In Athens, I led a small private tour for Adam, Drew, Amanda, and Carley earning myself the nickname “Tour Guide Andy”. We ran around Ancient Athens from the Acropolis to the Parthenon to the Agora to the Temple of Zeus and to the original Olympic Stadium just to name a few. At each site, while dodging other tourists, we learned of the history from Lonely Planet’s kindle edition and marveled at the beginnings of western civilization.
The restoration process of some of these sites was in full swing. I have mixed feelings about such rampant restoration. I want to see the sites as they would have originally looked; however, I also want to see what remains from the original builders. Even if it is only a small piece of a much grander building, knowing that small portion comes from the original constructions in the 5th or 6th centuries B.C. would be magical in its own way. In addition, the sites would never be hidden behind scaffolding or bracketed by construction cranes.
That said, walking through the Agora and up the hill to the Acropolis and finding a panoramic view of Athens from its top, was inspirational. It was proof of what people are possible of achieving irrespective of what has been done in the past. It was proof that societies can make big steps forward when given the right mindset. And it was proof that owning the high ground in any situation is advantageous because no one can sneak up on the Acropolis.