Apr 15, 2014

Greek Odyssey - Day 3

An eventful Day 2 over with visits to the Acropolis, the Parliament House and bouts of shopping, the wait was for the the next day, planned to be as eventful as the prior two.

Post a sumptuous breakfast (it always is amazing to note how much one can eat when on holiday, as compared to a working day), proceeded in our luxury bus (of course, when one is not driving and the seats are comfortable, the bus is luxury), for our first stop at the Corinth Canal.

A Credit to the builders
How does one describe the Canal? A Marvel of Engineering, a feat of Human perseverance, determination of men, who dreamed to do some thing great. Simply speaking the canal connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Gulf in the Aegean Sea. It cuts through the Corinth Isthmus and separates the Peninsula from the Greek mainland, effectively, making it an Island (part from facts, part from Wikipedia). 

What is amazing about the canal is that is an Engineering feat achieved in modern times, in the 19th - 20th century. The purpose of course being to use that as a channel to divert traffic rather than having small ships navigate all the way via the Suez Canal. It may or may not have achieved its purpose in it's day and time, however the fact does remain that as one looks at it, one can only imagine the determination of the people involved in cutting through the ridges all the way to the Sea Level to achieve what was probably a dream, a need, but ended up being a classic.

Next on route was a trip to Mycenae, a major center of civilization during the 2nd Millennium BC, mainly built by immigrant Greeks. The place is more known for the fortress and the citadel built during that time, also considered as an Acropolis. A key feature of the Citadel is the Lion's Gate, the entrance to the fortress, where two lionesses feature on the roof of the gate. What they represent is probably another story, on another day.

Lion's Gate
As we trudged up the fortress, the view was a sight for sore eyes. Looking at the structures built, purely out of stone, one could only marvel at the period in question, the knowledge, and the vision that the rulers of the time possessed. 

Interesting facts being that most of the stones averaged at about 10 tons, and if manpower was used, it would have taken around a 100 years before the fort was built. Of course that is the minimum average, with some of the stones going as high as 20 - 100 tonnes each. No machinery, no fork lifts, no cranes, all human power to pull, push, lift, settle, with not a stone out of place. The vision of the rulers who wanted to build the forts, the skills of the persons doing the task. the Tomb of the Kings.. Amazing.

Another site of note was the Great Theatre of Epidaurus, used for dramatic performances. What is breathtaking is the symmetry and the beauty of the Theatre, which was built in the 4th Century BC. A perfectly oval shape, the grandeur of the theatre can leave only only wondering at the era's gone by and the greatness of the civilizations of the centuries gone by. The lush green surroundings which encompass the theatre, is a venue of peace and tranquility.

The key feature of the Theatre is the fabulous acoustics that it possesses. Standing at the centre stage and speaking in a theatre built of lime stones, the manner in which a match struck standing in front of 15,000 people is heard by all... A spectator sitting right at the very top of the theatre, being able to listen to every word the performers speak, in an era of no technology, an era of no microphones, an era of no booming speakers, simply based on acoustic designs, is simply mind blowing. And this done in the 2nd Century BC ! Being there and having this heard via live testing of a match being played and listening to it on the 20th row. No words to express the feeling.

Courtesy Gitesh
Of course the day covered a few other sites. Driving around Nafplion, seeing the Royal Tomb and the Cyclopean Walls at Mycenae, and of course not to forget a brilliant lunch at a local Greek restaurant. After eating horrible food at local Indian restaurants, (where we had food in oil), this was a superb break. One does tend to eat the same food when one travels, not lose the feeling of going away from home, but then, what fun it is to taste your same food that you have day in, day out?

The simplicity of the food, the freshness of the fruits (imagine buying 10 Kilos of Oranges for 3 Euros), the sweetness, looking at orange farms streaming through the road sides, the breathtaking views when travelling within cities, miles of coastal areas, made the day a memorable one and forget yet another forgettable dinner.

Evening back at the Hotel, and looking forward to another day of a tour, this time a boat cruise! Until the next one.

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