Athens and the Saronic Gulf – September 2019

We are now moored in Zea Marina, which is in Piraeus, the biggest passenger port in Europe (September 2019) and spending a few days here before my next trip back to the UK.  We took a tour bus as we find this is one of the best ways to get your bearings of a place.

The main attraction is the Acropolis.  We were fortunate as although it was hot, there was some breeze, a few weeks earlier the site had been closed because it was too hot. 

The Parthenon is dedicated to the Goddess Athena, the patron of their city, and was built between 447 and 438 BC.

The Erechtheion is on a slope, so the west and north sides are about 3 m (9 ft) lower than the south and east sides.  On the south side, is the “Porch of the Maidens”, with six draped female figures as supporting columns.  One of those original six figures was removed by Lord Elgin in the early 19th century and is now in the British Museum in London. The Acropolis Museum holds the other five figures, which are replaced onsite by replicas. 

Whilst we were here they were setting up for an event at The Theatre of Dionysus.

There were good views of Athens from up here.  An interesting fact we learnt on our tour was that the Marathon was changed from 25 miles to 26 miles and 385 yards as a result of the 1908 Olympics held in London.  Originally the course was to be from Windsor to White City stadium. However, a request was received from the Queen asking to locate the start line at Windsor castle so Princess Mary and her children could watch from a window.  A change to the finish line was also requested so that the finish line could be in front of the royal family’s viewing box inside the stadium so the course was further extended.  It was 1921 before this became the official length of the marathon.  So there you go!

We had a nice evening out with Karen and Ronnie in Pireaus and had to have a photo taken under the Clock Tower just to prove that Karen does stay up late sometimes. 

I left Ian in Athens and headed off to the airport back to the UK.  Ian made his way to Poros where he was going to sit out the Meltemi that was forecast whilst I was away.  He found himself a nice spot in Russian Bay where he managed to tie the boat up to the rocks, not an easy task when you are single handed.  He then made his way to Navy Bay where I would meet him.  I arrived at Athens airport, then took a bus to Pireaus and finally a ferry to Poros where Ian was waiting dockside to meet me at about 9.00pm.  We took my stuff back to the boat and then headed back to Poros to eat.  Poros is a lovely island but can be very busy. 

After a couple of days we headed off hoping to take the route between the island and the mainland but unfortunately the power lines had come down in a recent storm and so we had to take the long route round to Ermioni adding 2.5 hours to our trip.  To keep the power line out of the water a mobile crane had been placed on a ferry to hold them up in the air but not high enough for us to take this route.

Ermioni is another popular place and we anchored in the bay.  The harbour wall on the other side is normally rammed but today whilst having some breakfast, ok it was brunch, was empty.

Another Meltemi was forecast so we headed to Port Heli which is situated in a very sheltered bay although there is a shipwreck here. 

After a few days here the next group of islands we would visit would be the Cyclades

March 2020

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