Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Sunday, October 21st, 2007 Corinth Canal & Epidaurus...our first day on the road!

Up early and down to the lobby by 8 am; our grandson Brian arrived by 8:30 with his luggage and we all had breakfast together at our hotel. The hotel said no charge for the extra breakfast and when we checked for the bill they had not charged me for any of the Internet time. So even with the early mix-up on the reservations; we were extremely pleased with the Acropolis View Hotel. If there was any complaint it would be for the ducting system that allowed the voices to carry from the room next door; and since they were speaking Greek we couldn’t even understand them! That’s no fun….

We left all of our luggage in the lobby and headed out for the Metro to go to Syntagma Square and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. They have a very impressive “Changing of the Guard” hourly and we wanted to make it by 10 am. The 11 am one is much more impressive with music and extra pomp but we needed to get rolling on our journey. We arrived in good time and enjoyed the ceremony. Since we were within the hour of purchasing our Metro tickets we jumped back on for the trip back without purchasing additional tickets…not sure if that was entirely kosher or not.

Walked from the Metro Station to the Budget Car Rental office and picked up our mini compact vehicle: a 2008 Hyundai. Nearly new and in very good condition and most importantly it fit all three of us and our luggage. Had a bit of trouble getting from the agency to our hotel to pick up luggage; the police had closed the main street because of an annual city-wide bicycle ride. The riders were of all ages and many family groups; they closed sections of the streets in the city for about half an hour each to allow the riders to safely tour the city. Great plan; just not on this day for us. But we managed to return to the hotel after several dead ends that required backing down narrow streets. Brian signed online at the hotel to check on his Ferry ride for Monday before we left town.

By 11:30 am we were packed and headed out of Athens; following Julie’s expert directions we made it much faster than we’d expected and reached our first destination of Corinth easily. This city has a Canal that allows ships to pass from the Gulf of Corinth to the Ionian Sea; no locks but the sides are massive. We watched as a tug boat pulled a large freighter through the canal; it takes about an hour for them to cross and we watched until it crossed under the bridge that we stood on. They reverse traffic every hour on this four mile canal.

From Corinth we headed south on the local roads to reach our second destination of Epidaurus and the third century Roman Theatre that is still in use today. Very impressive and with amazing acoustics; it seats up to 14,000 people and they said a coin dropped in the center can be heard in every seat! Yes, we all climbed to the top for the views and then explored the small Museum on the site.

Back to the car; by the way the sun is shining and it’s a beautiful day after a very stormy night. Brian explored the city of Athens with other college students who were staying at his youth hostel last night and everything in his duffle bag is wet! I sat up a “Chinese Laundry” in the back seat attempting to get some of them dry…we finished drying them at the hotel overnight. It was worth it as he doesn’t seem to have caught a cold and we were so glad that he got to see most of the sights that evening. And, remembering that when you’re young walking in the rain can be fun; especially if you’re doing it with college girls from New York in high heels! Ah, to be young again.

Many of our friends and family were concerned about the many fires that Greece had this past fall; yes, we see many burned hillsides and I’m sure that many are having trouble with mudslides with all this rain. We’re staying to the highroad mostly so shouldn’t be too much of a problem for us. So sad to see how many acres are scorched and I’m sure we’ll see much more of them as the trip progresses.

Stopped for an early dinner as we continued south and arrived in Tolo at the Frini Hotel about 5 pm. The sky is getting darker by the hour and I’m sure we’re going to have another stormy night. Nice little hotel in a beach city; we walked less than a block to the shore and enjoyed the sights and smells of the water. Julie recommended this place and it’s very nice; off the beaten path but we see lots of tour buses arriving so it must be a popular place for the tour companies.

Brian and I headed out to the main street; there’s really only one street…and found the ice cream stand for our dessert. Jim found Formula One racing on television and was a happy camper staying in his room. After walking until we both ate our dessert and reached the edge of town we headed back towards the hotel and then stopped for a beer before going home. Jim said “that’s one he’ll remember…having a beer with his grandma!” Just as we returned the clouds broke and torrents of rain plummeted down sending the few tourists back to the hotels and leaving us with a quiet evening for peaceful sleeping. This was critical as our room overlooked the main street!

No comments: