Further Incidents of Travel
(Return to Athens)

The Search for the Forgotten Pyramids of Greece
with Folly and Bravado

Having seen, explored, clambered up, over and into everything that might offer any clues, it was time to leave the Peloponnese and head back to Athens. On our way back though, we couldn't resist another look at Hellenicon, the best example of these Argolan pyramids to have survived the ravages of time, earthquakes and the church builders. A second take, now that we're more familiar with all that has gone on throughout the aeons in this land where historical fact is so deeply intertwined with mythical legends, helped firm our hypothesis but still didn't provide any definitive answers. Perhaps the Museum of Archaeology in Athens might hold the elusive key.

Driving in Athens is bad at the best of times but when it comes to Friday evening and the rush hour here, we have only one piece of advice, don't. As taxi veterans of both Mexico City and Cairo, we thought we'd seen traffic mayhem at it's best but Athens has it's own special variation. Whereas Mexico and Cairo have little by way of any official procedure, Athens has plenty. Only nobody seems to take much notice so actually stopping at a red light simply incurs the wrath of all the drivers behind you who vent their frustrations by adding the shrill tones of their horns to the existing cacophony of un-silenced motorbikes, screeching tyres and bellowing buses. It's an absolute living nightmare, especially if your not entirely sure where you are or where you're going. We yearn for the comparative tranquillity of an LA freeway or the M25 where at least, civility and an easy understanding of the local etiquette, is comprehensible to all.

We parted company with the expedition vehicle earlier than necessary, mainly because there was nowhere to park it in this city. The few uninhabited feet of kerb we did manage to find on one corner soon had us in row with a local. We'd inadvertently trapped his status symbol behemoth in the narrow side street and we were quickly forced to move on. Despite the limitations of it's Coke can construction, we'd pushed it well beyond it's design parameters and certainly, in our drive in archeological style, well beyond the sensible limits of our rental agreement. Fraught and weary, our sixth request for room at the inn finally resulted in the accommodation we were now desperately in need of.

It's becoming something of a trend with Folly and Bravado expeditions that the museums themselves always come as something of a disappointment. It's not that they haven't got lots of things we enjoy viewing, it's more that the bits we really need to see always seem to be shut and so it was again in Athens. The earthquake of 1999 caused serious damage so available space is now significantly more limited. The information we sought on things like varying styles of wall construction, cultural/area occupation time lines and so forth is not a priority. It's the golden baubles, treasure trinkets and the magnificent bronze sculptures that draw the tourist dollars and that's exactly what they deliver. Don't get us wrong, we'd be happy to take most of it home but it didn't solve any of the questions we'd hoped it might. The accompanying book shop was a museum exhibit in itself, 35mm slides and postcards with not a CD-ROM or anything more than a coffee table book to be had, so no help there either.