on September 26, 2007
If ever there was a tourist trap that was hardest to get to, I think the Acropolis may win hands down. For the faintest travelers, you can take a cab to the base (but Acropolis taxis are more expensive than the regular ones), but even so, you’ve got quite a climb awaiting you. From either of the two closest Metro stops, expect a long walk and often not as cut-and-dry as the map would make it seem. Once you arrive, buy your ticket for 12 euros (which has tickets to the Forum, Theater of Dionysus, etc., so you don’t have to buy more tickets for those. However, from all I’d read, it made it seem like your ticket was good for a week at these attractions and the Acropolis. That’s not the case. If you want to go back to the Acropolis, that’ll be another 12 euros, thank you very much.)Then you’ll begin your somewhat treacherous trek to the top. The marble stairs and floors are well-worn and slippery, so watch your step. (Clearly Greece isn’t as lawsuit happy as the US.)Don’t expect any scaffolding-free photos, either. Buildings on top of the Acropolis are always being refurbished, and in one case (Temple of Nike) taken down completely. I was so upset that the Parthenon was covered in scaffolding. Give me at least one side without all that crap, please? But interestingly enough, it doesn’t take away from the magnificence and still makes you awe-struck. This building has survived morons throughout history (the Turks once stored gunpowder here, and then lightning struck – literally) and still stands gloriously atop the hill. It’s such an architectural masterpiece, that I, a student of architecture, had to visit twice. The columns are optical illusions – they actually lean (if they continued upwards they’d eventually touch) to give an appearance of straightness. And they bulge in the middle to make them look straight as well. Genius!The first time we went to the top it was 4pm in the afternoon. The sun was at an odd angle, and it was still smoldering, but it wasn’t overly crowded. I’d avoid it in the middle of the day if I were you. The second time we went to the top it was 10am and packed full of cruise shippers. My suggestion is to try to beat them all there very early in the morning.The only scaffold-free building on the Acropolis was the Erechtheion with its lovely Caryatid porch (the columns are in the shape of beautiful women.) I was fascinated by these columns, which are not originals (they would be in the museum, with one original in the British Museum.)If you have one day in Athens, this should be your top stop.
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