Walk with me up the Acropolis, OK?

by cheri block

Cloudy with rain made our hike up the Acropolis pleasant and somewhat private, considering the number of tourists in town.

The contrast between old and new Athens, as in Rome, forces the viewer to consider time and her place in it.

On the far right, that black and silver building is the new Acropolis Museum. A famous architect designed it, but it doesn’t work there. It doesn’t fit. Bring back the old little museum that used to sit right by the Parthenon. One of our tutors, Professor Eva Brann, accompanied us to the museum. She’s in her 80’s now but once was an archaeology student in Athens in the early 50’s. Eva entertained us with stories of old Athens, stories of Plato and Socrates, and with stories of Alcibiades. Still teaching at the Annapolis campus of St. John’s University, she is a first class teacher in every way.

Eva, what do you think of the Acropolis Museum? I asked her, as we moved together on a transparent walkway over places that had been excavated.

Not much, she replied.

We looked over the ledge at the Theater of Dionysus where Antigone screamed at King Creon. It was there that Aristophanes poked fun at Socrates in The Clouds.

It was there that the Greek Chorus sang and danced across the stage like a phalanx.

It was there and so was I.

Far into the distance, you can see the Arch of Hadrian and the remains of the Olympeion.

At one time, the Temple of Hephaestus stood alone in a grove of trees. From the ancient stones at my feet, to the trees and the elegant temple, to the mass of homes stretching into a blur of modern smoggy grey, I wondered about the word progress.

The Ereichtheion is the most magnificent building on the Acropolis. The sky returned to rain and set up a perfect photo shoot.

Amazing! No people in the shot but those lovely ladies on the corner, preserving posterity for hopeless dreamers like me.

About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
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9 Responses to Walk with me up the Acropolis, OK?

  1. I should have been there long ago…but life being what it is, I never could make it. Thank you for showing something else than those dreaded tourist office propaganda.

  2. Great pictures. Meeting someone like Eva always makes a trip extra special!

  3. Cheri says:

    Yes! If you followed the link, you will read what an amazing person Eva Brann is. She holds a MA from Yale in Classics, as well as Phd from Yale in Archaeology. Think about how hard that was to do in the 1950’s. She fled Nazi Germany and her family settled in New York.

    Still teaching, she has written many books on philosophy and math. She is especially interested in Plato.
    She did read Andreas Kluth’s December edition about Socrates and got a kick out of it. I’m not sure what “a kick” means, but that is what she said.

    The best part about Eva is that she is vital and feisty.

    We will see her in several weeks, when we travel to St. John’s in Sante Fe. She comes out there for a month to teach.

    I only hope to stay as vital as Eva Brann in the next 25 years!

  4. jenny says:

    Thank you for the virtual visit. I have never been there.

    Love that last picture. I think it would make a hopeless dreamer out of the most stolid soul!

    Now I want to write something about the Atlases at the Winter Palace. This blog reading is a dangerous thing.

    • Cheri says:

      Yes, Jenny, agreed. I look forward to the Atlases at the Winter Palace.

      Blog reading can become addictive. Luckily, I still have job where blog reading doesn’t mesh…It also takes away from writing. and sweeping the porch. and weeding. and other stuff.

      (Thought I’d try a William Carlos Williams effect)

  5. jenny says:

    The WCW effect!

    Who shall say you are not the happy genius of your household?


  6. She got a “kick” out of my Socrates article?

    Into which part of her? You MUST interpret.

    My mom also just walked over the transparent floor in the new museum and says she liked it. Now that you say the museum does NOT work, I’ll have to cross-examine mom once more…

    • Cheri says:

      I’ll tell you what I will do. I will take a copy of your article with me to Santa Fe and since JB and I are having dinner with her, I will give her a copy and ask for her feedback.

      You run the risk, you know.

      What she did say was that she reads the Economist weekly and enjoys it. I thought that was high praise.

      We were walking along to the museum. I shared that I “sort of” knew (via blogging) one of the correspondents! (Along with your other 300 or so followers 🙂 ) She seemed interested in that tidbit. Blah, Blah…on to the December edition, Stringfellow Barr, you, St. John’s, Socrates (how appropriate being in Athens and discussing this, I thought) and did she read the article, I asked.

      Yes. Interesting. Suddenly the museum is in front of us.

      Now we are walking over the transparent walkway, looking down at the tunnels.We liked this part too! Eva shares that in the early 50’s all she did was clean pots that turned up during their digs and that experience changed her career direction to teaching at the Annapolis campus.

      My hit about the museum was colored by the fact that we were with Eva, who had seen the museum on the Acropolis and who felt that many of the sculptures from the Parthenon which have been removed and are now in the museum were not showcased well.

      We felt the huge iron posts to simulate the columns of the Parthenon although a cool concept didn’t work because of the cold modern look.

      But who are we? Just country folks from a small Bay Area town…

      Now Eva? She’s got gravitas.

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