Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Finishing, "A Walk In Athens"

  We took a break from our walk for the excitement of the Church Contest, so now let's finish our Walk In Athens.  
  Heading up Athinas Street to Platiea Omonia (Omonia is the gathering of the working men and women, the blue collar population of Athens, and now, also the gathering of the many eastern foreigners and refugees who have come to Athens for hopes of a better life.), we come upon this statue of the Greek hero and statesman, Perikles,  arguably the most important and well known figure in Athens ancient history.  Read on and learn a bit about Perikles;

(Stewart, Michael. "People, Places & Things: Perikles (1)", Greek Mythology: From the Iliad to the Fall of the Last Tyrant. http://messagenetcommresearch.com/myths/ppt/Perikles_1.html)

Even though the city of Athens was a democracy, the so called Age of Perikles was in fact a period in which one man ruled the government with king-like powers; although he wielded his authority with the consent of the Athenian citizens, he was both admired and criticized for his almost tyrannical domination of the armies and proprietary use of the wealth of the ever expanding Athenian empire; he was a man of great personal charisma and had a reputation for being honest and above corruption or favoritism.

Perikles was determined to spend the wealth of Athens on the Athenian citizens and its colonies; able-bodied men were assigned to paid positions in the army and navy, whereas other citizens were employed in all manner of public works projects which were brilliantly coordinated and resulted in the construction of some of the most enduring and artistically profound structures ever to grace the Greek landscape; all manner of skills, crafts and arts were required for the construction of such masterpieces as: the Parthenon, the Odeum, the Propylaea and the protective Long Wall (which went from Athens to the nearby port of Piraeus); these civic projects employed vast numbers of workers and gave opportunities to otherwise underemployed Athenians.

   Where have all the leaders like Perikles gone?  We certainly could use someone like him in these trying times.
  How could a walk in any major city of the world be complete without it's very own "Starbucks"?

  Next we come upon the most important "Periptero" (Kiosk) in Athens.  It is the most important because for as long as anyone can remember, this is where the working men gather to see the daily newspapers, hanging on wires all around the Periptero, and to "debate" (code word for scream, curse, and gesticulate with one another over politics and the economy)

  From the Platia Omonia, (square, which it isn't!  It is more like an English roundabout with 6 main roads coming together), we bear to the right and take the first main road, Stadiou, up toward Platia Syntagma.  (Syntagma is the Greek work for Constituion, so this is Constitution Square, and Parliament sits at the top of this Platia)  On the way, I see what is the Greek equivalent of the Boy-Girl Scouts, on an outing to the old Parliament building which is now a library.

  It is getting late now, and if we want to catch the 3pm boat back to Salamina, we had better leave Athens now.  So, on back down to Monastaraki and the train.

Monostaraki (LIttle Monostary)
The Electrico (Train)

  A 20 minute train ride brings us back to Piraeus and then a short 6 block walk brings us to the port and our Karavaki. (Little Boat)

  After 40 minutes, our boat brings arrives at the pretty little port of Kamantero, where I have left Haroula, and there she is, waiting for me.  

  I hope that everyone enjoyed the Walk In Athens trip.  The next trip will be on to Syntagma Square and nearby environs with my Granddaughter Debbie, on Friday.  See you then!

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