OPINION

Note from a frustrated, saddened tourist

You are so right («Tourism, an ailing industry,» May 9). I left Greece last week saddened and frustrated. As a tourist today it seems unreasonably difficult to plan visits to Greek sites of world importance which seem to be opened and closed at the whim of the staff. Guidebooks are, literally, a waste of time. Websites cannot be trusted. Only a few days ago, Mystras shut at 3, not 7 p.m.; Mycenae closed before we could get there. Tiryns, an honorable exception, didn’t close but nor did it appear to keep published hours. What a mess; what a disappointment. It is a sadness that much needed national and international funds for great heritage sites like these are drying up. That is due to world economic conditions but, after bad experiences, the visitor wonders whether a cent more should go to a Culture Ministry evidently incapable, as your editorial suggests, of managing its archaeological abundance. Some may go further and see such incompetence as ample reason why no one should raise a finger to fill Bernard Tschumi’s splendid New Acropolis Museum with Lord Elgin’s loot, presently resting in London. At least there, an important part of the Parthenon frieze can be seen by all – at a predictable time and no cost. IAN WRIGHT, Clomany, Ireland.