(or jump to photos!)
5/29: Day Three, Athens to Corinth to Mycenae to Napflion to Olympia
Oh yeah, this day started with another 4 hours of sleep. So, I napped on the bus on the way to our first stop, the canal at Corinth. At first, I couldn't figure out why they'd have us come and see a canal, until Dora told us a little bit about it and we saw it in real life. People actually cut through the land in order to create this canal; originally, they had to drag ships across the land from one sea to another. From the top of the land down to the water level, it's 80 meters, but the water is actually only 8 meters deep. It was pretty damn weird looking, and also amazing, considering the fact that people did this on their own.
The Corinth canal. Doesn't that look cool?
Back on the bus, we started the long trip to the citadel at Mycenae, Agamemnon's palace. The drive there was pretty weird because it looked a lot like the backroads of Napa, even down to the vineyards that surrounded us. I had a hard time believing that I was even in another country, because it looked so much like the Napa area.
The path towards the foot of the citadel.
Alexis, Jessica, Caroline, Andy, Matt, and Jenna look raptly at the tour guide, Dora...
...as she talks about the site and shows mappy stuff.
The climb to the citadel was not easy. We started at the Lion Gate, which is called that because there's this massive keystone-like carving sitting on the lintel of the main gate that looks like... surprise!... lions. (On purpose, of course.) We climbed to the top of the citadel over these really intensely slippery marble rocks, which had been worn smooth by years of feet, and these little kids decided that I looked like a handy lever, so they took my hand (or my purse, or whatever part of me was available), and launched themselves up the hill using me. I had to chuckle to myself because suddenly, I felt very maternal. It was sweet.
The citadel wall. Ooh. Rocks.
Look at all the tourists! (And, of course, the valley below.)
Alison and Caroline enjoy being at the top.
At the top of the citadel, there is an amazing view of the valley below (which is precisely why the citadel is there). You can see the fortress Palamedes from there (at least, that is what I think that fortress was... maybe it was another?), and that way, Agamemnon could control the whole valley. We walked over to the cistern (well, hiked) and climbed down into it as far as we could (it got dark fast), enjoyed the coolness, and then walked back to the bus.
Alison tries to light up the cistern with a flash.
In this time, I had gotten sunburnt. Go me.
Next stop: the beehive tombs, 100m away. These tombs were built to be covered with dirt and look like a hill; all they had to do to hide them was cover the door with dirt, and no one could find them. It was very musty and barren inside.
The beehive tombs from a distance... wow, they look a lot like hills, eh?
The outside and inside of the beehive tomb.
Jessica, Caroline, Alison and Debbie.
On the way to lunch, we stopped at an artifacts place, where I bought a cool red figure-style pot for me. It sort of sucked to look at these replicas, because I know a whole LOT about Greek pottery from my time as a ceramicist, and I know exactly how they did red/black figureware: with slip. These were painted. But, I sucked it up and bought one anyway :)
We then drove to Napflion, which was on of the original capitols of Greece, for lunch. This is where Palamedes sits, this incredible fortress built in such a way that invaders could have taken over half of the fortress and a battle could still be waged. There is also an ancient Alcatraz-esque island off the coast which is being turned into a casino (no, I don't get it either). I would so totally live in this town; it's only 1:30 away from Athens, and it's absolutely gorgeous. It looks a lot like Sausalito. Caroline, Sabrina, David, Alexis, Jessica, and I stopped at a Greek fast food place (which just means "We have value meals, but we're mostly a restaurant!") and again, we did club sandwiches. And, of course, our fave soda :) On the way back to the bus, we had ice cream (chocolate for me and C!), and then it was off to Olympia.
Debbie, Nicole, Christine, Nathalie, Alexis, Matt, Jessica, Caroline, Andy, Jenna, Carrie, and Alison, in front of pseudo-Alcatraz.
The Fortress of Palamedes.
During the ride to Olympia, we had to get in front of everyone on the bus and either tell them an embarrassing story, sing a song, or tell a sexual fantasy. I honestly couldn't remember an embarassing moment (and let me tell you, these people would have left me something major to contend with, on any level)... although I would have some later in the trip!, and I sure as hell wasn't about to tell a sexual fantasy to ANY strangers, especially when my sister was sitting right there. No thanks. I had, though, burnt a copy of "Evidence" to a CD mix as the last track so I could play it for Andy, who I had told about it online. So, I played that over the speaker system of the bus.
Result: very blushy Alison.
Caroline told everyone about her IMAX movie and how weird and embarassing it was to see herself so big. She is going to be a motivational speaker when she grows up. Sabrina asked me for a copy of the song for her next day song (!). And then we all fell asleep.
(Sleeping in a bus sucks.)
We woke up about 30 minutes from Olympia. Sabrina had prepared Crispy the Cow, the trip mascot, to be passed to the first person who was to carry him for a day, Debbie (who, incidentally, lives near Caroline and I), and she also got us ready for a game of Killer. She had made 47 slips of paper, and one had a "k" on it... if you got the "k" you were the killer, and you had to try to kill everyone off (via notes) before anyone guessed it was you. If someone guessed wrong, they died. Interesting game.
We ate dinner in the hotel (all meals in the hotels here are like 900 courses, but we didn't know that yet) with Matt and Andy. There was soup, filo with goat cheese, rice w/veggies, this AMAZING lamb, and, of course, fries. Mm. After dinner, we all headed out to this club in Olympia.
Problem in Greece: lots of horny kids, no drinking age. Thus, almost every kid in this club was about 14, and they all tried to dance with us like John Travolta. It sincerely hurt me to watch this. What hurt me almost as much was the fact that Liza, this girl on our trip, got together with this old merchant dude who had sold her jewelery earlier in the day, right in the middle of the bar. Anyway, I danced the night away with only one drink, while I watched everyone else down them like water. We stayed really late and then went back to the room, only to hear talking in one of the rooms. We knocked, and it was Liza, who then decided to tell us repeatedly that she was a "good girl" and didn't do this type of thing, but she was drunk so she couldn't help it. PLUS, he was a good kisser.
In the club in Olympia!