The Weekly Gardener 1



For the Love of Athena

The Acropolis

I don't think the goal of traveling is to see places and learn things, often you get better images and information from photography catalogs and travel guides. The goal of traveling is to get immersed in the spirit of a place.

The longer you stay in Greece, the more it becomes clear to you why this mountainous peninsula swept by winds witnessed the birth of modern civilization. There is a sense which permeates everything that the people of this culture are afraid of nothing, curious about everything and always eager to try something new.

If you are familiar with the legend, Athena won the contest with Poseidon to become patron goddess of the city because she offered the citizens wisdom, prosperity and peace, and her temple still stands at the top of the hill after all this time, intimidating by its massive scale alone.

You can see everything from atop the Acropolis, the whole world is at your fingertips, the land and the sea, the sky, the sun and the moon. Nothing is hidden, forbidden or wrong.

Giant stone temple complex at the top of the hill? That sounds like a wonderful idea, we can frame great views with the architectural elements, but make sure to get the ideal proportions and account for optical illusions, we don't want to look through columns that seem to taper off in the middle.


Exploring Monastiraki


Monastiraki is an old neighborhood of Athens nestled at the bottom of the Acropolis. No matter what your interests gravitate towards, you're going to find something there, whether it's historical sights, food or shopping, all of them are delivered to you in an easy to behold, light hearted manner.

I covered most of the popular attractions, despite the fact that we only stayed in Athens for two days, and it was very hot: Hadrian's Library, the Roman Agora, the flea market, the change of guards at the Parliament, the Metropolitan Cathedral, all except for one: the Tower of the Winds.

I wanted to kick myself for missing it after I saw the pictures, I can't even make up in my head how this contraption was supposed to work.

It is a thirty six foot tall, twenty four foot in diameter octagonal timepiece inside which a clepsydra, eight sundials and a weather vane were meant to function in concert.

The tower is aligned with the directions of the compass rose and is surrounded by a frieze depicting the gods of the eight winds. Inside the tower used to be the water clock, sort of like an hourglass, but more weirdly shaped in order to control water flow. For the life of me I can't figure out where the sundials went.

It is an ancestor of the clock tower.