Peloponnese (Corinth Canal, Epidaurus, Náfplio, Mycenae)

20449222_10156357998918998_6908111443851779686_o

On this day tour, we went on a very, very packed trip to several places on the island/peninsula (depends on if you think the canal has made it an island), with the most famous theatre (entrance pictured above) in the world being the main attraction.

20451623_10156359108573998_2779481079058684117_o

But we actually spent the most amount of time here. An acropolis and a grave.

20451716_10156359105208998_5749306167735359386_o

The doorway to a fortified ancient city.

20507355_10156359109388998_7910366611004712645_o20507821_10156359104393998_7608316275438387856_o20451778_10156359106188998_5615797067153442579_o

And the royal grave.

20507390_10156359110583998_1779303428179191828_o

A close-up of the bricks on the sides.

20507142_10156357983353998_7890343051541584014_o

The theatre, known for its acoustics! They’re still using it for Greek theatre performances but since it’s so far from Athens, it’d start in the afternoon and get back at 2am.

Lots of people clapping on stage. Not really that great, but you can certainly see why actors wore masks.

20452008_10156357988568998_6751432885816497576_o

The seats.

20452011_10156357975703998_1448538894014531160_o20545332_10156357973913998_7212480489287312808_o20507026_10156357956673998_5684165324293496955_o

There were other structures on top of the theatre, but we weren’t given any time to explore any of them…

20507256_10156358438018998_3728874470700171339_o

Since we weren’t given much time to see the other sites, and we weren’t even told they existed (we had to pass through all of them regardless), it was quite a rush walking through the museum and the other parts. Two people were late for 15 minutes and the guide was extremely upset.

20506896_10156359102463998_5498948599974319278_o20507096_10156359102103998_2312892969853867405_o20507344_10156359103168998_2953436374543433_o20543807_10156359102983998_1483152505902099122_o

In a similar fashion, we parked very far from the castles and spent maybe 5 minutes there.

20507252_10156357786908998_3503198197806192463_o20543690_10156357786793998_8218542669364308647_o

The canal was nice, and even though we were there for merely 10 minutes, that was more than enough.

20507067_10156359111328998_3696163390775426804_o

We were finally taken to a shop. You would not expect something like this to a 100-Euro day trip.

20615852_10156359111603998_3647696379915786484_o

Delphi, Greece

18839505_10156350870453998_581361369133788614_o

Another day, another day trip.

20414146_10156350868993998_3238986931447611671_o

At the peak of the oracle of Delphi. Stadium of an ancient games equal to the Olympics. Unrelated to the oracle.

20424249_10156350871308998_8348447212423249410_o

The market at the entrance of the oracle. There used to be statues. 

20424284_10156351142298998_8881272027692858721_o

Delphi was the centre of the world according to the Greeks. Here at the oracle, there was a female prophet who would tell visitors about their future/answer questions from them using vague language that could mean anything.

She was the most powerful woman in the classical world and was originally a role filled by virgins. But one guy tried to rape one of the oracles and so the position was from that point on occupied by older women.

20424295_10156350869123998_1371128502673112347_o

The theatre. Obviously people need to cleanse their soul as a part of the process.

20452016_10156350871758998_888501821621078734_o20452053_10156350870903998_9119280760887154416_o

The treasury. The only building remained somewhat intact.

20507178_10156350869273998_3142218275981264187_o20543937_10156350868783998_8296817655241447368_o

Greek Islands (Hydra, Poros, Aegina)

20369099_10156347163983998_8733223351828125433_o

The tower on Poros. It’s the attraction of this very small island. A short walk from the port.

20369505_10156347156683998_5065539321403879028_o

Hydra as it welcomed me.

One of Greece’s major attractions is the Aegean Sea and its islands. There are many options – some farer from the capital (some even very close to Turkey), some around them. If you want to get to a far one, such as the most famous one, you will need more than a day trip.

20369545_10156346846843998_7498101280359786248_o

I climbed up one of the hills to look at Hydra. It wasn’t very big.

20369577_10156346848333998_5796925518309603912_o

To get to these three islands (and they are the obvious options due to their proximity to Athens), you can either go for a “cruise” tour (pictured) or take speed boats yourself.

You should definitely go on your own. The “cruise” tours are not worth it.

First of all, it wasn’t really a cruise. I’ve been on many cruises, that wasn’t one. It’s got almost nothing but a boutique (that not only had a very limited selection, but only for women) and some cafeterias.

Secondly, it’s incredibly boring. The only time there was entertainment on the “cruise” was on our way back to Athens. Other times, people were just trying to sleep on the sofas. The Wi-Fi didn’t work (and they were aware of it) and there’s no substitute to that.

Thirdly, it practically included nothing. No tours were included on this – you either had to pay extra to join the excursions, or you could walk around on your own. On Aegina, that would be impossible. No drinks were included. You couldn’t even drink free tap water. No snacks or refreshments, of course.

Finally, the included lunch was crap. The buffet had an extremely limited selection with merely two main dishes to choose from – chicken, which was all right; along with extraordinarily poor fish. The kind of white fish that tasted exactly like they were stuck together with glue. Oh, and no drinks.

So the “cruise” “tour” was actually just transport with lunch. Why would you pay for it?

20369584_10156348115273998_7805768852118435937_o

The main attraction was Aegean, the so-called “first capital of modern Greece”. Its claim was about as legit as claiming Kowloon, Hong Kong was a “historic capital of China” due to a Song Emperor allegedly fleeing to Kowloon.

I’m not asking you not to go, I’m just saying you should not expect anything more than the above. There’s one archaeological site, which was nice. You would have to get transport or a tour to get there.

20369838_10156348112933998_644380796099922154_o

The other main attraction was this Byzantine-style church, which was actually built relatively recently.

20369855_10156348113898998_3846053850706443871_o

The one in Athens was apparently modelled after this.

20369701_10156346848028998_123770863265862366_o

Hydra was the other highlight. It was a nice island and you can walk around looking at the buildings.

20414013_10156347162958998_3972776514241366650_o

And the sea.

20414179_10156346847313998_6380287870667142589_o20414272_10156346848213998_6386381373258685590_o

You can’t swim there though. To swim, you need to pay extra and go on a swimming excursion.

20451980_10156348117713998_6632100691723234033_o

Athens, Greece

19983943_10156344606878998_2776410245009737597_o

Greece, the birthplace of European civilization. The beginning of the sciences, the arts, philosophy, and democracy.

Do you know where the idea of using an owl to represent a teacher came from? Athens. The owl was a symbol of the Goddess Athena, who represented wisdom.

20368756_10156344619763998_3486897303989926996_o

First thing first, the Acropolis.

It towered over the entire city centre and so all one needed to do was to walk up the hill. You wouldn’t need to climb to one of the other hills for a photo like this (indeed that’d be a bit too far), as the best spot was actually very close to the entrance to it (halfway up the hill), with a massive group of rocks acting as a platform for the perfect picture.

This was pictured from another angle though.

20368894_10156344620673998_2956499042976535167_o

This was taken from the giant pile of rocks.

20368953_10156344615153998_2102624961457989716_o

Zeus’s temple from afar.

20369049_10156344615958998_1543800177728252721_o

The other side was under construction.

20369050_10156344614723998_6473762153906163053_o

A Greek-style theatre, one of the two near the Acropolis.

20369050_10156344619163998_2778693149188855178_o

A functioning theatre – I believe this was of a more Roman style, as there was a wall blocking the view.

20369125_10156344612918998_2795788923492992406_o

One of the more complete structures in the Acropolis.

20369781_10156344613473998_1457060848505192840_o

On the left, it’s female statues acting as pillars.

20413998_10156344616333998_1796941435147259219_o

The back of one of the most recognizable buildings in the world.

20414116_10156344613843998_8206795358851293163_o20414259_10156344617813998_1496463537808065207_o

A clearer view of the girls.

20451577_10156344616943998_4993892420785026007_o20451777_10156348553758998_9072053768003667339_o

There was no theatre in town (one would have to go for an afternoon trip that ends at 2am or something), so I settled for an opera. It’s not on every day so you’d have to go check. It’s possible to just go before 9pm and buy a ticket. Maybe not the best seats. Free seating based on zones.

Awfully hot.

20424037_10156348552833998_6007233240620956644_o

It was a pretty terrible experience actually. I couldn’t really figure out what they were doing in the story, up there the people were very small, there’s no English subtitles (it’s all in Greek), it’s very hot, the seats were very uncomfortable, and the speakers didn’t always work…Very often the singing just got cut off.

I left after two hours during the intermission.

20369573_10156344609248998_2871302170612788590_o

In Athens, you can either choose to buy the tickets separately, or you can buy a combo that includes seven sites (you can visit each of them once), all but one in the downtown within walkable distance.

This was a big marketplace back then. It now houses several things including this museum. It’s got plenty of busts.

20368760_10156344608068998_6071864640703190522_o

Climbing up the hill, you see this.

20369889_10156344603758998_2829222945963513450_o

After walking for around 15 minutes, you get to the supreme god’s temple.

20369935_10156344605603998_281196053116219367_o

Or rather, what’s left of it…

20414351_10156344611733998_8492943858305359068_o20424334_10156344605058998_4016726457225154217_o20507001_10156354824598998_4542111172418350563_o20507257_10156354823978998_2225671286201759003_o20449016_10156352242373998_6664662430718581107_o

View from another hill.

20449136_10156344622043998_3345929988498518676_o

Hadrian’s Library as you walk up to the Acropolis. This closed at 3pm.

20449263_10156344604673998_2117196525850603572_o

The first stadium of modern Olympics. Skip if you don’t have the time or the will to get there.

20449314_10156352244073998_6335295847116064761_o

The observatory on one of the nearby hills.

20507177_10156344620288998_7397489897456843023_o

Downtown.

20507297_10156344621388998_2857878200192373508_o

Tower of the Winds. The Radcliffe Observatory tower in Green Templeton College Oxford was modelled after this.

Not very tall or elaborated, but then it’s Roman.

20449283_10156344610973998_9036048008129223476_o20369755_10156344612268998_5079515373480115653_o

If you aren’t getting the combo, it may not be worth going at all, especially when you can see the whole thing from outside the gates.

20451953_10156354826128998_5961404192097072603_o20615613_10156354836523998_7049184006266661556_o

Hadrian’s Library. I don’t get why it’s closed so early when everything else was 5pm or 8pm.

20507723_10156352237038998_7366830676097258154_o

The hill opposite to the Acropolis.

20506883_10156354467358998_5844767835806505218_o

I took an Uber from the centre to what’s left of Plato’s Academy.

20507172_10156354466658998_630426438673504295_o

It’s literally mostly just grass and honestly I wasn’t sure what I was looking at. They didn’t even have signs.

20507670_10156354466333998_5836886253002455576_o

I think only one of these things might have been a part of The Academy, but I couldn’t figure out which one was it.

It’s free entry so I guess that’s OK.

20423865_10156354464708998_1591557472272017502_o

Aristotle’s school was a bit better maintained. It’s included in the combo.

20543686_10156354464043998_232633103837650247_o

But this was basically it.

20424122_10156354465403998_4024989571372467415_o

The Byzantine Museum, a nice building next to the above. Entry not included for this one.

20543971_10156352239508998_8499078135023926800_o

Socrates’s prison. Free entry. You can just walk around the hill below the Acropolis and see things like this. There are no signs though so you’d need to know where you’re going based on the map on the main path outside.