Athens and A Splitting Headache: Greek God Style… The Mediterranean Cruise

The massive Temple of Zeus located near the base of the Acropolis.

The massive Temple of Zeus located near the base of the Acropolis.

We like our gods to have a touch of humanity. The Greek gods had more than their share. They would party on Olympus, chase after the opposite sex, and constantly intervene in human affairs. They could be jealous, revengeful and petty but they could also be generous and protective. It was good to have one on your side.

The replica of the Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee has a replica of what the statue of Athena located in the historic Parthenon may have looked like.

The replica of the Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee has a fully sized model of what the statue of Athena located in the historic Parthenon may have looked like. I think the spear alone would have given Zeus a headache.

Each Greek city-state would choose a god to be its special protector. With Athens, it was Athena. Both the Parthenon and the Erechtheion on the Acropolis (featured on my last blog) were built in her honor. Athena, according to Greek mythology, sprang fully grown and armed from the head of Zeus. Not surprisingly, Zeus had a massive headache prior to her birth. You might call it a splitting headache. His son, Hephaestus, god of the forge and blacksmiths, took his mighty chisel and split opened Zeus’s head, thus releasing Athena and relieving Zeus.

Zeus was also honored in Athens with a massive temple located near the base of the Acropolis. In addition to being the king of the gods and father of Athena, he was a notorious womanizer. He married his sister Hera, who was constantly trying to thwart his womanizing ways. One of Zeus’s more famous trysts was with the renowned beauty Leda. Zeus seduced her in the guise of a swan, so the story goes. It was a favorite subject of Renaissance Painters. One result of the seduction was that Leda went home and laid an egg, from which the even more beautiful Helen of Troy was hatched.

Our guides took us to see the Zeus temple and then on to visit site of the 2004 Summer Olympics. We stopped off to watch the changing of the guards in front of the Prime Minister’s official seat of government and hurried on to a very expensive restaurant that our guides had selected.  I assume they received a handsome kickback. Sadly, our time was running out and we returned to the ship. Other sites would have to wait for another time.

A side view of the Temple of Zeus in Athens looking grey against grey skies.

A side view of the Temple of Zeus in Athens looking grey against grey skies.

Another photo of the Zeus Temple in Athens. This one features the upper part of the columns with their Corinthian tops.

Another photo of the Zeus Temple in Athens. This one features the upper part of the columns with their tops decorated in the Corinthian style.

In 1852 a storm topped one of the massive columns from the Temple of Zeus and it has remained there ever since.

In 1852 a storm topped one of the massive columns from the Temple of Zeus and it has remained there ever since.

We watched as guards high stepped their way through the Changing of the Guards at the Prime Ministers seat of government.

We watched as guards high stepped their way through the Changing of the Guards at the Prime Ministers seat of government. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson)

I found the choice of shoes, um, interesting.

I found the choice of shoes, um, interesting. At least the guards were guaranteed warm toes on a cold night.

The site of the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens features a statue of a discus thrower winding up to throw.

The site of the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens features a statue of a discus thrower winding up to throw.

One of several courses from our expensive Greek lunch.

One of several courses from our expensive Greek lunch.

Peggy and I and pose with our two Greek guides.

Peggy and I and pose with our two Greek guides.

NEXT BLOG: We journey to the enchanting Greek Island of Corfu on our Mediterranean Cruise adventure.

4 comments on “Athens and A Splitting Headache: Greek God Style… The Mediterranean Cruise

  1. Another great set of pictures..I had a memory of when I took a cruise to Mexico and my (then) husband and I paid extra for a “personalized tour of authentic Mexican villages” ..Oh yeah, what a joke..The bus took us to a gathering place in some off the road spot that had 2 donkeys (pictures of one on the ass for only 15 bucks), 3 run down shops selling stuff made in China and a taquiera that I know the health dept (had there been one) should have closed years before.. I mention that because of the overpriced lunch the cruise “casually suggested” you buy.. I guess it’s how these small businesses stay afloat..

    • Not too mention how the cruise manages to make much of its profit. We did go on a three ship tours when getting somewhere we wanted to go would have been difficult on our own. One was excellent and the other two OK.

  2. I am looking for some rdooemenmctians on places to vacation in the Caribbean. I know there are a ton of islands to choose from but I would like some rdooemenmctians from people that have been there. I am looking for the following:1. Nice beaches that aren’t too crowded (will be going in June of this year)2. A place that offers other activities besides hanging out at the beach. (i.e. hiking, biking, cultural activities)3. Something that is geared more towards couples.I have looked at Aruba, St. Lucia and Barbados. Aruba seems a little too resort’ oriented but the beaches look really nice along with the turquoise water. I am also pondering Belize and wonder if anyone has been there. If you have any hotel rdooemenmctians that would be appreciated too. I am thinking about All-Inclusive but have heard some bad things about that. I like the fact that the drinks are included but I don’t like the fact that we would be limited to eating at specific places.Thanks!

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