My free Saturday in Athens had two halves. After touring the Museum of the Acropolis and enjoying lunch at the Museum’s restaurant, I went looking for what’s at the end of this long green tunnel.
Hidden behind greenery along a busy city street sits the Benaki Museum, which I found by googling “Athens Greece hidden gems.” Like the Museum of the Acropolis, the Benaki offered me discounted admission with my student ID (even from a school in Nebraska!), and displayed archeological finds. But the private Benaki collection travels all the way from pre-history to the Greek Civil War, in the 1950s. It is a whirlwind tour, but the good news is that I could take pictures.
I’ve found that in this kind of museum I’m most drawn to the little, humble and everyday objects. Yes, grand pieces celebrating glorious battles are impressive, but it’s small pieces like these remind me that each of these was made by hand, by a living person. I can imagine the lives of these people, our ancestors.
So here, a few pics of the grand sweep of Greek history, from from thousands of years BC to about 1500, compliments of the Benaki Museum.
About this time, I tired of taking pictures and began to wonder if the Benaki cafe was as nice as my online sources had told me. So I investigated, found that yes, it was so, and ate watermelon.
Then I had to return to my hotel and call it a (very good) day. I determined to walk through the Greek National Gardens on my way to the Metro. Commissioned as Royal Gardens by Greece’s Queen Amalia in 1838, today the National Gardens act as an arboretum with many beautiful and interesting tree species. They also provide a much-needed green oasis in the city, especially with their many water features.
Then it was time to return to the hotel to prepare for tomorrow’s adventure: flying to the island of Crete!