Saturday, May 16, 2009

Rhamnous and Marathon, etc. (APRIL 10-15, 2009)

Hello again! This post covers 6 days because not much of interest occurred for most of those days. I didn't do much on the weekend since I was exhasted from the week before. On Monday morning we went to the National Archaeological Museum, only to find it didn't open until 1: 15 pm. So instead we did our planned to visit for Tuesday to the Pnyx which I had already been to before as you should already know. We did go a little further up the Hill of the Muses to the Monument of Philopappus, which provided a pleasant view of the land between Athens and Piraeus, with remnants of the long walls still somewhat visible. On Tuesday, we actually made into the museum, which I had already been to as well, but we did walk through half of the sculpture collection which we had skimmed over minimally before; the other half was preserved for Alain in two weeks. On Wednesday, we boarded a bus early in the morning for Rhamnous, the northernmost ancient deme (political subdivision) in Attica. We saw the temple of Nemesis which was almost 6 inches away from another smaller temple and covered with modern inscriptions in the vein of "Stavros was here" (some of which were in script). After passing through a locked (but not very sturdy) fence, we walked down (and up and down) a ravine/road lined with tombs and dedication bases until we saw our final destination: a fortified ruined city on a promontory flanked by two stunningly blue bays. We proceeded into the city, which had impressive stone walls and other remnants such as herms, broken pottery (which we had fun identifying) and just absolutely gorgeous views of the sea and the surrounding countryside. There was no question why those who settled here did so, as it was both secure and beautiful. After a quick look at the unpublished materials excavated from the site, we went on to Marathon, site of the great Athenian victory over the Persians in 490 BC. We had lunch overlooking the Plain of Marathon and then entered the museum, which was impressive (but unfortunately didn't allow photography) and had within it the Trophy, a monumental single Ionic column set up by the Athenians where the Persians turned to run. We left the museum to see the early tombs on the site, and were lucky enough to be there when the archaeologists were on site, so we could be allowed into the Tomb of the Plataeans, where the Plataeans who died in the battle were allegedly buried. After admiring their bones, we went off to the Tomb of the Athenians, which looks like a gigantic mound of earth. We then got back on the bus for the ride back. When I returned, I was excited, because I would see Katt again the next morning, since she was getting in on the EARLY ferry from Crete. Well, faithful readers, until next time... (pictures later)

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