Greece - In the ancient history
we made our first weekend-trip to Athens in May 2015. That was when the greek administration was running heavy negotiations with the EU and the TV was showing heavy protests on public places. Public news and feedback from friends told us not to go. However wir wanted to draw our own picture. During that weekend we visited most of the attractions and discovered an active and busy city of Athens. This told us to explore more from Greece. We decided to focus on north and south of Peleponnes. For this first trip we looked stayed more on the north with a number of major historical sites.
Arrival in Athens in the evening and leaving next morning northbound to Katakolo, short lunch break in the mountains in Levidi
In Katakolo we landed in a small but brand new familiy owned maritime Hotel on top of the hill of the villages. The name "orizontes view hotel" makes absolutely sence.
The hotel is owned and operated by the pilot and his family. The pilot takes responsibility for all the cruise-ships docking at the harbour. They did not run a restaurant after the opening and told us to take the dinner down in the village. We took a wunderfull walk downhill and found a small fancy greek restaurant and were the only guests. The free choice of seats gave us full panoramic view on the harbour and the sea. Before we left the hotel for dinner they had offered us to give us a lift back from the restaurant when we call them. The restaurant gave them a call after dinner and we got our lift back in the hotel for a night cap at the terrace with seaview again. We did this every evening and enjoyed this pragmatic greek solution.
Next morning brought us into the greek ancient history. Start in Olympia. We were early and therefore lucky that we could walk arround on ourself. They made very good displays on the entire complex and supported by wikipedia on the Ipad we could find all important spots and of course the place where the olympic fire is ignited. This is a huge complex and there are alsways archeological excavations going on. You can see young people going arround, appearing somewhere, disappearing somewhere, tools laying on the ground and countless cords 4 inch high in the air. Be carefull!! The museum opposite of the ground is a must to see.
Next stop is Epidauris, which is the place for god of healing Asklepios. The amphitheater of Asklepios is the best sustained and most popular in Greece
Mycenae is only a ruine in a huge complex. You need to walk up and down hill to get an imagination about the size and shape it must have been in the past. Impressive are the entry with the lions-gate and the Mask of Agamemnon, a gold funeral mask.
When you drive to Peleponnes you have to pass the canal of Corinth. There are 3 ways to pass the canal. I think the most fascinating crossing is the submersible road construction at the west end of the canal. There is bridge with a regular road and way for pedestrians. At this bridge is a memorial with historical information of the bridge. If you got time take both crossings.
The monestry Moni Osiou Patapiou is at a breath-taking location placed at a hill. You need to leave the car at a location and to take the step for the last stairway. Good to access from Loutraki.
Vouliagmeni is a small lagune (nearly lake) at the west end of the peninsula Loutraki. We like the small chapel and all the 10 m wide "canal" connecting the lagune with the sea.
Close by the Cape Ireon is a small bay belonging to an old cult site - Heraion an Choros of Perachora and the small lighthouse Melagavi.
It is fascinating when you go around in this country and you always find remains of a sophisticated culture from the anciient history. We have only seen so far the north of Peleponnes and the small peninsula of Loutraki. It became evident for us, that the public image in the news about Greece is not in line with the country which we have seen. Lot of building, and renovation is going on. The motorways are in very good shape. Food is excellent and affordable. We are looking forward to our next trip to Greece in June.