|Athena's Parthenon gets a little help from her friends|
|On the stoop, on the grand promenade beneath the acropolis|
George is gregarious, and very knowledgeable - he told me the one thing he doesn't know is how to make money, but Alex reckons he knows a bit about that too. His turnover has fallen by 33% in the last few years, he told Alex. Is that all? was my response.
|Enki's new awning deflects direct sun off the aft deck|
Since the chandlery, aka Nautilus Yacht Equipment, is usually busy and the wait for his attention lengthy, George's customers tend to fall into conversation with each other. George's shop is a kind of international boating salon, apparently. Today Alex talked taxis with an Israeli. Yesterday he talked to a well-armed Frenchman about guns. The Frenchman is fitting out an 80 metre yacht to make the high-risk voyage to Australia via the Suez Canal. Needless to say. George is the Frenchman's operations manager in Athens. Alex ended up having a coffee with the Frenchman who showed him a video on his iPad of a hijacked merchant navy ship being sunk by "authorities" with 27 Somali pirates shackled to the railings. The Frenchman said this was the most effective way to deter piracy.
|View of the new Acropolis museum from the acropolis|
|The top floor of the museum is a stupendous display case for the Parthenon marbles|
|On the street (and below)|
|On the acropolis|
|The best ever frozen lemonade|
|Bronze bust, circa 1st cent BC|
|Ornate marble vase found at Mycenae|
|Cycladic figure circa 3rd millenium BC|
|Reconstructed Roman theatre under the acropolis|
In Athens, mind-blowing wealth co-habits with dereliction and desperation; age holds itself with dignity, whether she be a woman riding the trolley bus with a bulging bag of empty plastic bottles or a retired marine engineer in neatly pressed slacks pleading with you to see beyond his "lovely country's few problems"; and beauty is everywhere, riding pillion behind her boyfriend or squashed beside you on the train, a phone pressed to her ear, her profile as lovely as the marbles you've been gazing upon in the museums.
|19th century porcelain, portrait of a Greek beauty|
|Aphrodite fending off the lecherous Pan with her sandal|
There is no time left now to go to Mycenae, whose splendour I saw for the first time yesterday in the National Archeological Museum. So we say to ourselves, next year on the way west, on the way to Gibraltar. We also look like skipping the Cyclades again this year. The meltemi is raging through the islands and the combination of that, my dysfunctional right hand and the press of summer crowds persuades us that next May is a better time to drop anchor in Naxos and Santorini and Amorgos, the islands of which charterers' dreams are made.
|Gold death mask found at Mycenae, called Agememnon's mask|
|Grave treasure, Mycenae|
|Fibre optic cables monitor columns of the Parthenon|