|Today we started our 4 day trip through mainland Greece. We were picked up on a lovely new bus that wasn't even full. We headed out of the city and had our first stop at the Corinth Canal. This canal is pretty amazing as it is only 25 metres wide, 80 metres above sea level and 6000 metres long. The layers of rock that were cut through makes you wonder how it was done in the 1800's.
From there we travelled to the theatre of Epidarus. The theatre was part of an entire complex built in 11th Century BC. After the second level was added, it had a capacity of 14,000. It is in remarkable shape although most of the other structures here have been destroyed by earthquakes. The acoustics are unbelievable!
Next stop was Mycenae to visit the archeological site and the Tomb of Agamemmon or Treasury of Arteus. This site dates back to between 16th and 11th century BC. The Lions Gate in is quite famous and made of 4 stone blocks, each weighing 18 tons. At the top is the earliest European coat of arms. One theory is it represents the joining of Crete and Mycenae. At the lower level you see the Royal Grave circle A which is one of six graves with 19 bodies discovered by Sleeman in 1876. These shaft graves came before the tombs used at end of the Mycenaens. The ramp led to the Royal Palace at the top of the hill - a perfect view of the sea and surrounding countryside. A short drive away we visited the Tomb of Arteus. This massive structure made some of the other stones look small. The centre stone weighs 120 tons, the stone across is 9 metres long and there are 33 circle stones forming the dome. Six if these tombs have been excavated.
We had a short stop at Napflion to see the 2 fortresses before stopping for a late lunch. After lunch we headed west across the Peloponnesus first through the mountains and later some plains. This area is known for olives, figs, oranges and other fruits. The landscape changes a lot and some of it even looks like the Okanagan, complete with snow capped mountains in the background. The spring flowers are beautiful - red, yellow, pink, purple, white.
We learned some olive facts today. There are 120 million olive trees in Greece. Trees can grow to be 1000 years old. Old trees have ver thick trunks with many holes. The olives are bitter when first picked.
We arrived in Olympia after 6 and a chance to sit by the pool and a drink before eating again! Another nice hotel but we under estimated the weather and it is a bit chilly tonight despite being nice during the day.