All my life I’ve wanted to visit Greece and indulge my passion for ancient history, archaeology and mythology. When my husband first broached the subject of marking our 40th anniversary with a vacation, it came to mind immediately. Thus, we embarked on the trip of a lifetime! Come along for the ride.
This is a continuing series. See other chapters HERE.
Part III: Epidaurus, Nafplion & Mycenae
(Sept. 10, 2013)
[Day One of Four, Classical Greece Bus Tour]
This excursion is an ancient history buff’s dream! Unfortunately, it did not include the ruins at Ancient Corinth, but there’s only so much one can cram into four days. Incentive to return, wouldn’t you say?
Day One Itinerary:
Leave by the coastal road for the Corinth Canal (short stop). Drive on and visit the theatre of Epidaurus, famous for its remarkable acoustics. Then proceed to the town of Nafplion, (short stop), drive on to Mycenae and visit the archaeological site. Depart for Olympia through the central Peloponnesus and the towns of Tripolis and Megalopolis. Dinner and overnight in Olympia, the cradle of the Olympic Games.
We left Athens in the early morning and soon came upon the Corinth Canal, which is extremely narrow, with very high walls. Ideal place for Bungee jumping, as was advertised there. Due to a malfunctioning memory card, my photos didn’t turn out, so I hope you don’t mind this one, from Wikipedia:
A few metres further, there is a unique, submersible bridge:
Next stop was the Theatre of Epidaurus, a world-famous landmark, dating back to the fourth century B.C.. It is still in use today and known for its exceptional acoustics, which were tested by several people, who sang or yodelled at centre stage. Amazing sound!
After Epidaurus, we drove on to the charming town of Nafplion, aka Nafplio. It was the first capital of the new Greek state between 1823 and 1834 and according to mythology, founded by Náfplios, the son of god Poseidon and the daughter of Danaus (Danaida) Anymone. Its history traces back to the prehistoric era when soldiers from here participated in the Argonautic expedition and the Trojan War alike.
On the way in, sits a monument, known as “The Bavarian Lion”. This was commissioned by Ludwig of Bavaria, father of Otto, first King of Greece, in memory of the Bavarian soldiers in Otto’s escort who died during the typhoid epidemic in Nafplio, (which devastated the area between 1833 and 1834). The sculptor, Christian Siegel, (first Professor of Sculpture at Athens Polytechnik), completed the work in 1841. Please excuse the glare marks; shots were taken through the bus window and neither my camera nor photo editing skills are that sophisticated:
The Fortress of Bourtzi sits in the middle of the harbour.
Built in 1471 to protect against pirates, it was used as a hotel from
1930 to 1970 and now serves as host to a yearly Summer Music Festival:
Town centre, known as Philellenes Square, with the Fortress of Palamidi in the background:
The Fortress of Palamidi was built during the second Venetian occupation, in the early 18th century. It is said that one must climb 999 steps to reach the top, but, according to some, the reality is more like 897. Regardless, we had neither the time nor the stamina to attempt that!
After Nafplion, we proceeded to Mycenae, one of the major centres of Greek civilization in the second millenium, BC:
By now, I was on a “history high” and couldn’t wait for the next day!
©D.D.B. 2013 (except as noted)
Coming up: Ancient Olympia and The Gulf of Corinth
What’s YOUR dream destination?