Our next stop was the new, award winning Acropolis Museum. Opened in 2009, the museum overlooks the Acropolis and organically reflects the flow and shape of the landmark while incorporating an actual archaeological site (of a Christian settlement) in the basement level (much as the Chinese built a structure over the terra cotta warriors, they did the same here, only it is a multi-story museum!). So, as you are walking across the floor of the museum, you are actually walking "over" the site. A little bit unnerving. The collection is awe-inspiring-- including a wide array of artifacts (all found on the grounds of the Acropolis), along with a re-creation of the friezes and metopes that adorned the Parthenon.
We realized mid way through our tour that Wayne had engaged in a serious wardrobe malfunction in selecting his Rosetta Stone British Museum T-shirt for this particular day. The Acropolis and the antiquities there have been pillaged over the centuries. For those not in the know, a particularly discouraging incident was when Lord Elgin ordered the detachment of the greater part of the Parthenon's frieze and shipped it back to the British Museum (where we saw them last year; hence, the inappropriateness of Wayne's wardrobing choice). There is somewhat of a philosophical difference of opinion among art historians (and tour guides) in terms of the actual harm done by Lord Elgin (et al). Apparently, while the rest of the world was very enamored by Greece's treasures, the Greeks were not. So perhaps these "acquisitions" were a blessing in disguise since these unique pieces were actually saved from further damage or destruction.
Two other notes: Though the restaurant was open the whole 4 hours we were there, there were only two sets of people who came in to eat. Obviously they were American tourists, because, as Maria explained, the locals don't come in until 9:30 or 10. Also, here, as in all public places, "No Smoking" signs were prominently displayed (by law). But apparently this is ignored by most people without any repercussion (we did see people smoking in the restaurant the previous night).