Sunday, December 5, 2010

Saturday Nov 20 - Argolis

The tour outline states:
Depart for a drive along the coastal road to the Corinth Canal, which connects the Aegean Sea with the Ionian Sea, and enjoy a short stop. Continue to Mycenae, the ancient Homeric city of Atreides, to visit the Lion's Gate, the Cyclopean Walls, and the Royal Tombs. Afterwards, depart for Nauplion, the picturesque town situated at the foot of a cliff, crowned by the mighty ramparts of the Palamidi Fortress. Enjoy lunch in Mycenae or Nauplion, and afterwards, continue to Epidaurus to visit the world-famous Epidaurus Theater, considered one of the most beautiful archaeological sites in Greece. Return to Athens.

Since this was considered winter/off season the agenda was slightly altered. Since most of the sights close at 3pm at this time of year, we didn't have lunch until 3pm.

First stop is the Corinth Canal for a break and photo op. The pit stop had your typical tourist shops and coffee bar. We also stopped here on our way back to Athens.

The Corinth Canal (Greek: Διώρυγα της Κορίνθου) is a canal that connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea. It cuts through the narrow Isthmus of Corinth and separates the Peloponnesian peninsula from the Greek mainland, thus effectively making the former an island. The canal is 6.3 kilometres (3.9 mi) in length and was built between 1881 and 1893.







Then we headed along the coastal roads with great views but no stops for photos. This is a fishing farm.


We make a quick stop at Nauplion, the picturesque town situated at the foot of a cliff, crowned by the mighty ramparts of the Palamidi Fortress, however it is noon and the sun is too bright for most photos.




Next stop and a highlight of the day is the Epidaurus Theater.







 There was a school group visiting and one of the girls was singing Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah which sent shivers down everyone's spine! Militsa, our guide, pursuaded her to do it again for us as we were seated in the theatre. The acoustics were amazing. Militsa demonstrated the incredible "sound system" by clapping her hands and then tearing a sheet of paper which could be heard throughout the theatre. Other guides often demonstrate the sound by lighting a match.



Now I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah
Hallelujah

The theater was designed by Polykleitos the Younger in the 4th century BC. The original 34 rows were extended in Roman times by another 21 rows. As is usual for Greek theatres (and as opposed to Roman ones), the view on a lush landscape behind the skênê is an integral part of the theatre itself and is not to be obscured. It seats up to 15,000 people.

The theatre is marveled for its exceptional acoustics, which permit almost perfect intelligibility of unamplified spoken word from the proscenium or skênê to all 15,000 spectators, regardless of their seating.

Back on the bus on our way to Mycenae, the ancient Homeric city of Atreides, to visit the Lion's Gate, the Cyclopean Walls, and the Royal Tombs.











Finally lunch time! This was served family style with very large portions.








Group photo as some of the group would be heading back to the States tomorrow and 10 of us would be moving on to Istanbul. Oh and we have an unknown member of our group who decided to join our photo. Even funnier was her husband taking pictures of our group with her in it!

Then it was time to head back to Athens.


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