11 In Archaeology + History/ Art + Museums/ Greece/ Travel

Greece- Archaeology and the Aegean

I spent  a lot of my time in Greece on the Peloponnese (which is the bottom peninsula south of Athens).  I already wrote about a couple of stops there, but I wanted to blog about a lot of the other stops I made into one condensed article.

I arrived in Patras close to sunset, and left early the next morning.  It was pretty much my stop between Delphi and Olympia, so I didn’t really do much there.  However there is the Rio-Antirion Bridge, which is absolutely beautiful and I stopped at the beginning of the bridge (heading south) and there’s an observation area where you can walk over the road and look straight on at the bridge from an elevated position.  It wasn’t many stairs and is pretty cool for a quick 5 minute stop.

Rio-Antirion Bridge

Rio-Antirion Bridge

I went to the Ancient Olympia Archaeological Site the next morning and it was spectacular.  I went to the museum first.  It was a really interesting and it had a ton of artifacts from the site along with great descriptions and history behind not only the artifact, but the symbolism behind designs.  My favorite piece of art in the museum was a statue head called “Portrait Head of the Statue M. Appius Bradoua”.  There was something about this face that was so captivating I stared at it for literally 5 minutes.  The eyes and mouth just totally drew me in.  After you spend some time in the museum, head on out to the archaeological site.  The site was cool, but having information and history made it even more interesting.  When you walk onto the site, it looks like a bunch or rocks, but when you learn about the boxing, training, etc. that went on in the buildings that are now just ruins, it’s a lot more impressive.  My two favorite parts of the archaeological site were the original olympic track and the ruins of the Temple of Zeus.  The track had this walkway that you enter through this archway and you walk out onto the track, which is actually not round, it’s a straight line that you would run back and forth on.  ( I ran it, and even though it doesn’t look very long, it feels long.)  It was really cool to know that you were running where thousands had run before the common era, where victories were won, and differences were set aside for these competitions and you just ran that same track.  The Temple of Zeus was my next favorite because of the sheer wonder of it.  The temple itself doesn’t seem amazing until you walk around to the other side and realize how truly monstrous the pieces of that column are!  It really makes you stop and think about how much we have regressed in technology and how we’re lacking a sense of pride in what we’re building.  These buildings are still around for a reason; they were built immaculately.

Statue Head of M. Appius Bradoua- Olympia Museum

Statue Head of M. Appius Bradoua- Olympia Museum

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Temple of Zeus- I'm sitting on a Massive Piece to a Column

Temple of Zeus- I’m sitting on a Massive Piece to a Column

Massive Column Piece Again

Massive Column Piece Again

Olympic Track

Olympic Track

Tunnel Leading Out of the Stadium

Tunnel Leading Out of the Stadium

I was lucky enough to be in Greece during their Independence Day!  Everyone was dressed in traditional costume to celebrate and march in parades.  Cafe patios were packed with old Greek men sipping their coffee and balconies were crowded to get the best views of the parade.  It was really amazing and every single person was in an amazing mood.

Children Dressed Up for Greek Independence Day Parade

Children Dressed Up for Greek Independence Day Parade

Stadning in The Aegean

Stadning in The Aegean

I went to the Theatre of Epidaurus, which once again amazed me.  You can really whisper at the bottom and hear it all the way at the top- that’s not an exaggeration.  The acoustics are something that, yet again, hasn’t been mastered by modern man.  This was a really relaxing stop to me.  It’s nestled up on a hill, and back into some trees, you can sit in these seats and just relax.  It was a perfect place to journal and feel the breeze, plus you get free entertainment from all the people who stand at the bottom and sing for their 10 seconds of fame, whether for the good or bad is up to you to decide.

Theatre at Epidaurus

Theatre at Epidaurus

View From the Nose-Bleeds

View From the Nose-Bleeds

Mycenae was yet another archaeological site I went to, and enjoyed a lot.  I got to see one of the oldest bridges still standing in Europe, see the oldest monumental sculpture in Europe, and see where Agamemnon ruled!  When you walk under the Lion Gate and see the cyclopean stones it’s hard to picture how these people built this, and a small part of you wonders if maybe the giant cyclops did indeed exist.  After I walked around the city and the site (Grave Circle A) where the Golden Mask was found that was believed to be Agamemnon’s was found, up to the palaces and looked out onto olive groves and the valleys, I headed back down the hill and on around to what’s now believed to be Agamemnon’s actual tomb.  It’s shaped like a giant beehive and is very, very eerie.  (Apparently orbs frequent people’s photos, however, Agamemnon didn’t appear to be interested in my camera.)

Arkadiko Bridge- One of the Oldest Standing Bridges in Europe

Arkadiko Bridge- One of the Oldest Standing Bridges in Europe

The Lion Gate

The Lion Gate

Grave Circle A- Where the Gold Mask Was Found that was thought to be Agamemnon's

Grave Circle A- Where the Gold Mask Was Found that was thought to be Agamemnon’s

Looking Out From the Top of Ancient Mycenae

Looking Out From the Top of Ancient Mycenae

Agamemnon's Tomb

Agamemnon’s Tomb

Near Mycenae I went to a pottery shop that prides itself of making pottery in the same traditional manner it was made, and they supposedly teamed up with Archaeologists to learn more about it, and used to work with restorations.  While there I watched a pottery demonstration and picked up a few items to bring back home.

Pottery Demonstration

Pottery Demonstration

On my way back up towards Athens I stopped at the Corinth Canal, mostly for some pictures, but it really is quite cool.  I walked out onto the creepy bridge that rattles when a car goes over it and looked down from both sides.  It’s another 5 minute, free  stop that is pretty cool.

Corinth Canal

Corinth Canal

On my very last day in Greece I went to Cape Sounion, which was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.  The water and the sky were both amazingly blue, I went to a beach and got my feet wet, but most of all I went to the Temple of Poseidon that overlooks the water on the edge of a cliff.  It’s not far from Athens, and if you’re ever in Athens it’s worth it.  It was a really spiritual place with the sounds and smell of the ocean, these beautiful ruins, and the warm sun.  You’re really moved by the beauty of this place.

Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion

Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion

Sitting on Column Pieces From the Temple of Poseidon

Sitting on Column Pieces From the Temple of Poseidon

Cape Sounion

Cape Sounion

Temple of Poseidon

Temple of Poseidon

Temple of Poseidon

Temple of Poseidon

Temple of Poseidon

Temple of Poseidon

Greece was a country that surprised me in many ways.  The food surprised me in a not so pleasant way, but the people surprised me in how generous they were, and how willing they were to teach, the country in general surprised me with its natural beauty, and the magnificence of the temples and ruins surprised me by being more abundant and spectacular than I had ever imagined.

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11 Comments

  • Reply
    belovelive
    June 9, 2011 at 2:13 am

    Oh my gosh!!! You are writing about places in Greece where I was about 4 years ago! It is so cool to read what you are seeing… I’m getting pictures in my head from my trip! Are you in Greece now? Also, I see that your blog address mentions wanderlust, a word that I most definitely identify with : http://belovelive.com/2011/05/08/you-no-matter-where-you-are/

    I will most definitely check back here often, as I am a great lover of travel/wandering as well! So great to meet you!

    • Reply
      ashleypaige4
      June 9, 2011 at 8:07 am

      Thanks for stopping by my blog! I just returned from Greece, but it was so spectacular. I love when other things you see or read bring back memories of previous travel, so I’m glad to hear that this brought back memories! I think if I could only identify one word for myself it would be wanderlust! I’m always going crazy when at home planning my next chance to get away.

      I really enjoyed your post on Sweden and I look forward to reading more about your adventures!

  • Reply
    Daniel Henderson
    June 9, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Great post and photos of Greece. It’s still on my list of places to go.

    • Reply
      ashleypaige4
      June 9, 2011 at 6:27 pm

      Thank you, it’s really spectacular! You’ll love it!

  • Reply
    Tali
    June 14, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Wow you have been to some really beautiful places in Greece! Your photos make me think I need to visit sooner rather than later. Thanks for the travel inspiration!

    • Reply
      ashleypaige4
      June 14, 2011 at 6:46 pm

      Thanks! It’s really amazing, and it’s like every other place, you can always go back and have a completely different experience! Definitely worth the visit!

  • Reply
    Jen
    June 16, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! I’m heading to Greece for the first time in Sept so it was fun to read a bit about your trip!

    • Reply
      ashleypaige4
      June 16, 2011 at 9:56 pm

      Greece is really amazing! You’ll have a great time! Where all will you be going?

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