Monday, August 14, 2017

Caryatids at The Acropolis in Athens, Greece—Women Holding Up Their Little Bit of the World

Women Holding Up Their Little Bit of the World, S.R. Karfelt
Caryatid Porch at the Erechtheion, Acropolis
Athens, Greece


Caryatid. It's pronounced, "Carry-ah-did".

The definition of caryatid is a stone carving of a draped female figure, used as a pillar to support the entablature of a Greek or Greek-style building.

These ladies speak to me.
     Don't mind us, just a bunch of anonymous chicks holding all the shit together. Nothing to see here. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Hey, ladies. I'm crushing on you. You're functional and lovely, with strong legs. Bet the TSA would double check those big calves too. You're just looking good and keeping things from falling apart. I feel you. I've met your descendants. 

Those Greek women are pulling double plus shifts during tourist season. I see them there at seven in the morning, and still working at two a.m. too. They're cooking the food, making it look beautiful, serving it, cleaning it up. They're running a business, raising a family, and looking fine the whole time. The economy is sucking out loud all around them. But they're smiling, nay, they're laughing. 

Caryatid women are everywhere. They're working two jobs, working at places that need them but make no financial sense—but someone has to do it. So they do it. They don't complain. Wait. Sure they do. But no one listens, so it doesn't count. They'll just keep doing all the things, and holding up the world. 

Don't make them come over there. Because if they drop all this weight they're carrying, the whole world's gonna come crashing down. 


Women Holding Up Their Little Bit of the World
The light changes, and the colors of the stones seem to change with it.


Back at home writing books, blogs, and juggling Gummy/dementia stuff I sometimes feel like a Caryatid. This week Rescue Kitty dragged a full-grown rabbit through the cat door. I didn't know this for a few days, but I kept scrubbing everything in the workshop thinking Oh, man, cat food smells. 

It wasn't the cat food. Rescue Kitty had wedged him an out of the way spot. I thought it was a eagle when I spotted it, that's how big it was. The reason I thought it was an eagle is I thought those were feathers covering it. They weren't feathers. They were maggots. 

I immediately went after hubby.
     You need to clean a dead thing out of the workshop.
      It's your cat.
      It's not my cat!
      You feed it.
      It's your mom's cat! That makes it yours.
      It's your cat now.
This went on for a time. We argued over who had legal responsibility of the cat in our marriage. If feeding something denotes ownership, I own him and I guess the kids are mine too. 

In the end I relented. My friend said that makes me an amateur marital negotiator. Not true. I am, after all, caryatid strong. I submit the fact that I write novels, tend to Gummy, and have a chronically agitated neck as proof of my qualifications. The reason I gave in is there's a big problem with the kitchen drains that now he has to snake and clean and fix, in exchange for my body removing services. I can negotiate.

Yet when I went into the workshop with a Pirates of the Caribbean bandanna over my mouth and nose with a shovel in hand, I remembered that I'm a smart woman too. So I negotiated with the neighbor boys. They said they like to watch Bones. I said, "Let's make a deal." They cleaned all evidence of bunny death for a few dollars and a box of cookies. I think they'd have done it for free.

Back to the caryatids. The ones in the above pictures are at the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. The Acropolis is a citadel above the city. It's a rise with cliffs, and on top of it are many ancient ruins like the Parthenon and the Erechtheion where you find the porch of the Caryatids.

The Acropolis was built at a time when Athena and Poseidon were part of Greek religion. There are temples and statues on top or along the walk up. 


S.R. Karfelt, Solo Travel
The Acropolis at night!


Above is a picture of the Acropolis at night. It's lit up and you can see it from all around Athens. Just below it on this side is the Acropolis Museum. It's my favorite museum. One of the things I love most about it is that inside it has the feel and even the look of the Acropolis. The bottom floor is glass and you can see a dig beneath it. Also there's a cafe on a large porch upstairs. You can sit outside and have a coffee and see the Acropolis during the day. 

The photo below is the Parthenon. Isn't it formidable? Imagine standing there thousands of years ago? No television. No internet. Just this impressive building to stir your imagination. Something about being on top the Acropolis that always strikes me, is that there are columns and ruins littered all over the place. Ruins are everywhere in Athens. But it's strange to see so many ancient treasures laying about and exposed to the elements. 



S.R. Karfelt, Greece, Solo Travel
The Parthenon has been under construction every time I've gone, but it doesn't detract from the magnificence at all!


All the buildings on the Acropolis are impressive ruins. They're unexpectedly large and imposing. It takes a while just to hike the Acropolis and get to the top. So many feet have walked over the marble paths for centuries, in some places it's as smooth and slippery as ice. Like here just at the entrance on top.


S.R. Karfelt, Solo Travel
No, seriously. 


Walking the Acropolis, S.R. Karfelt
Stairs. Yep. Not an optical illusion.
You can go around.
But where's the fun in that?


This was my second trip to the top, so I planned my sandals more wisely than last time. I ordered well over a dozen pair online and returned all but the Mephisto's and Teva's. The Teva's are what I wore for this hike. There was no slipping and now I'm a fan for life.

This time I also hiked up in the late afternoon to avoid the heat and
S.R. Karfelt, Solo Travel, Walking the Acropolis
Dionysus
the blinding sun. I took the entrance by the Theater of Dionysus. A ticket to the Acropolis is 20€. There are discounts for students and such, but it's worth it even if you have to pay full price. The Acropolis museum is just below the Acropolis, and it contains many of the artifacts that have been removed. It's worth a visit too, plus air-conditioning and blank journals with caryatids on the cover can be had there.


S.R. Karfelt, Greece, Solo Travel
The Theater of Dionysus at the base of the Acropolis
I like to walk up this side.


Journals are my weakness, and museum shops.
S.R. Karfelt, Solo Travel, Greece
My haul from the Acropolis Museum

I easily pass by all the souvenir shops surrounding the Acropolis, and they seem endless, but I buy several of these for writing, and a couple books at the Acropolis Museum Shop. They're not online yet. You and I both wish. Then I spend a month hauling all my loot around Greece. 

It's so worth it. What more could a solo traveler want?


A Greek salad and a Mythos in Plaka is pretty excellent too. 

S.R. Karfelt, Solo Travel, Greece
I wish I could share it with you.
The best tomatoes, cukes, onion, pepper, olive oil, oregano,
and a block of feta. That's it.

Now I want to go back. I love traveling Greece. The people are wonderful. The food is spectacular. And obviously the scenery is legendary. You in?











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