After downing our Ouzo, my ex and I walked along the main street of The Plaka, Adrianou Street. The Plaka is the long-inhabited are north of the Acropolis and the street is lined with attractive 19th century buildings with ground-floor tourists shops. We poked our noses into a couple of shops, but decided to leave our shopping for another day since we were anxious to continue our tour of the ancient city.
The graffiti along this strip shows some real talent. There is one landmark on the path to Hadrian’s library that stretches the entire length of the side of a very old building. It was hard to tell whether it was a true advertisement or some one’s fine artwork. But we discovered from a local English speaking vendor that the graffiti artists around this part of town take real pride in their art and will go to great lengths to out-do each other. This one piece was the true “pièce de résistance” and was admired by everyone passing by.
Hadrian’s Library was right along this same path and it is a true monument to the wisdom and philosophy of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Hadrian was an Emperor of the Roman Empire during the 2nd century. He had the library built in the traditional and typical Roman architectural style. The library is on the north side of the Acropolis, with the Parthenon hovering in the background. It has one entrance, with an inner courtyard surrounded by columns and an inner oblong pool. A lot of the structure was supported by large beams and scaffolding was evidence that major renovation was being done. The library itself was on the eastern wall where rolls of papyrus “books” were kept. Adjoining rooms were used as reading lounges and lectures were held in the outer corners.
Again, my ex was complaining how his feet were hurting and he suggested that we start our voyage back to Marathonas and maybe take in some local scenery! Well, that wasn’t about to happen.
We learned earlier in the day that we could have actually taken the Metro at least part of the way that morning instead of the 2+ hours on the bus. so we decided to take the Metro from the Monastriaki Station in Athens and get off at Pallini, a short 30 minute ride by train. We asked the train station clerk what we would need to look for when we got to Pallini and he explained that the KTEL bus (the name of the line we took earlier, the only line to Marathonas) would come every hour or so, in the hour,and was an orange bus. Since it was getting close to sundown, we decided to hop the Metro and try and get to the Pallini bus station for the 6:00pm bus. We got to Pallini a little late for the 6:00, so we opted to go to a small grocery store nearby the station and pick-up some food for that evening in the event we didn’t find a suitable place to eat in Marathonas.
Being the first actual store we visited in Athens, we soon discovered how different their language was from English. They had most everything in the traditional Greek alphabet (bread = ?ρτος ο) and they also had the modern Greek spelling (artos o). Most of the more popular tourist sections also had the English spelling. It was funny how the translation and the spoken word rarely sounded the same phonetically.
We picked up some pastas and salad and went to sit at the outdoor station for our next bus. The wind had picked up considerably and the sun was setting, causing the air to cool down drastically. The station (more like bench) was dirty and crowded with people trying to get home after a long day at work. We met a young woman who was waiting for the same bus as it would be stopping in Nea Makri right before Marathonas. So, we were elated to find out we were in the right place to catch the bus.
But what we didn’t know was that the bus didn’t come every hour on Mondays: rather, it came every two hours. My ex stopped every orange bus that passed yelling “Marathonas, Marathonas”??????
So, not only did we miss the 6:00 bus but now we would have to wait until the 8:00 bus. And it was getting cold and misty. It was going to be another wild ride trying to get to Marathonas!