Wednesday 3 August 2022

From garden to garden

In the summer months, Saturdays are reserved for Athens.  The beach is too crowded so it seems a good opportunity to catch up on exhibitions and to have lunch at one of our favourite restaurants. Last Saturday we wanted to go to the Byzantine Museum. We started from Syntagma where the National Garden is. This used to be the garden of the royal palace, but after the royals were chucked out of Greece, the palace became the Houses of Parliament and the royal garden, a city park. Athens desperately lacks parks and green spaces - the National Garden is in fact, the only park I can think of in the centre.

We walked through the gates, the tall palm trees facing us

Ken went to check the sun dial - it's apparently slow by half an hour

these palm tree trunks are magnificent. This path was not on our way however, so we went straight ahead, rather than turning right

lots of shady areas for people to sit - particularly needed last Saturday as the temperatures had reached 40oC

Paths on our left and right

and some colour too

We soon realised that extensive development work was going on for a large part of the garden so we took one of the few available paths

another contemplation area

a gazebo

with a fountain and sculpture

and lots of fish

I could see a cave on the right of this path so we went to explore

No idea what it is

Lots of shade here

past the Botanical Museum

running water

and we had arrived at the cafe of the park

This always seems such a shady oasis to me - I always want to stop and sit here, but I never have, as we're always on our way to somewhere

the cafe even has its own grotto.

The cafe is by one of the park exits leading to Herodou Attikou Street, where the presidential residence is

A two minute walk and we reached

an archaeological site - Plato's Academy, I think

Then on to Vassilisis Sofias Avenue, the Cycladic Museum across the road from us

and we had reached the second garden of this trip, the garden of the Byzantine Museum.

Bougainvillea by the entrance

and the museum building on our left

The park meanders through the garden

In the distance we could see the Lycabettus Hill, the little church perched on top

Lots of eucalyptus trees in the garden

and some antiquities.

I always think that this sculpture is wasted in its glass box, it's so difficult to see it properly.


It's a circular path so eventually we ended up in front of 

the museum building

past this sculpture by Konstantina Bolieraki

Up the steps

past the restaurant

and we found ourselves at the front of the building. We saw the exhibition which was excellent and then it was time for lunch.

We decided against sitting in the restaurant area as they had these huge air-conditioners which were extremely noisy

and moved on to the cafe area where you can still sample the lunch menu. We ate in splendid isolation 

the garden in front of us. We could see lots of greenish birds that flew around, favouring the nearby fig tree whose foliage was identical to that of their feathers so that once they landed on its branches, you could not distinguish them. We decided that they must be parakeets - why there were so many in this garden we could not fathom given that we have not seen them anywhere else in Athens.

We left the museum after our lunch

admired this gorgeous tree

and then it was time to go home.