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Day 3 - Athena claims her vacation property


Location - Sounion - Aegeon Hotel

“Okay mom, can you please promise me that my name isn’t going to be a big deal this trip? I mean, can you please not mention it all the time, to everyone, everywhere we go, and make it an excuse for us being here? It’s embarrassing!”

She said this in the airport after we saw the first sign with Athens spelled “Athina.” And I understood. Teenage self-consciousness is a formidable taskmaster.

But after a quick trip to the underwhelming Lavrio — a could-be cute port town that has obviously suffered from the recent economic troubles — we stopped in at the Temple to Athena.

This is a much overlooked sideshow to the main Sounion site. It is bit down the hill and so sadly unattended that it currently remains unguarded. It is the remains of a few rather small structures, and not much is left of the temple beyond its foundation stones. The view from this spot, however, is almost as stunning as that from Poseidon’s grand mansion further up the hill.

At the base of the site, I made Athena (reluctantly) pose at the small sign. I think she only let me because the place was deserted; we had it totally to ourselves for the duration of our stay.

When we got up top, I watched Athena carefully read and absorb the informational placard until she able to inform us about the significance of every pile of rubble. Then she went and stood inside the temple’s rectangle of stones. I think there is something quite special about being able to be inside the space rather than on the edge behind ropes; it helps one feel the majesty of even so humble a site.

There is one stone in the very centre that is indicated as the pedestal for the statue of Athena. I asked my Athena to stand on it for a picture and was surprised when she willingly did so. She even corrected me on which direction she should be facing. She was then contemplative and quiet as she explored every inch of the space, even kneeling to touch some of the smallest of pieces of marble. She didn’t even mind when we joked that she’d really let her seaside summer home go and mentioned how we hoped to find her city centre penthouse in better shape. It was delightful to see her own her own name despite her professed desire to remain incognito. I think she may have left with a tiny piece of marble. I know this is against the rules, but I couldn’t bring myself to stop her.

After another afternoon of swimming in the Aegean, we returned to Uncle Poseidon’s fancy house in order to get that sunset experience for which the place is famous. The colours were magnificent, but it was quite windy, and the jet lag was hitting Triumph hard by that point.

Nevertheless, it was a lovely day on which to end our time on the southern tip of Attica.