Tuesday, May 22, 2012


The Acropolis Museum is very white. And expansive. Marble everywhere and, where the marble is missing, cast to reproduce what was stolen or broken. The Parthenon's friezes and pediments, the sculptures, were all painted bright colors: blue, red, purple, yellow. They are now all white. It is impressive and slightly challenging to walk into the museum because the ground (the floor?) is glass over ruins that have been left semi-excavated. Mom gets dizzy on the transparent floor and holds on to my arm. Worth a visit folks! Come. But I must quote the immortal words of Paul's mother after her visit to Athens: "too many steps and everything is broken." Love that!

The evening is another surprise today: first a magnificently quiet film from Argentina called "The Acacia Trees." Absolutely delightful, poignant, left me speechless. Maria and I went to the Palas Cinema in Pangrati to see it. The Palas was built in 1925 and nothing has changed since then. It's like walking into a time warp. And at intermission - because movies here have intermission - we go to the "cafe/smoking room/WC" and buy chocolate cookies. A glass plate with slices of cake seems to have been there since 1925. The owner - a man in his 80s - knows everything about films and brings independent and artsy films to this corner of Athens. Unfortunately there are only five people in the audience. More Athenians should patronize this theater. Our initial plan was to see the film in the Summer theatre: on the roof, outdoors. But that showing starts at 10:45 pm. These Athenians never sleep.

After the movie we head to Syllabi Cafe and Bookstore in a narrow street. We are the only customers at this pretty place, small, with books and excellent music. The owner - Philipos - plays tango music for me and then brings out his guitar to sing a song for someone that Maria and he know. What an enchanting melody! Maria calls the woman for whom the song was written and we all listen. The woman by the way lives in Crete. (An interesting love story between a married priest and a young woman.) (I think they had to go to Crete after that.) Philipos is a sweet man who knows his books and his music. I must return some morning to sip coffee and read. Maria reminds me that there are some kind people here too and some quaint places to visit.

She's right: I must get out of the house and explore. Explore. After all - what kind of travel writer am I if I don't explore?

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