Suitcase and World: The New Acropolis Museum.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The New Acropolis Museum.

Exiting the entrance of our apartment building.  We were on the 4th floor.  Sign is for the coffeeshop in the lobby.

I woke up cranky this morning. Cranky, cranky,cranky! Why? Because I didn't sleep well last night! Why? Because someone was playing music so loud that I felt like I was in the room with them! I was woken up around 1a by the thumping sound of techno music, rap, name it....everything but classical, opera, and country. I swear there was even some new wave music.

I tried to get back to sleep but no go. After quite a while, my frustration level through the roof and that alone was keeping me awake. I decided I needed to find out where the music was coming from and ask the people to turn it down a few notches. I got out of bed and checked on Bro who was sleeping in the next room. He was sound asleep. I then followed my ears to figure out where the music was coming from.  It seemed like it was coming from outside the dining room and so I opened up the window to check and sure enough it was.  There were no lights on in any other apartment but who knows, maybe they were listening to the stuff in the dark.  So, I went out in the hallway.  There was only one other apartment on our floor and it was quiet.  Below us was a fabric store of sorts and it was quiet.  Above us, there were two other apartments.  Dead silence from there as well.  So, I figured it must be coming from the adjacent building.   Sigh.   No chance of getting them to stop.  Luckily, I had brought along some earplugs so in they went but damn, that didn't even shut out the noise plus the bass was so forceful, I swear our walls were shaking!  Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration but trust me, it was bad. I can put up with a lot of discomfort but this took me over the edge.

To add to my misery, I started to get that scratchy throat feeling after dinner last night.  Sure sign of a cold.  I brought cold/flu medicine with me so I took a capsule last night.  The stuff makes me groggy and I sleep but with all the damn music, the medicine didn't really kick in.  My throat is fine this morning but I'm sniffling.  Truly not a happy camper but I will push through the day.

Monastiraki Square.  Quiet in the early morning.  By around 10am, this place will be packed!

I tossed and turned and tossed and turned.  Sometime around 5am, the music completely stopped.  I was exhausted and easily fell back to sleep.

Endless world of grafitti.....even on the walls inside the Monastiraki station!
Honestly, while I didn't really get a good night's rest as you would expect to be able to do when you're on vacation, I'm really not tired.  I think the excitement of getting to see more of Athens has got my adrenaline level up.

Today is our last day in Athens.  I don't want to think about that.  Despite whatever complaints (and they are minor) I might have had about this place, it's really grown on me.  I think that staying a local neighborhood has given us a better appreciation of the life and culture in this city.

Today's plan is to visit the places we haven't seen so far, starting with the New Acropolis Museum which is located at the foothills of the Acropolis, just around the corner from the Akropoli  metro station.  So,it was off to Monastiraki metro station for the train to Syntagma and then a transfer to Akropoli.

I feel like I know this town now.  Having the map has really helped....that and the fact that we just love to walk and explore the streets.  We made our way back to the museum with ease! :-)  It's a very modern looking building; just opened in 2009.

People were peering underneath the glass walkway.  There is an archeological site below.

Ruins of a residential neighborhood that once stood on this location.

Section of mosaic floor.

View of the front entrance taken from one the exhibition galleries.

It was a bit of a line to get in.  The bottleneck was a security check at the entry door.

Once in, Bro got us our tickets and then we had to check our backpacks in at the storage room as they were not allowed inside the exhibition halls.  For the most part, photography was not allowed except in certain areas.  I did sneak in a few photos though but nothing of an item up close.  Just some far away shots of a gallery or two :-)

The steps up imitate the Propylaea.

The layout of the museum follows that of the Acropolis itself so as you first walk in, there is an incline to the walkway simulating the walk up the hill.  On either side were displays of artifacts recovered from that area of the Acropolis.

A lot of the items were ancient household items.

On level 1, there was gallery space dedicated the Caryatids that hold up the roof of the Erechtheion.  These are the real deal; the ones on the Acropolis are largely if not wholly, reproductions.

The display was nice because you could walk up close to them and see the amazing detail of the carvings.  The marble looked as fluid as cloth - just stunning!

We could also see the backs of the statues.  Each one was different, from head to toe.

Look at the detail of the braided hair and ponytail!
Bro's Fodor's guidebook listed a few artifacts that were must-see's so we went in search of them.  The only one that stood out for me was a piece of relief work titled, Nike Adjusting Her Sandal.  I couldn't take a photo so I found this image on the web.

Recovered from the Temple of Athena Nike, circa 410 BC.

Trying to find the collections highlights took us through galleries filled with hundreds of statues and sections of relief work. 

On Level 3, the main gallery was filled with statues that were referred to as kore or korai or kouros.  Standing in the gallery, I Googled to find a reference that would explain the differences in simple English.

By definition, Kore (maiden) refers to statues depicting female figures, always of a young age, which were created during the Archaic period (600 – 480 BCE) either as votive or commemorative statues.

Korai statues are the female equivalent of Kouros. There are several distinct differences between the two, with the most significant one being the fact that Kouros statues were almost always portrayed in the nude, while Kore were always clothed.  For a more detailed description, visit the website.

The real highlights of the museum were housed on the top floor.  Over the space of the entire floor are displayed artifacts recovered from the pediments and friezes of the Parthenon.  The display area is laid out to the exact measurements of the Parthenon itself so it's as if you're walking around the real building.  The sad thing is that there was not a lot to see.  So much of what was originally there was either destroyed over the centuries or are now housed in other museums i.e.,  the Elgin marbles in the British museum.  But, what was nice was the drawings that indicated what the original piece would have looked like and how the recovered shard would have fit in. It really helped to imagine what the pediment and the meotopes that covered the frieze looked like back in their glory days.  In my imagination, it was a magnificent temple!

After making our way through all the exhibition galleries, we headed back down to the Level 3.  The restaurant there has a terrace with a wonderful view of the Acropolis and Parthenon.

Photo Op.  I've lost count of how many photos I've taken of the Parthenon :-)

We were done after this.  We had spent about an hour and a half here. Just about right for me as I'm not all that much of a museum lover.  I do have to admit that seeing the museum AFTER we had already been on the Acropolis was the right order because so much of what we saw made contextual sense to us.  I'm glad we made time to go to the museum.

Time for a break and a snack!  No better spot than a nice sidewalk cafe.

While Bro stood in line to retrieve our backpacks, I sat and watch a short film on the archeological work being done on the site that the museum sits atop.  Very interesting but extremely laborious and time consuming work.  I would never had the patience!

The street that the Akropoli metro station fronts is a pedestrian only street line with eateries of all sorts. It was lunch time and neither of us was all that hungry given how we had stuffed our faces at breakfast.  But......the pastries were calling us.  Come over.  I'm flaky.  I'm tasty.  You want me.  You know you want me.   Okay, okay, okay.  I caved in to the voices.

I picked out what I wanted and secured a table, with a view, while Bro waited for the server to heat up our pastry in the microwave.

The round shaped pastry was simply filled with spinach.  We thought it was enough for the two of us to share.  Soooo good!  Few bites and we were done.  Done too soon.  Not enough.  I want more.  So, Bro bought another pastry.  This one was filled with cheese.  Also, very tasty! After we downed our bites, we sat for a bit longer to just watch the world go by.  I love this cafe style of dining.  So relaxing!

We didn't walk all that far (50 feet?)  before our next stop - the gelato shop.  Ummm....yeah.  I was willing to walk by but Bro was working his best words to get me to succumb.  I have no willpower.  I had the pistachio and he the chestnut.

Thankfully, we walk a lot on our sightseeing days.  Otherwise, I would be even more chunky pleasantly plump than I already am.

The pistachio gelato was good but not as good as what I had had in Nafplio.  First off, it has to be the right color - a very dull green color.  Second, it has to have chopped up bits of nuts.  I see these two signs and I'm drawn in.  Third, it has to taste like pistachio and fourth, it has to be creamy.  So far, all the gelato other than that delicious one I had in Nafplio have failed criteria 3 and 4. As for Bro's chestnut, an intriguing flavor but I couldn't discern any taste of chestnut.  Perhaps my palate is not refined enough.

Snack time was over and we had a few more things to see before our day would be over.

On to more ruins!