I swore never to show up in Athens again without a reservation.
I swore not to pack so much.
I swore not to eat a cheese pie every day.
I’ve heard that a lot of people will skip Athens entirely and head straight to the islands, especially if they’ve visited Athens before. Maybe it’s due in part to my bad memory, but I always find it difficult not to spend at least three days in Athens. The Acropolis still takes my breath away and the sense of living history makes me want to linger.
When I walk through the agora, it’s with Socrates; in Keramikos, Pericles is still giving his famous eulogy for fallen soldiers; and Aeropagus Hill holds the echo of Paul’s “Sermon to an Unknown God”.
This time around, I visited the good works of a Roman emperor named Hadrian, who loved Athens at least as much as he loved Rome. Hadrian’s legacy includes a beautiful library, a Tower of the Winds, a Roman market, and the completion of the largest temple in Greece — the Temple of the Olympian Zeus — that took 700 years to finish.
Athens just wouldn’t be the same without Hadrian.
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