Sunday, June 05, 2016

Greece Day 4

6/5/16

Today was a jammed packed day and while it was neat it was also hot - really hot. Poor Mama was about done by the 2nd stop and we had a total of 4, but she toughed through it. The heat here is intense; it may be high 80s, but it's dry and the sun is more intense than it is at home so it very quickly saps your energy. I'm slightly burnt from yesterday - today I put sun screen on, used a hat and stayed under an umbrella, but still got more sun. If I lived over here I would tan or shrivel up like a raisin - only 2 options that would exist.

The day began with breakfast @ 7 AM. For anyone that has known me longer than 5 minutes you know this is insanely early for me. Our bags had to be out by 7 and we were right on the cusp. I have them more ready tonight and a different game plan because tomorrow starts at the same time.

We had a quiet breakfast that I rushed a tiny bit because I wanted to get a good seat on the bus. There is a rotation and I wanted to make sure to not get a bus seat with a window pole in it... makes taking pictures out of the bus easier. We got on the bus right on time and headed out to our first stop of the day - the Corinth Canal.

This was basically a bathroom break, but we did walk over the canal on a walking bridge and took some photos. It was amazing how deep it is. The canal is man made and it connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea. It was built due to the treacherous ride around the point of the Peloponnese but is only used by smaller ships now - it is too narrow for the huge freighters and cruise ships many use today.

One fun TMI thing to note that has nothing to do with the sites - I had to go bra-less today. It was showing in my tank-top and driving me insane so at the Canal bathroom I took it off. Now that I know how hot I got today I'm so glad I did ... I would have sweated to death.

So now that I was less dressed we headed on... The next was the site of Ancient Corinth; where we found the Temple of Apollo. This is one of the few buildings left from before the Romans took over Greece in 46 BC. It was a fantastic site and I think I got some great photographs. We were lucky, it was not terribly busy so I was able to get a few - a few mind you - without people in them. We also saw the Bema, where Paul spoke and was accused of sacrilege by the Jews. We saw the baths and the ruins from several other buildings in Ancient Corinth. Here is a good mock up of what it would have looked like in the day.

I do have to admit upon walking in Ancient Corinth; the site of the city where Paul founded the Church of Corinth; the city that he wrote the two letters too (1st and 2nd Corinthians) I thought I would have been more moved; but it was ruins. Neat ruins, but I had no spiritual significance to me. There were people there on a type of pilgrimage who were praying and worshiping; another group of school children were putting on a religious play for their parents and all I felt was sorry for them as they stood in the hot sun wearing those extremely hot costumes. I know they had to be sweating to death. But no spiritual revelations or moment of awe - maybe it was just too dang hot.

I did however get in trouble by the tour guide :) They give you these headsets so you can hear her from quite a ways away so I was taking pictures while she was giving her "lecture" on the area and I got in trouble for not being with the group. It was comical and as you know I paid about as much attention to it as I do anything. Came over - smiled - and went right on taking my pictures.

We left Ancient Corinth and headed for Mycenae. The drive between the two was really pretty with rolling hills that consisted of various farms - grapes, olives, oranges. It was really pretty. Once we got to Mycenae Mama was already really hot so I gave her my umbrella and Jack and I shared the other one. I was hoping it would keep the sun off of her enough to at least enjoy it a little bit - not sure if it did but hey - I can only do what I can do. Mycenae is an archictual dig site that in all honesty didn't grab my interest. Just too dang hot, but the view was fabulous.

We only walked up to the first level of hte mountain - you could have gone all the way to the top for a better view, but I just couldn't fathom it in the hat. Mycenae was a great city at one time; now it is ruins that they study. Vivian, our tour guide, told us about the battle over Helen that was won with a Trojan horse. The unique item is -Homer, who we know the story of Helen from lived several hundred years before the war. So no one knows what the war was really about they just tie it to his story because it fit so well. What we saw today at this site was:

1) Grave Circle A - Where the Mask of Agamemnon was found. We saw this mask yesterday at the museum. In this grave there were 19 bodies found and over 31 pounds of gold artifacts found.
2) The Lions Gate - Main entrance into the fortified city that Mycenae once was.
3) Gorgeous view of the fields and the sea
4) Tombs of Mycenae - Gigantic beehive shaped tomb that they have no idea what it was used for. It is outside the city walls and is large. There is one piece of Marble over the door that is gigantic... no idea how they lifted it up to that place.

We left Mycenae and headed to Epidaurus. It was a good half hour drive so all of our crew took a little nap - the sun really does zap the energy right out of you. Epidaurus is most known for it's 4th century theater that is still in use. The acoustics were perfect, which Beth proved by singing the Star Spangled Banner. She did amazing until the guards whistled for her to stop :) She knew she wasn't allowed to sing but our tour guide told her don't do it - I know nothing and then said she was leaving the area, basically telling Beth to enjoy herself until she got caught. It was incredible. Beth is a fantastic singer and the sound was amazing. Everyone kept telling her how great she did.

You could hear the same from everywhere in the theater and they still do performances here in the spring. Near this site is also the site of where they discovered some of the first medical instruments proving that medicine was being practiced long before anyone thought. We walked through the museum and saw some of the instruments they discovered; it was neat.

We then left the area - in our air conditioned bus - which by this time was a vital welcome relief. We went to a little picturesque town of Nafplio. We really only had a few minutes here for photos as it was not officially part of our tour, but I'm so glad she deviated to it for us. It was so pretty - sitting on the water. It just captured your imagination and I really wish we had a few more minutes to wander and maybe shop. It reminded me of Burano in Italy.

We then headed to our hotel where I ran to the shower to get the grime of the sun off of me. After showers we took a short nap before heading down to the hotel restaurant for dinner. Dinner was good, it was a buffet and we only stayed a little while. Jack and I then went walking a bit on our own. The hotel itself is fabulous; its an oasis unto itself.

The courtyard has hundreds of birds singing
The pool had a fabulous sunset that was breathtaking
The grassy area was like carpet on your feet
The palm trees were gigantic
The rooms are spacious
And last but not least the bed is comfy and I'm about to roll over and call it a night.

Sleep well dear world - more to come tomorrow :)

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