Monday, September 3, 2012

Piraeus: The Best Marine Port in the Med - Bar None

2012 08 29
Piraeus, Greece

Acropolis Now!!  Or Not.
We Found  It Kind of  Overdone 

Meredith is tied up at the town dock in Galaxidi on the north shore of the Corinth Sea.  This charming little tourist town is also the closest harbour to the site of the Delphic Oracle.  The town has built a brand new dock with water and electric at which we stay for no charge.  It is difficult to hurry away and we are planning a few days stopover.

Piraeus, which we left only days ago, is the most boat savvy city in the entire Mediterranean.  It impressed us so much we stayed one night longer than planned just to surround ourselves in it  a little longer.  

In Piraeus, we stayed at the Zea Marina and recommend it highly, you can get anything you need or want for your boat.  I counted seven chandlers within a ten minute walk of Zea Marina, and there are qualified technicians to service and repair anything on board that may be broken.  The city is a delightful blend of port, apartments and commercial streets which really appealed to Connie and me, not something I have said about too many cities in Europe.  Piraeus is distinguished largely by its conventionality.  It has no pretensions, it just gets on with its business.  As a result it is a nice place to live.  We would gladly return here for a month at a future date.

The Crowds.  The Crowds.
Warned by Daughter Erin and friend Christian we got to the
Acropolis early.  As we left, at 0915 this was the scene.
Notice the Paddle with Number 14.  Nightmare.
To Athens, conjoined to Piraeus, we would not give another thought.  Largely hated by the rest of the country all we can say is that Athens deserves it.  Nice cafes though, even at the foot of the Acropolis, which is definitely not worth a visit.  Crowds swarming up the hillside like spawning salmon, oblivious to anything or anyone around them, driven solely by the irresistable urge to get higher, higher, higher.  Old women and young children elbowed aside without a thought.

The spawning pisceans were mainly accompanied by mulitlingual tour guides who herded their charges into passage blocking plugs of humanity while they spewed an unstoppable stream of unwanted and incorrect information in any of a dozen different languages, each calling louder than the others to be heard over the incessant roar: it was a polyglot junkyard of misinformation.  Or was the tour guide correct that Athens won the Peloponnesian Wars and that that victory heralded a new age of prosperity for all of Greece under Athens careful guidance?  What a dickhead.  No wonder Greece hates Athens.   
The Best Part of a Day at the Acropolis
Lunch at a Cafe 

For the rest Athens displays only institutionalized ruins: displays in museums carefully bureaucratized presentations that have sucked the life and joy out of the history of the whole thing.  Museums bore me.

If you want Hellenic ruins you must go to Libya, the eastern third, where you get the Moroccan/Tunisian/Libyan historical experience.  Unfortunately our visa applications would have taken too long and cost too much ($60 each).  Consulate staff in Tunis indicated that lone tourists, not part of a tour group, were unlikely to be approved.  

Oh yes and there was that small matter of our country bombing the crap out of Libya only six months ago so our Prime Minister's good friends at Suncor (the oil sands company) could protect their oil leases from Libyan ruler Quaddafi.  

Maybe next year when the stench of cordite from Canadian bombs has subsided Libya will be more open to an application from Canadian.  

So far we do not recommend Greece for archeology unless you want a schoolroom experience.

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