Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Day 18 Mycene to Athens

Our first stop this morning was Mycene – more ancient ruins – a walled city, with the “Lions Gate” in a wall to enter it by. The lions were remarkably well preserved, and are dated back to 1140BC – one of the best preserved examples from that time. After a wander up the hill, with incredible views over the countryside (a great vantage point to see your enemies coming), we visited the museum also on sight. The pottery was so very fine, and wonderful to look at as it was highly decorated. I was also fascinated by the art – necklaces and beads, statues and figurines of women and bulls mostly. A very worthwhile and well displayed museum. We are by now getting used to the myriads of school children in groups at all these places. Hayden and Sarah were again free entry, so it must be a special thing for students at the moment.

After a few hours drive, we again reached the coast, where the children braved a swim in the Adriatic Sea. The water was a divine blue, and clear as a bell, but it was windy, and the water looked freezing! They stayed in for a good ten minutes, putting on a brave show, but came out realising why there was not another soul swimming on the beach! I imagine that in the summer, you wouldn’t even be able to see the beach for people!

From here we went in search of a`cache in a little hillside village. The GPS really needs to learn how to measure the width of streets, as this was the worst yet. On a steep narrow corner bit, our path was well and truely blocked by a car with no driver. Just before I got out to direct Richard backing back down the hill, a friendly local on her upstairs balcony (no doubt watching in wonder why a camper van was up their little road), gave us a wave and ran inside, coming back out with the phone, where she rang her neighbour across the road and got her to come out and move the car for us (no easy task with no room)!

Up over another very big hill, then we dropped down and down and down to Corinth, where the Corinth canal is. We could see the big freight ships out in the harbour waiting their turn to go through. Apparently this cuts 400 km off the boat trips to go through the man made canal. We drove over the canal, then back again, to look at it – it was very very deep, and only about 26 m wide, and went for just over 6 km. An incredible engineering feat!

I got the honour of driving from there into Athens (oh yes, I was excited – NOT)! Luckily, it was reasonably easy to find the camp ground, even though the stupid GPS took me down one very narrow one way street. I must have had a mean look on my face, because when the cars saw me coming, they quickly got out of the way!

I am not impressed that I had to pay 8 Euro just to wash a load of washing tonight! I have just retrieved it from the dryer (another 4 Euro), and the darned stuff isn’t even dry. Now I have two very unhappy children, because I have set up a washing line across the camper (above their beds) and all the underwear is strung up to dry!

So... its off to bed, as tomorrow we will walk round Athens! I know its going to be hilly, so I am doing my best to not tell my legs that they have to walk up steps and hills again tomorrow!