Collectively, I saw 79 cats while on spring break in Greece.
I’m so mad I didn’t see just one more for an even 80. Now I’m sure you’re wondering why I opened up my story about a whole trip in Greece with the number of cats I saw–but it’s honestly hard to sum up my trip any other way.
Once anyone talks to me even once, it’s not hard to figure out I was one of those mythology-obsessed kids as a child. This, of course, hasn’t gone away– but has simply been shrouded by a passion for architecture and art history. There’s a reason religious architecture and restoration have always been a goal of mine. Ever since I was about ten, visiting Greece felt like a far-off dream. I thought I would never be able to set foot on the soil of all the stories that filled my imagination as a kid (and let’s be honest, as an adult; one of my recent projects is annotating The Odyssey… for fun). But, my dream came true this semester. It has taken me quite a while to collect and choose all my favorite photos from Greece, let alone edit them. But now, they are ready for me to share with all of you.
Now there’s simply no way to fit all of this in one post, so here’s the plan. One post for Athens, and one for Delphi. Today, we just have to start with Athens.
Unfortunately, for a large portion of The Acropolis museum, I wasn’t allowed to take photos. There are some here, but you’ll have to take my word for it that it was absolutely stunning. There was so much energy surrounding each object, not to mention the architecture itself was beautiful. Each window was placed perfectly to shine the sun on the artwork, and the open layout combined with specific hallways created a very specific experience of circulation I can only dream to emulate one day. My favorite part was that the top floor was just a little off-axis with the rest, almost like you had a stack of perfectly aligned books, and then the top book decided it wanted to be different. Even to someone who doesn’t spend their whole life studying the nuances of architecture, the intention was clear. The top floor rotated itself to align perfectly parallel to the acropolis, and the Parthenon. Not only did this create a fantastic photo-op, but it also set itself apart from the rest of the city when you looked down from the top of the Acropolis.
Now, now, I know everyone is on the edge of their seats waiting for me to talk about climbing the Acropolis. Even from across my screen, I can just tell (insert bad sitcom laugh track here). Climbing the Acropolis truly felt like a pilgrimage. The second you started walking up the steps, the air changed. It was almost like the air stayed extra fresh there for the Greek gods to enjoy. The grass was so green, the wildflowers almost felt strategically placed, and the temples scattered themself as if they grew there as opposed to being built. On our way up, we got to see the most beautiful theater, and for a while, all we could do was sit and imagine what it must have been like to be an ancient Grecian and watching a play. Greek theaters are basically just one-half of an amphitheater, like a Colosseum. This allows for the view behind to be the backdrop, and I must admit some pretty cool acoustics. The seats were still mostly intact, and the floor at the bottom still looked beautiful as ever. The large arches behind the stage framed the landscape in quite a transcendental way and truly separated it from being just any old view of the mountains.
Finally, when we reached the top, the Parthenon was sitting there waiting for us. I’m almost convinced that they built it all those decades ago just for me and my friends to see it, as selfish as that sounds. Even covered in scaffolding, it felt like it existed in another dimension. I had never felt so small. For my entire life, I had been waiting to see it, and it was even better than I expected it to be. Those Greeks really knew what they were doing. The placement and rotation of the Parthenon allowed the sun to hit all of its best angles, and each side reflected the light and created a shadow in a new and interesting way. Despite being a rectangle, at its simplest, the sun transformed the experience completely.
Oh, and those cats I talked about? One of the first ones I saw was there. He was very proper, all until he turned around, dug a hole, and pooped on top of one of the most famous hills in history.