In May 1985 when my five year lease on my first wife was about to expire, we deposited our children in Jenkintown, PA and started a nine day bus tour from Athens across the Isthmus of Corinth and its canal to have lunch in Corinth and climb to the Acrocorinth to see the Temple of Aphrodite.
After lunch we walked thru the Temple of Apollo and the Priene fountain in Ancient Corinth and then climbed aboard our bus to travel into the Argolid for a stop to see the ancient theater of Epidaurus and the ancient city of Troezen. Finally we drove to Naplion and an overnight stay at a pretty hotel near the ruins of the Fortress of Palamidi. At the end of a near perfect day we made a sunset climb up the 1000 steps to the Fortress of Palamidi for an impressive view over the Argolic Gulf and the island of Bourtzi.
Early next morning we spent a little time at the fortress of Tiryns. I knew Ancient Tiryns only from the Iliad as a place that had sent a contingent of men and ships under the leadership of Odysseus' friend Diomedes, to help regain Helen from the Trojans. We then reboarded our bus and drove to the citadel at Mycenae. The ruins of the Mycenaen Acropolis are almost flesh-crawlingly awesome. The Lion Gate is the earliest known piece of monumental sculpture in Europe. As you enter its defensive L shape it takes you to the interior of the acropolis, and a steep path leads your climb through several ancient buildings and pathways, toward the King's Megaron where Agamemnon was murdered by his wife Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus after he returned victorious from the Trojan War. Near the megaron we descended into an area for the cistern of the acropolis. The Grave Circle A containing six royal shaft graves, is located just inside the Lion Gate. It was excavated in 1870 by Heinrich Schliemann who found many grave objects including the gold death masks now located at the Archaeological Museum in Athens. All that remains today of the acropolis are the building foundations that outline the ancient palace quarters, and the immense wall that crowns the top of the hill.. In leaving the acropolis we stopped for a few minutes at the what is called Clytemnestra's Tomb and again at the Treasury of Atreus.
Leaving the Argolid our guide spoke of the location of Ancient Nemea which was famous in Greek myth as the home of the Nemean Lion, which was killed by the hero Heracles . Next we passed the archeological site of Ancient Lerna where Heracles bested the Hydra. as we drove on toward Tripoli, the capital of Arcadia Prefecture. After lunch near Tripoli we reboarded our bus to continue on to our hotel in Olympia, a pleasant little tourist town near the ruins of Ancient Olympia. Ancient Olympia is of course famous as the site of the original Olympic games first hosted in 776 BC. The most visited site is the stadium and it looks like most of the ancient Greek stadiums with a long rectangular sand area and grassy slopes surrounding it for viewing.
After leaving Olympia next morning we traveled to Rio a port just north of Patras where the bus was driven on to a ferry for the trip across the Gulf of Patras branch of the Ionian Sea to Andirio. Leaving the ferry we drove south along the Gulf of Lepanto to the city of Navpaktos where the naval Battle of Lepanto was fought in October 7, 1571. There are those of the Christian faith who would claim that this was the most decisive event in world history. We then followed a beautiful road up into the mountains to our hotel In Amfissa which was to serve as our exploration base for examining the sites in Ancient Delphi.
Next day we were hard pressed to get enough time to first visit the museum and then weave our way up the Sacred Way to the Temple of Apollo, the King of Argos Monument, the Athenian Treasury, the Bouleuterion, the Stoa of Attalos, and the fourth century theater before climbing on to the top to see the best preserved stadium in all of Greece. Before boarding the bus back to Athens we descended to visit the Castelian Spring and the Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia.
Next day we visited the National Archaeology Museum in Athens and rode the funicular to the top of Lycabettus Hill for our last view of Athens before departing next morning to return home to the beginning of the most troubling years of my life.
In those nine wonderful days I had fallen hopelessly in love with Greece and was determined to return in circumstances where I would not need to meet a tour bus schedule and could be at the sights during times when they were not crowded with tourists making odd comments.
Images of Greece 1989