More Athens Sightseeing

On Sunday morning July 18th, I headed downtown again to the House of Parliament.
Each Sunday at 10:45 AM there's a cermonial changing of the guard in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The crowds and pigeons gather, as a military band lines up near one of the guard booths.

Traffic stops on Amalias Avenue, and another military band crosses and marches towards Parliament.

Then come this contingent of soldiers, called evzones, like the ones guarding the tomb,
taking exa/jimages/ggerated steps in comforatble looking shoes.

They arrive center square, and 3 of them head up the stairs. Two will relieve the guards on duty.

The two guards then take slow, exagerrated steps back to their posts.

Then the band departs,

followed by the rest of the evzones.

Finally, wreaths are placed in front of the tomb.

Next to the Parliament is the National Gardens,
designed in 1839 by Greece's Queen Amalia to be the gardens of what was then the palace.
In addition to about 500 species of plants, the Gardens are also feature this duck pond

and a small zoo, home to several animals

as well as birds, including, for some reason, pigeons and lots of chickens.

I left the gardens and again passed by the Parliament,
taking this picture of a guard and the wreaths placed a short time earlier.

Next stop is Lycabettus Hill, the highest in Athens (277 meters or 912 feet), with views in all directions.
Needless to say, there are LOTS of these steps

which are flanked much of the way by cactii and what look like giant
--I'm talking 4-5 feet high--aloe plants.

A couple of views from up top

The small 19th century Chapel of St. George and this bell tower top the site.

Finally, today's Athens tidbit. Gas is about $5 a gallon here.
In addition to having lots of motorcycles and scooters on the city streets,
you see plenty of these tiny Smart cars, which are barely big enough for 2 people, if both are small.
You'd need a shoe-horn to get me into one of these.

That's all for now.
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