Through Local Eyes

Today, Jolie and I hit the acropolis museum to augment yesterday’s adventure. This is supposed to be one of the best museums in the world, and definitely has beautiful new world class building. We were excited for this, and to have Marios join us. He met us at the front door of the museum at 10:30, looking fly in his non-work clothes.

Marios was our personal guide through Greek history and artifacts for the next several hours. He had come prepared with notes from his last trip to an archeological museum, and knew the chronological path through the artifacts. Jolie and I, on our own, probably would have been bouncing around all over the place. With our local guide, the visit was much more informative.

As an artist, I really wish that the materials the objects are made of would have been listed. I’m just curious about the types of paint on the pottery. Glaze? Oil? Egg tempera? Tell me! We eventually found a side exhibit about where the pigments came from, with examples of the stones before and after they had been ground into a dry powder, which would then be mixed with a medium to become paint. Although not quite the information that I had been looking for, it satisfied my artistic curiosity. 

The museum was actually much smaller than any of us expected. We felt like we must have missed something. The entire third floor, though, was given over to non-exhibits. It was part cafe, part reading lounge. The top floor seemed to be mainly a view of the real acropolis from the wonderful floor-to-ceiling windows. Perhaps it was good that the museum was concise. With too much information, it’s easy to get fatigued and uninterested. It was a very nice collection.

We stopped in the cafe to try for breakfast, but they stopped serving at noon. The three of us had coffee to hold us over, then walked towards the Plaka. Marios was going to show us some of his favorite local flavors. The cafe he brought us to is actually one in an alley we had walked by yesterday and thought was incredibly cute. 

Alley might be the wrong word. It was a broad staircase that shot out from a side street. It was entirely lined with cafes and the stairs were covered in tables, or pillows for people to sit straight on them. It looked pretty popular yesterday, but we weren’t ready to eat when we noticed it then. Jolie and I were both pretty excited when we realized we were returning to it, with the endorsement of our local friend.

Lunch was fantastic. We split a four different authentic Greek plates. Our Greek salad, of course, but also a lentil salad that was scrumptious. I loved the potato soufflé, evidently not as tired of potatoes as I had believed myself to be, but the cheese pie was a big hit with Jolie and Marios. 

From here we meandered towards some ruins that Jolie and I had missed yesterday. Unfortunately, most of these (including the particular temple we were hoping to see) close at 3:00 which we arrived just after. We had seen plenty of Ancient Greece so we weren’t too sad, but it was still necessary to drown our sorrow in something sweet.
Marios again had the inside scoop. He took us to a neighborhood we hadn’t see yet that felt a bit more authentic, a little dingier and less touristy. Our destination was a local sweet shop. We spent a good amount of time in front of the display case, listening to him translate an old woman’s explanation of all of the pastries. They all looked fantastic, and were very traditional.

Although Jolie and I couldn’t understand a word the lady was saying, it was evident how much she cared for her craft. Jolie had Marios ask her which she was most proud of, and those are the ones we ordered. This was not a mistake. They were great. I think the liking was mutual; before we left, she told Marcos that Jolie and I were both very sweet. We also had a little round of Greek aperitifs.

We walked together back towards Syntagma Square before we went our separate ways. Marios works tomorrow, so we are hoping to see him for lunch for one last Greek salad. 

The whole day was more exhausting than it sounds. I think we are still recovering from conquering the acropolis, or maybe my month on the road is just now catching up with me. Jolie and I rested through the afternoon. We went back out around dusk for one last stroll through Plaka.

I fell in love with a skirt that was crushingly outside of my budget. I realized too late that I’ve bought hardly anything to take home for myself from this entire time abroad, and now I’m simply out of money. I didn’t handle the disappointment very gracefully. I have to admit that it was not pretty. I had a short rant over dinner, but I hope Jolie will forgive me for it. 

It felt like an early night, but there really is no such thing in Greece. Dinner is such a late affair that all of these “early” nights really aren’t early at all. We’ve just been having the best time though, and that’s all that’s important. I think Jolie and I are both going to have trouble tearing ourselves away tomorrow.


One thought on “Through Local Eyes

  1. You’re so lucky to have such a good friend and to have reigned in Marios. Having a local to show you around makes a big difference.

    What’s next?

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