JULY 7, 1953
ATHENS, Greece—I think the small temple near the American excavations in Athens is a very beautiful one, quite perfect, and, while it was done by a rival architect, I understand, at the time when the Parthenon was being rebuilt, there was certainly no law in those days against copying for both men seem to have copied from each other.
We lunched with Director Thompson and the group working on the American excavations and we enjoyed it very much.
In the afternoon I saw a delightful young Greek publisher who is a business acquaintance of my son, Johnny, at teatime. He is interested in the Greek America Corporation to promote the exchange of Greek art and culture with the best things from our own country coming here as well. They hope this exchange will grow into industrial and commercial interchange.
Greece is a poor country Mr. Botsis said, but it has many riches both of past and present with which she would like to acquaint other nations.
One feels age all about one here, ruins everywhere and not the ruins of the last war only.
In the afternoon I drove out to a very charming old 11th century church with very well preserved mosaics, some of them very remarkable because they do not seem stylized. Actually the figures seem like living figures that one might meet today in some part of the world.
Back of the little church of Daphni was a green hillside with trees which seemed to be evergreens and which looked lovely, but absolutely nothing grows under them. The hills look bare to me and I suppose this is not the time to expect everything to be springlike since no rain seems to fall at this season.
Real summer has begun and the Greeks live their lives in a very sensible fashion. The museums close at two o'clock, shops are closed, too, and do not reopen till five or five thirty, but they do stay open on Saturdays. From five thirty on life begins again, people sit out on the sidewalks drinking and eating and late into the evening in a square not far from my hotel the tables are filled with people enjoying the cool evening air.
We went out for dinner along the shore and instead of being warm to my surprise in the evening breeze everybody was really chilly and we learned something about the change of climate in this part of the world. It was beautiful, however, with the lights gleaming across the harbor.
After our return we went and sat on the square for a few minutes and had what they call vanilla ice cream but there was very little cream in it. We noticed how many American signs there were around us. America is having an influence in the world but whether it is bringing us friends or not, I don't know.