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Day 17: sunrise at the Acropolis 

I got up early this morning and walked through the deserted streets towards the Acropolis. The night before, a fellow hostel-goer had recommended that I see the sunrise by the Acropoplis. I decided to take this advice. The streets were almost unrecognisable without the usual bustle of street stalls and restaurant owners valiantly trying to tempt people in. I clambered up the slippery rock which had been worn smooth by the feet of a thousand tourists. I found a perch at the top. A couple of Greeks were already watching the sky gradually lighten, collecting rubbish and grumbling about Americans.

As it reached six o’ clock, a church bell sounded and the sky over Lycabettus hill flamed orange. The night before, my sister and I had climbed this hill in time to view the sunset over the Parthenon. Now it seemed fitting to be witnessing the sunrise from its partner viewpoint.

It was too early to hear the full roar of traffic but instead I listened to the cacophony of birds. Swifts flitted back and forth across the sun, seemingly for the pure pleasure of another day. The light became more intense and, at last, the sun broke over the hill. The first rays of yellow light hit the columns and all the ruins spread out below. It was quiet, gorgeous and a brilliant way to say goodbye to Athens for now.

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