2017 Europe Day 12
Wednesday, September 20, 2017, Athens

The MSC Poesia is scheduled to dock at the Port of Piraeus, Greece, a 30-minute drive south of Athens today.

At 7:00 AM, the huge port appears larger and glow brighter as the rising sun is casting its first rays on the city. It’s a brilliant morning.

We take our time to have a late and relaxing breakfast then get off the ship at around 10:00 AM. There are two big terminals in this port: Terminal A and B with Terminal A being closer to the metro station and that is where our ship docks. Finding our way out of the terminal is not difficult at all because signs are posted everywhere.

We were going to take the metro but since the Hop-On-Hop-Off buses are right next to the terminal, we decide to ride the HOHO bus because it’s convenient. Some of us have never been to Athens before and riding the bus would be a great opportunity for them to see the City. Our bargain with HOHO results in us getting tickets for half price or only $10 per person for the day

The bus winds around the streets of Piraeus then Athens passing by buildings of all sizes, pretty parks, groves of citrus trees, while dodging cars and motorcycles. After a few stops, the bus pulls up to the Acropolis Museum Stop and that’s where we get off.

On way to Athens Acropolis
Hills of Athens
All smiles before we start climbing that hill
Herodes Atticus Theater
Good to have some shade
We walk down Makrigiani Street under the shaded trees and along charming sidewalk cafes. We pass by the entrance to the museum and the metro station, then uphill to the south entrance of the huge Acropolis. We pay for our tickets then begin to wander slowly up the hill to see the various remnants of Greece’s Golden Age. Even as the tourist season has passed, the Acropolis is still filled with people competing for the best angles to take pictures.

Buildings represent civilization and humanity’s determination to thrive. The Acropolis consists of government buildings, churches, theaters, arenas, and wide and narrow streets. How did they build all of this in the 5th century? How did they bring all the materials onto this highest part of Athens? How did they make precise cuts on slabs of marble and create identical tapered columns with grooves? As an engineer, I am so marveled by the design and the construction techniques that created the Acropolis. There are major renovations everywhere I look and I am glad they’re doing this because the Acropolis is too magnificent and significant to be let alone and decay.

Oanh resting and enjoying the view
A huge number of steps at the entrance
After about three hours of seeing the Acropolis, we begin walking down the same way we came up and since the ship will leave in two hours, too early for us to go back to the ship but perhaps too late to wait for another HOHO bus to take us to see other sites in Athens. We decide to go back to the ship.

The rest of the day, we do different things on the ship: Eating lunch, shopping, laying out on the sun deck, having drinks, taking care of work-related stuff. Then we get together at the Le Fontaine Restaurant for the Mediterranean night, watch a singing and dancing show called ‘Rhythm of Icons’ at the Carlo Felice Theater, and take merengue dancing lesson in the Zebra Bar on Deck 6.

Entrance to the Propyla
We're at the Parthenon Temple
The beautiful Parthenon Temple
Cruising Day 6 is in the book 
Beautiful day in Athens
Climbing the steps in the heat is tough
View from the Acropolis
The construction technique. The tight joints
Lee, Oanh, Ha, and Tam in front of Temple of Athena
So much wonder and history here

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