November 15, 2017:
Long chat with the intelligent and friendly volunteer at the ticket booth. Amazed — I mean, really shocked — to be told that when I came here in 1979 there was no fee, no ticket booth, no sections roped off, and absolutely no-one here, leaving myself and my two student companions free run of the ruins.
She tells me, "The government had been trying to restore and preserve these wonderful sites, but the financial crisis has interrupted the work. Since then there's no money to pay for progress, and the sites are frozen as they were before the economy collapsed."
She adds, "You're aware of the financial crisis?"
Yup. She's surprised: it's not something many American visitors seem to have taken notice of, apart perhaps from the favorable exchange rate.
I tell her, "I've followed the Syriza experience with great enthusiasm, and great disappointment."
At that she nods very gravely. "As have we all," she says, sadly. As have we all.