We awoke back in Athens bright and early, disembarked and hopped on the bus! We got to know our new tour director, Elena, as we drove out of Athens. She studied archaeology and we could tell right away she would be a fantastic director for the rest of the trip.
Our ultimate destination by the end of the day was Olympia. But there was plenty to see along the way. To get to the peninsula, we crossed over the Corinth Canal and stopped for pictures. It was beautiful, albeit small, and is not very useful today with the size of modern ships.
Our first full stop of the day was at Epidavros. The ancient small town was known for its sanctuary and theater. The theater is still in use today – we climbed to the top and took in the beautiful view. Then we visited the museum where there are artifacts from the sanctuary and temple. Again, the detail in these pieces in incredible. I cannot imagine how long it took for a sculptor to create these pieces, let alone put them all together to form life-size statues and whole buildings. Definitely worth the stop.
After a delicious lunch, our afternoon stop was in the ancient city of Mycenae. We first visited an ancient beehive tomb, just outside the walls of the ancient city. Some think was the tomb of Agamemnon (commander of the Greek front against Troy). Beehive tombs are really cool and most did not survive tomb thieves as they collapse in on themselves once the keystone is removed from the top. This one, though, was dug out from the side to the actual entrance.
We continued to the city, where we entered through the Lion Gate. The walls are still very intact and it is a hike to the top. But the view is amazing. I would build my kingdom there too. The palace was built around 1600 BC, but there were tombs discovered next to the palace wall that are at least 400 years older. Crazy!
We continued our drive into the night to the beautiful Europa Hotel in Olympia, where dinner was waiting at the hotel and we were exhausted! So many great things to see and experience!