There’s nothing like visiting a place to remind you how ignorant you are of both history and geography. So Greece was occupied by the Ottoman empire for 400 years, until it won independence in 1832, a fact carried in the parts of the skirts of the guards at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier (who gets about a bit, must beam between countries). And Athens, then a small touristy town of 7000 souls, only became Capital in 1834. Of course the city is named after Athena who won a tussle with Poseidon, the irony that it was with an olive tree as a symbol of peace seems lost.

Today it is the meeting place of cultures and architecture, from Greek and Roman ruins to the explosion of buildings in the early 20c driven by mass immigration of refugees. That’s 2million refugees.

And of course Olympic investment in 1896 and 2004. The latter created a new tram system, the former the Panathenaic stadium – rebuilding on the site of original ancient sports ground.

We’ve discovered an open top bus tour is an ideal way to get your bearing and to pick up useless facts. Like in 1896 the marathon was some 21 miles, changing over future years to today’s 26.2… The definitive change to accommodate the UK Royal family’s wish for it to start in Windsor Castle to the royal box in White City Stadium (1908).

I suspect not many private cars are yellow, or if they are they are cheap. All taxis are yellow.

Motor bikes zip around, including on the pavement, though most are very observant of traffic signs and polite, not much tooting.

Smoking is all too common though not much vaping. The Jehovah Witness lot just have bought a global lot for brochure trolleys: the same design here as at home is in use. Homeless people appear fewer.

So today was orientation, setting up the next few days mooching around exploring.

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