On our fourth day in Athens we went for a hike in the area around the Pnyx and the Philoppapos monument. This area appears to have many names: the hill of the muses, the hill of the nymphs, Philopappos hill, or the Mouseion hill. These may be different hills all next to each other, I can't be sure. Whatever you call it, it is beautiful. There were tons of trails around the hills, from asphalt to cobblestone to gravel and dirt. The only thing that kept it from being a maze was a good slope, and amazing views of the Acropolis and the sea to give us a sense of direction.
The Acropolis. The hills we were hiking in were only about 1 km from the Acropolis. Many statues were found in the rubble used to fill in behind the built up walls around the Acropolis.
There was a bit of haze in the air, leading to beautiful colors.
The Acropolis with Lycavitos hill (Mount Lycabettus) behind it.
There seems to be a huge variety of spellings for most of the places and things in Greece. I would guess that some of this comes from the fact that some of their letters look like Roman letters,but make a different sound, like eta and "H".
The sun on the sea.
There is almost nothing left of this, and some of it was even thought to have been taken for use in building the Parthenon minaret. How many of you knew that the Parthenon had also been a church and a mosque? We sure didn't!
The hiking was very easy over the gentle, rocky hills. We found the whole place enchanting. It looked a lot like what I imagine Ireland looks like, with patches of bare stone poking through the brilliant emerald foliage.
Such a beautiful place.
Steve in Athens.
When we were near the observatory we starting hearing huge booms. We saw flashes and smoke rising from Lykavitos hill, and heard the booms about seven seconds later. There were about ten rapports in total, maybe 30 seconds apart. We still have no idea what it was all about. Since it was New Years Day, it might have been part of some city celebration, but the internet failed us.
Smoke rising near Lykavitos hill.
The Acropolis from the Pnyx.
We passed Socrates' Prison on the way back, but it was too dark for pictures. Don't worry: we went back later in better light. Like most days in Athens, we had dinner at a little cafe, and had gelato.