04 October 2009

Day 131


Parthenon, Day 131, originally uploaded by Ryan Runs Europe.

1 Kilometer.
(I stopped counting at the Parthenon)
I woke up around 9 am alone in Vicky's apartment. I packed my things as I have always done and put up a blog post before heading out the door to catch the train that I had come in on the night before. I went back to Monastiraki, and the place that I had left off on foot, and made the short trip to a place I have been waiting a long time to see: the acropolis, and the Parthenon.
I paid a huge 12 euros at the ticket booth, and excitedly made the climb past swarms of people. Up the hill...through the main portal...and there it was (not quite in all its glory): the Parthenon. I couldn't stop smiling and laughing to myself, to the point that I got worried about straining a muscle in my cheek. There it was, the primary example of great classical architecture--a testament not to the perfection of imperfection, but of a calculated deviation from rectalinearity and symmetry. The Parthenon deceives the viewer through slight modification of what is perceived as parallel regularity, evoking a sense of scale and rhythm beyond physical possibility. If the ancient architects wore square framed glasses and skinny ties, they might call it "distorting the grid."
Anyways, with all the hype, expectation, slides, plans, elevations, perspectives, etc...it was pretty much just like I expected it to be...except for the scaffolding, tourists and amount of unoriginal stone (the caryatids of the Erechtheon, for example, have been replaced with concrete casts).
I went around, gazing up and snapping photos. I took one photo of my shoe with the Parthenon that one of the attendants told me to delete (you can only take photos with people as subjects?). I very earnestly worked away at my phone, pretending to delete the photo...and eventually they left. I was kind of frustrated by their lack of understanding, and in a way, it spoiled the rest of my visit (a bit like my experience at Ronchamp).
I spent the rest of the day in the new acropolis museum (which I won't review here) and at the nearby Plaka market area. I bought some of the only souvenirs that I have purchased on this trip: two cheesy Marathon-Athens t-shirts. I figured it was time to expand my wardrobe a little bit.
Around 5 pm I met Vicky and her friend Zoe (and for a brief moment Stefano, who came to give my my own magic "Panathinaikos" jersey). We walked together to Kalimarmaro, the classic Olympic stadium. It was a beautiful track, and I couldn't resist the urge to hop the fence and run a "victory lap." I made it about 20 meters down the first straightaway before I had whistles and shouts close behind me. I knew that if I turned back there was no way they would let me run the rest of the lap...so I just kept going around. The security attendant cut me off on the other side of the straightaway and gave me a serious talking to. I don't think it helped that I was grinning the whole time. We walked back to the edge of the track and he told me to hop over the fence (he would follow). I hopped over, and Vicky, Zoe and I walked away very quickly. Awesome.
In the evening, I went to dinner with Vicky and some friends at a restaurant near where she lived. She, like many others before, was almost too good of a host. I went to bed well fed and excited for the coming morning. I would be going home.

24 comments:

  1. Congratulations for one more time! Panathinaikos is religion in Greeece hahaha.
    Did you bought the Olympia t-shirt?

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  2. Hahahaha! I am so glad you jumped that fence! You should always break rules when you know you will never be seen by those people again. Such a totally fitting end to your journey. I couldn't help smiling as I read your post! Travel safely home. :)

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  3. Fabulous! What a stupendous adventure. And, many many thanks for letting us travel all these days vicariously with you. An inspiration for following those dreams!

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  4. Awesome picture for sure man. A fitting end to a great story. Please post a wrap up blog once you get home so all your fans know you made it home safe. Good luck in whatever you do from here on out.

    Logan
    Ithaca, NY

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  5. And if you knew the true story behind the Parthenon scaffolding, you would surely laugh at the marvel that is modern Greece...

    Awaiting eagerly for the conclusion of your trip, your thoughts on this amazing trip and how it has changed you. Have a safe journey home, and come back to Greece as often as you can. Athens is only the beginning of the things to do and see in Greece (even though you went through several places to get here)...

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  6. This is an out-an-back trip, right? What route are you taking back to Amsterdam? Congrats on the your journey!

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  7. Ryan,
    Please do wrap up blog as someone here suggested. Have a safe trip home.
    I will miss reading your blog.

    Katarina

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  8. I throughly enjoyed following you along your enviable quest every time I logged onto my computer at work this summer as well as any time I have zoned out while on the Internet this school year. Congratulations on a completing a run and an experience I am sure you will not soon forget.

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  9. I love that you did a victory lap! I am so very happy for you and such an amazing accomplishment! Well done! Thank you for inspiring all of us - amateur runners like myself included! I am sure your Mama is just itching to see you, what an amazing homecomming that will be. All the best in your future, and gosh, it just seems I got to know you and now you're leaving! :o)

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  10. Congratulations! You are your generation's Bruce Chatwin--although way more entertaining, and way more inspirational to us endurance athletes and adventurers. You did it on your own two feet and you took great, calculated risks, travelled smart, and showed the world how cool Americans can be. Great job, Ryan, you make the country proud and have accomplished a tremendous journey.

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  11. What else is there to say except: congratulations!

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  12. Great work! It was great following you!

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  13. Rebel. Seriously, thats an experience to boast about, even after this amazing journey. YOU RAN ROUND KALIMARMARO! fantastic!

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  14. I can't believe it's over! I've been following you for months...now I don't know what I'll read when want to procrastinate at work. Congratulations on an amazing achievement!

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  15. I'm going to miss keeping track of you...lol

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  16. Congratulations on your spectacular and unique achievement. It was a delight and an inspiration to follow your journey. Your insights, your humor, your perspective and attitude were all just as inspiring as your remarkable physical accomplishments. We will sorely miss your wonderful, well written posts. Bravo! Enjoy your homecoming.

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  17. Hey you made it... congratulations!

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  18. What an amazing journey. It has truly been a pleasure to follow you. Congratulations!

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  19. How do you count the distance you ran??

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  20. Travelling to Europe at a cheapest cost is nothing new Europe Flight Deals Planning a vacation is a joyful experience whether it's with your family, friends or even if you're travelling alone

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  21. Nice post but I want to ask something on the behalf of the Africana Travels that, You said that you woke up around 9 am alone in Vicky's apartment. Who is Vicky's?

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