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Arabian Sea & Suez Canal Cruise on the Celebrity Constellation

4/22/18 to 5/7/18

Athens, Greece

Piraeus is the port for Athens, which is about 30 minutes away by car.  After we docked, we could see the open top busses and a long line of taxis waiting to take passengers who weren’t on ship tours to Athens.  Athens is a wonderful city to visit; but since we had been to Athens many times on land visits and port calls, we decided to just hang out around the port of Piraeus.  There were a few things to see there and we could do them at our own pace. 

Since Carol hadn’t gone on the Petra tour, she hadn’t been off the ship for nine days.  She was ready to get on land.  The two main places I wanted to visit were the Church of Saint Nicholas and the Piraeus Archeological Museum.  When we got off the ship, my first stop was to see the Piraeus Lion that I had seen from our balcony. This is a copy of the original statue that was sculpted in 360 BC.  It was located at the port since the 1st century AD.  Because of it, the port was referred to as the Lion Port, rather than Piraeus.  In 1687, the original lion was taken to Venice after a war and is still there. 

Google Maps showed that the church was only a half mile walk, so we headed that way.  But heading that way wasn’t as easy as I had hoped.  With Carol riding her TravelScoot, we needed to find the path that was the most handicap accessible.  The map made it look like we needed to be on the right-hand side of the road, which was fine at first; but in some parts we needed to put the scooter on the street since the path was too narrow.  In other places, there would be a slight ramp to get back on the sidewalk; but then there would be a street sign in the middle of the path.  We had learned in previous visits that Greece was not the best place for wheelchairs or scooters.  It still wasn’t.  When we arrived at the church, I walked around to get photos from different angles.  It did have an attractive exterior.

   

If you have previously read any of our reviews, you will know that I love visiting churches, mosques or synagogues.  I also put in way more photos of them than Carol thinks I should; but I do it so that I can remember the beauty that we have seen.  Our memories just aren’t good enough to remember even a small fraction of the amazing places we have visited, so this website allows us to relive our adventures over and over again.  So, if you don’t enjoy church photos, I apologize for the number of pictures that you might have to scroll over during the rest of this review.

Upon entering, I was blown away by all the beauty and color.  I have always enjoyed visiting Greek Orthodox churches, since there is so much to take in.  Almost every surface of the interior was covered with beautiful paintings or decorations.  It was such a treat looking at everything.

   

   

   

   

   

I try to take photos of churches from different angles, since it shows different features.  The below photos look similar at first glance; but the first one is from further away.  It only shows the dome that the chandalier is hanging from.  The second is closer up and shows the second dome over the altar as well as the floor detail. 

   

Upon leaving the church, I looked at my iPhone map to see how long a walk it would be to the Archeological Museum.  It wasn’t that far; but looking at the road, it was too steep for Carol to take her scooter.  She decided to go back to the ship; but since I needed to help her in some areas of the walk back, I went too.  The path on the other side of the street was a lot better in some sections.

With the museum being further away from the ship than I thought it would be, I decided to just get a cab to go there.  On the way to the cabs, I saw the open top busses.  I was amazed that they only charged 16€ (about $19) to go to Athens. 

When I had thought about taking a ship tour that would just drop me off near the Plaka, it was going to cost $59.  The bus people tried to sell me a ticket, which was tempting; but I told them I really only wanted to go to the Piraeus museum.  They recommended that I just take the Fun Train.  It would drive me around town and bring me back for just 5€.  That sounded better than getting a cab.  In a few minutes a little blue train came into the parking area and picked me up.  I was the only one on it.  I guess that most people had headed to Athens.  Below is a photo I took of the train later in the day.

The train didn’t have the best suspension, so it was a pretty rough ride; but it was also most enjoyable.  I was able to see a lot more of the city than I would had I been walking.  The train stopped right in front of the museum.

   

With the Athens Archeological Museum being so close, I had pretty low expectations for this small museum; but the reviews on it were pretty good.  I figured that it was probably worth the 4€ cost.  Upon entering, I was greeted by one of the original copies of the Piraeus Lion.

As I walked into the first room, I was surprised at what a nice collection they had.  There were many beautiful statues and reliefs there and in other rooms.

   

   

   

There were several exhibition halls on each floor containing interesting objects in each one.  Many of the items appeared to be funerary art.  There were many beautiful pieces.

   

On the second floor are the most important pieces in their collection. The bronze statues of Artemis, Apolo and Athena were found near the harbor in 1959.  With there being only 35 full figured bronze statues in existence from any ancient civilization, it is amazing to have a total of four of them in this one small museum.  Like the rest of the items in the collection, these are also from around the 4th to 6th century BC.

       

Artemis                                            Apollo                                         Artemis

   

Athena

In another room they had many smaller art objects behind glass.

It was a much nicer museum than I had expected, and I probably should have spent more time there, since it was quite fascinating.  I had thought of going back to the ship; but I really wanted to see more of Piraeus.   The train driver told me that he would be back in 40-45 minutes, so I went outside to meet him.  This time there were some other people on the train enjoying the bargain tour.  The train passed by the marina, where there were some pretty large yachts.

   

One of the stops on the route was in the downtown central square, where there were lots of restaurants and bars, so I got off there.  Since Carol had the water bottle with her, I was getting thirsty, so I stopped for a Greek beer.  Some potato chips came with it, so it turned out to be a light lunch.  It was most enjoyable to just sit at the outside table and watch life in the Greek town.

After the break, I walked around the park area, since I had seen what looked like a large church while looking for a beer.  I couldn’t pass up seeing the Saints Constantine & Helen church.  It was another gorgeous Greek Orthodox church. 

   

There are just so many beautiful objects to look at.  I was so glad that I just happened to come across this church because I wanted a beer.   

   

       

   

       

   

   

On the way to where I was supposed to meet the train, I saw a bakery that had some tempting pastries in the window.  I had to support the local businesses, so I went in and invested in the Piraeus economy.  The train was going to pick me up close to the Municipal Theater building.  It was quite a nice-looking place also; but I didn’t have time to check out the interior.

The train dropped me off at the ship and I headed back to the cabin to tell Carol about my adventures for the day.  When I went out on the balcony, I saw the Port’s Piraeus Lion down below.

   

I could also see the roof of the Church of Saint Nicholas, where we had gone to in the morning. It looked a lot closer than the walk had made it feel.

I really enjoyed my day in Piraeus.  I was so glad I resisted going back into Athens again, since this was a totally different and enjoyable experience.
           

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