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Table of Content for monuments:

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2024/05/02 Athen's Acropolis Museum
π 2024-05-02 01:01 in Greece2024, Monuments, Museums
Day #2 in Athens was to go through museums, and of course Acropolis Museum was a major one to see. It was very well built and layed out, and looked well done. It was nowhere close in size, but it was Louvre quality.

















storing black powder and ammunition there during the war
storing black powder and ammunition there during the war

turned out to be a big mistake and responsible for most of the damage seen today
turned out to be a big mistake and responsible for most of the damage seen today


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2024/05/02 Athen's Panatheanic Stadium
π 2024-05-02 01:01 in Greece2024, Monuments, Museums
The Panatheanic Stadium was rebuilt for the 2004 greece olympics, and it does look quite good. Much better than the original site at Olympia which wasn't very stadium-like by our current standards :)











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2024/05/01 Ancient Agora of Athens
π 2024-05-01 01:01 in Greece2024, Monuments
The Roman Agora, along with Rick Steve's audio tour, was enjoyable to visit. Even if again a lot is missing, the museum had good exhibits of what was found, and the temple of Hephaestus is actually the best preserved temple I saw in Athens.


found lots of cats all around athens, many on this site, and they were friendly
found lots of cats all around athens, many on this site, and they were friendly



more cats :)
more cats :)


christian church added later
christian church added later

Good views from the site, of course:


parthenon doesn't look nealy as good
parthenon doesn't look nealy as good

The museum was good:





this was actually a sensus counter for voting
this was actually a sensus counter for voting


The temple was in pretty good shape:





Also found that athens had wild tortoises roaming around

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2024/05/01 Athen's Parthenon
π 2024-05-01 01:01 in Greece2024, Monuments
The Parthenon is of course what Athens is known for, so I put it first on the list. It's supposed to get very busy during teh summer, but I arrived just during the shoulder season when times were moving from winter to summer hours, and when getting in at 08:00 sharp as it opened (with a timed reservation), the place was pretty nice and quiet. By the time we left, around 10:00, it was starting to be overrun with tour busses.

took the less busy south entrance, got in a few mimutes
took the less busy south entrance, got in a few mimutes





While expectations were probably higher than they should have been, overall the place had suffered too much damage over the years and looked a bit disappointing to me. The fact that it used to house a church for a while, and was also used a munition depot and that a lucky shot during a war, ignitied and exploded all the black powder, causing a huge explosion, did not help. I was disappointd that after 40 years of renovations, it still looked like mostly pile of rubble, but was told later that there is apparently some rule that says you can only add 30% of missing materials, beyond that you're supposed to leave things alone. This is not my field, but I'd have been happy to seen it rebuilt, even if other material, to get a better feel for it. Of course the fact that the british stole half of what was left of the 2 triangle roofs and are keeping it in the british museum, did not help.





what is left of the decorations, the rest were stolen by the british
what is left of the decorations, the rest were stolen by the british

michoko bird!
michoko bird!

The side temple, Erechtheon, looked a bit better:



One big plus of that location is that you can see all of athens from it and see many other sights:



what left of the temple of Olympian Zeus
what left of the temple of Olympian Zeus

and the rebuilt Panathenic Stadium where the 2004 olympic games were held
and the rebuilt Panathenic Stadium where the 2004 olympic games were held


So maybe it was a bit bittersweet, but still very nice to see this site that was on my bucket list for sure

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2024/04/29 Palamidi Fortress in Nafplio
π 2024-04-29 01:01 in Greece2024, Monuments
Nafplio has 2 fortresses, but Palamidi is hard to miss, you see it as soon as you arrive and it's lit up at night. It hangs impossibly on a steep and sideways hill, and it's a miracle and testiment to its construction that it is still standing today. It is built with multiple defense layers and the views from up ther are of course stellar:













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2024/04/11 San Antonio Missions National Park: San Juan, San José, and Mission Conception
π 2024-04-11 01:01 in Monuments, Museums, Texas
The national park is a set of 3 old Spanish Missions, and was interesting enough, to visit:



Seeing a small still working aqueduc was cool:











And here is the 3rd mission:




2024/04/11 The Alamo
π 2024-04-11 01:01 in Monuments, Texas
When I showed up at the Alamo, I knew nothing about it, and the first day I arrived around 11:00 it was a mess of people and completely sold out for the day (both tours and even audioguides), quite disappointing. So I booked a tour the next morning at 09:00 as well as an audioguide as they complement one another (although you have to pay twice), and learned the biased history about the place, which is supposed to show that poor Americans got attacked by blood thirsty Mexicans, unprovoked (that part is not really true), and how they did indeed fight to the death defending the position, which helped other American troops later defeat the Mexicans.
The place has kind of a cult status for courage and bravery, somewhat deserved indeed, but both the tour and audoguide focus mostly on the battle and bravery, while skipping the context of this battle (Americans agreeing to Mexican rule to get land, and then later deciding to secede). Basically why weren't quite martyrs, but they did fight bravely

I'll add that getting tickets online is confusing, google gets you tickets to the church, which are free, but you need an extra ticket for the museum and ideally you want the guided tour or the audioguide, and those do sell out.



the church where the battle ended
the church where the battle ended

some original frescos were found under the plaster
some original frescos were found under the plaster







The museum had lots of artifacts, most of which were acquired by Phil Collins and donated to the museum:



cannonballs to musquet balls
cannonballs to musquet balls

When doing both the guided tour and audioguide, plus the museum, it took close to 3H. I still had to watch the movie after the fact to get the fuller story.

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2024/04/10 San Antonio's Tower of the Americas
π 2024-04-10 01:01 in Monuments, Texas
I typically always go for elevated viewpoints, and did the same, this time around, although after a longish wait for the elevator, we actually got stuck at the top without being able to get around for about 15mn until someone reset whatever safety got triggered and blocked us (high winds, maybe?). The view was ok-ish:





They also had a quick history lesson:





I'd say it's probably somewhat skippable, and somewhat out of town, but it was open when other things had already closed, so I went.

2024/02/28 Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City
π 2024-02-28 01:01 in Mexico, Monuments, Museums
Chapultepec Castle is an interesting historical castle built in Mexico City, originally by the Spanish, and then it was taken by the French which brought a lot of cool things to it, including even some exquisite stained glass made in Paris.
It's pretty far out of the way, a 1h uber ride from town center with rush hour traffic and then It's a bit of a long walk through a park and then uphill from the street (plan an extra 20mn), and google says it can be very busy with long lines, but it was fine the morning I went (early morning is best)

Nice views from the hill:




Had to go through 2 lawyers of security that do not even allow water in. That was non ideal... Eventually got there though, and we paid a private guide who gave us a 1h tour:











the stained glass, shipped all the way from Paris by boat and re-assembled, looked wonderful
the stained glass, shipped all the way from Paris by boat and re-assembled, looked wonderful

I looked up the address in Paris, of course that was over 100 years ago ;)
I looked up the address in Paris, of course that was over 100 years ago ;)

























After the castle, it was another walk through the park to another exit and got to see many vendors, to go to the excellent archeological museum across the street (but still a long walk):


nice insomniac looking owl ;)
nice insomniac looking owl ;)



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2024/02/27 Pyramids of Teotihuacan, Just North of Mexico City
π 2024-02-27 01:01 in Mexico, Monuments
There isn't much left of the pyramid that was in Mexico City (Mayor Templo), but Teotihuacan is very well preserved with its multiple temples, and even some murals are still left, worth the side trip for sure.

Of course, there are some tourist attractions nearby that the tour got to visit first. We first got to learn how Tequilla is made out of cactus, as well as all the things that cactus can be used for:


there is an anti sweat layer inside that can be used as paper
there is an anti sweat layer inside that can be used as paper

the fibers can also be used as strings
the fibers can also be used as strings


mezcal is mostly tequilla with worms in it ;)
mezcal is mostly tequilla with worms in it ;)


I did mention that masked wrestling is a big thing in Mexico?
I did mention that masked wrestling is a big thing in Mexico?






Then it was time to visit the temples:


the murals were impressive
the murals were impressive
















Very cool place, very happy to have seen it


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