Greece

 Santanu Misra / October 18, 2004
1306 words ; 7 minutes read

After coming back from Italy we were looking for a week long vacation

and the obvious choice was Greece but waited till Olympics 2004 to

finish. We figured out from all the guidebooks and Internet that all the

major historical sites are quite far from each others. As we had no plan

for renting and driving we opted a guided tour for the main attractions.

We were very skeptical initially but at the end it turned to be very

good meeting new people and quality of service was very good. After

finishing our 5-day trip we went back to Athens and from there we went

to Santorini. The most famous Cycladic island in the Aegean Sea where I

realized I got one more year older. We started from Paris Friday evening

and reached at midnight.

Day-1

We started our day early as the tour bus picked us at 7:20AM. After

getting transferred to another bus we headed out of Athens on Saturday

morning. The first we made was at Corinth Canal 80 KM south of

Athens.

This is a manmade canal 6 kilometer long which connects Gulf of Corinth

in northwest and Sardonic Gulf in the southeast. Ancient Greeks knew the

importance of this location. Journey between Aegean and Adriatic was

other wise longer around Peloponnese. The canal was built in 1890.

Before the canal was build the old Greeks started using a unique

technique in the years of 600 BC. They made a stone road and then

transferred the ships from one side to the other over a wheeled platform

known as `diolkos`.

From there we went to visit the remains of Mycenae civilization. This

site is one of oldest site in Greek civilization. The first was around

4000BC but the peak was around 1200 BC late Bronze Age. Next to it is

Mycenaean tholos tomb, it consists of circular burial chamber with a

long passage. The keystone is at the center of dome. And it used to

place very delicately fearing the structure will collapse in itself if

the pressure was too much.

After lunch we vised Epidaurus. Theatre of Ancient Epidaurus has the

best natural accosting where the sound is heard all over the theater

with same volume and clarity. The factors are the oval shape, the stones

that are used and most of the air that is blowing from stage to

audience.

From there we went to Nafplion we spent the evening and night there.

Nafplion was the capital for Greece when it was getting out of Ottoman

rules before capital was moved to Athens.

Day-2 Olympia

We visited the ancient site of Olympia where Olympic games used to

happen 2500 years ago. In the sanctuary of Olympia principal temple is

temple of Zeus. Other important buildings are, temple of Hera (wife and

sister of Zeus) and the Philippeion built by Philip-II father of

Alexander the Great. The stadium is still there which is around 200

meters long. In olden days only Greeks were allowed to take part in the

game.

The museum also hold lots of objects in marble, bronze from this site.

Greeks do complain about French that they looted artifacts to Louvre

when they started the first excavation in 1829. Now it is German and

Greek who looks after the current excavation.

Day-3 Delhi

This was a long bus journey as we cross the Peloponnese and went to?

Greek main-land. On the way we crossed the recently inaugurated

suspended bridge at Rio.

We stopped at one Greek shop for a small break. Then we passed by the of

Port of Nafpaktos. The journey included lots of twisted turns to reach

the hill top from sea level.We visited the sanctuary dedicated to Athena

Pronaea. The tholos is the main building here. The Tholos circular

building in Doric order, built in ca. 380 B.C. Its function remains

unknown but it must have been an important building, judging from the

multi-colored stone, the fine workmanship and the high-standard relief

decoration. The monument was partly reconstructed in 1938.

The Gymnasium was a complex of buildings used by the youths of Delphi

for their education and practice. It was constructed in two levels: on

the upper was a stoa and a free open space used for running practice,

and on the lower was the palaestra, the pool and the baths (thermal).

Day-4 Delphi

The day was cloudy and had rain in the morning. We started with the

sanctuary of Apollo, on the southern tip of the mountain slope. The

Doric temple was the home of the Pythia, who, seated on a tripod above a

deep crevasse, would pronounce her prophecies while the priests wrote

them down and translated them to the people.

Rich and powerful people of that time wanted to know the future and the

answer was always never straight so it could have been interpretated

“yes” or “no”.

Delphi was consider as the center of the world that time as God Appalo

left two eagles in opposite direction to find the center and they meet

here at the foothill of Mount Parnassos.

Then we visited the mesuem of Delphi before heading to wars more north

to Meteora.

Day 5 Metora Athens

It was raining a lot and the mountains were covered with cloud. We could

hardly see any thing 3 meters from us. It was bit of disappointment. But

could not complain in mid-October with rain. The monastery are built on

big rocks. After visiting 2 monastery we started for Athens.

After checking-in a hotel at Athens we went for dinner. It was bit cold

for the first time due to sudden rain and gusty winds. We went to a

Italian place for dinner and the food was too good with fresh bread and

pasta. On the way back to hotel we captured some prominent buildings at

night light.

Day 6 Athens

In the morning the sky was clear again and it was very nice day. At

first we booked our tickets to Santorini for that evening .Then we went

to the Acropolis. The guards were on strike for a pay rise till noon so

have to wait a bit there. But standing in the queue early paid off as we

entered as soon the gate opened. This site have biggest acropolis we

visited. There are so many things to see , the reconstruction work is

going on and the museum is quite big.

From there we went to Temple of Olympian Zeus and then we walked back to

Ancient agora. It was lot of walk between these archiological sites back

and forth; thank God I took my hiking shoes.

On our second day at Athens after having a speedy lunch we rushed to

Athens ferry station. The ferry ride to Santorini was around 9 hours. It

is long but this was the cheapest way to get there. We reached there

around 2.00am in the morning

Day 7 My birth day

It was holiday within holiday. As I planned not to visit any more

archaeological sites or museum anymore. Got the laundry done, got my

hair cut; relax was the mantra for that day. I rented a scooter and we

went to beach. It was fabulous the water so warm and relaxing. Drove

around with that little scooter to take picture of those white churches

with blue dome.

Day 8

Still in Santorini took more pictures and rested. After lunch we have to

start back for Athens again. Wish we had few more days here. Big KIDDOS

to Pamela for insisting to include Santorini in our list of place to

visit in Greece.

Day 9

Back to Athens watched the change of guard at 11AM infront of

Parliament. Did walked in Pacca area again, picked few souvenirs. We

also visited here and there to take some pictures of Byzantine Churches

in particular.

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