23:32
Mount Lycabettus, Athens


Friday 27 September 2013 — 11:24:40
View north-west, including the Temple of Hephaestus


Friday 27 September 2013 — 11:24:52
Zoomed-in view of the Temple of Hephaestus, Athens

Janet was finding it too hot to stay out in the sun, but I wanted to look round the third temple that Ioanna had mentioned.


Friday 27 September 2013 — 11:27:12
The Parthenon, Athens — east end and north side


Friday 27 September 2013 — 11:27:34
The Erechtheion, Athens — east end


Friday 27 September 2013 — 11:28:54
The Erechtheion, Athens — north side


Friday 27 September 2013 — 11:30:26
The Erechtheion, Athens — north-west corner


Friday 27 September 2013 — 11:31:58
The Erechtheion, Athens — west side


Friday 27 September 2013 — 11:32:48
The Erechtheion, Athens — west and south sides


Friday 27 September 2013 — 11:32:58
The Erechtheion, Athens — statue columns


Friday 27 September 2013 — 11:33:24
The Parthenon, Athens — north side


Friday 27 September 2013 — 11:34:52
The Propylaea — inner (east) side


Friday 27 September 2013 — 11:35:48
The Propylaea — inner (east) side

We were due to assemble at the meeting place at 12.15pm, so started to make our way down a little over ½-hour before then.


Friday 27 September 2013 — 11:38:04
Going out through the Propylaea


Friday 27 September 2013 — 11:39:44
ΕΞΟΔΟΣ — exactly the same as the name in Greek of the biblical book Exodus


Friday 27 September 2013 — 11:41:02
Descending from the Acropolis


Friday 27 September 2013 — 11:44:22
Looking back: The Propylaea (left) and the Temple of Athena Nike (right)


Friday 27 September 2013 — 11:45:08
The Areopagus, Athens, north-west of the Acropolis


Friday 27 September 2013 — 11:47:24
Looking back: The Propylaea and the Temple of Athena Nike

About halfway down there was a stall selling drinks — not diet ones suitable for Janet, but she did buy me a large plastic “glass” of fresh orange juice with ice in it, which I found refreshing. Back near our meeting-place there was another small shop with fridges and she was able to get a Diet Coke. There were also postcards on sale, so we got a couple to send to Mum and to Chris, and one with the “silly walks” guards pictured. [Not sure whether it was around there that I heard one cricket. We (or I) did hear one on one of thse hot days.] Janet was hot so didn’t join me as I went as quickly as my not entirely 100% functional feet would carry me down a road that I thought would lead me to a view of the Areopagus. I think perhaps the rise to the left of the road (to the right, obviously as I headed back) may have been part of it.


Friday 27 September 2013 — 12:07:10
In search of the Areopagus


Friday 27 September 2013 — 12:09:50
In search of the Areopagus

I had to step out on the way back, but I got to the meeting point in time. We were back aboard the ship by 1pm. We went to the cabin… I got my food from the buffet inside the Lido Restaurant, but we went outside near the pool to sit down. Janet just had a couple of Diet Cokes. Think I perhaps had a Heineken. There was music provided by a vocal duo called “2 Intense” till ca.2pm, after which we went back to the cabin. Copied today’s photos from the camera (14:20–14:22), but felt weary so didn’t start to edit them; I lay down and slept. When I woke up, Janet had done the same. Ca.4.45pm I went up on deck to take photos of the ship leaving. I also wanted to see whether there’d be a view of Athens.


Friday 27 September 2013 — 16:49:02
Views from Piraeus harbour


Friday 27 September 2013 — 16:49:44
Views from Piraeus harbour


Friday 27 September 2013 — 16:50:26
Views from Piraeus harbour


Friday 27 September 2013 — 16:51:16
Views from Piraeus harbour


Friday 27 September 2013 — 16:52:38
Views from Piraeus harbour


Friday 27 September 2013 — 16:53:46
Views from Piraeus harbour: copy of the Piraeus Lion


Friday 27 September 2013 — 16:57:20
Preparing for departure


Friday 27 September 2013 — 17:05:56
Tugboat Alexander 5


Friday 27 September 2013 — 17:06:16
Turning the ship


Friday 27 September 2013 — 17:14:32
Heading out


Friday 27 September 2013 — 17:16:16
Leaving Piraeus harbour


Friday 27 September 2013 — 17:16:46
Leaving Piraeus harbour


Friday 27 September 2013 — 17:20:30
Last views of Piraeus


Friday 27 September 2013 — 17:24:28
Last views of Piraeus

I saw what I took to be Athens. By now we were quite a way out to sea, so the photos I took were using maximum zoom. I wanted to see the Acropolis, but couldn’t make it out, so took two or three photos in slightly different directions. (The only one I kept, though, was the one below.)


Friday 27 September 2013 — 17:31:06
Athens


Friday 27 September 2013 — 17:31:06
Detail of 17:31:06

Janet had been out also, in Hemingway’s and looking in the shops, but had just returned to the cabin when I did. She wrote the postcards. That was my customary task, but my swollen hand made it difficult to do. We left the postcards for posting at reception as we went for dinner (ca.6pm). The Lido didn’t seem to be refrigerated this evening! I finished eating before Janet, and sat and waited for her, till it was clear she didn’t mind me going. Copied the later photos from today (19:19), and started to edit them using Photoshop (19:35–19:50). I looked at the last ones first, noticed what looked like the Parthenon atop the Acropolis in one of them, and deleted the other(s) taken at that time. It’s remarkable, because the Acropolis is some miles distant from the high, conical hill[iii] (cf. “11:23:32”), yet it appears to be part of it on the photo taken 17:31:06.[iv] We went to the Broadway Show Lounge at 8pm, to ensure that we got front seats for the show starting at 8.30pm: “Man In The Mirror: the best of Michael Jackson in this thrilling show!” The show team were very talented singers and dancers. Afterwards we had a drink at Hemingway’s, where Benjamin Moss the guitarist/vocalist started to perform. He was actually performing tonight (cf. 25 Sep.), and we quite enjoyed it, though we left part-way through (ca.10pm). When I went to the loo and flushed it, the water wouldn’t stop flowing. Janet rushed off and found someone, and a plumber came. The water didn’t actually overflow the top of the lavatory pan. Janet had a shower and went to bed. Finished editing today’s photos (22:05–23:41).

[iii] Mount Lycabettus
[iv] It’s remarkable, because the Acropolis is some miles distant from the high, conical hill [Mount Lycabettus]… yet it appears to be part of it on the photo: It reminded me of something Philip Wooffindin had said during one of his weekly Bible Studies in December 1981 about end-time Bible prophecy (I quote from my notes [with glosses], not his original words):
[There are] three principles to remember:
  • The scripture is neglectful of the date element.
  • Events separated by long periods become telescoped in prophetic vision, [as if they were] distant mountains, but appearing to be just behind near mountains.
  • [The] coming of Christ has separate stages, not a single event.
    Finally: Let us look at our Lord’s principal references. [Here we find the] telescoping of two or three distinct time-periods.…

[Saturday 28 September 2013]



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