Today has been one of my favorite days on this trip so far. The weather’s been beautiful, the places we visited were incredible, and the scenery is unbelievable. We started the day off early packing up our things and walking to the Temple of Zeus in Athens. The temple is absolutely magnificent—it’s enormous and one of its columns had been knocked over in a windstorm and laid out across the lawn like a cucumber cut into slices.
Next we loaded our luggage on the bus (bye, Hotel Herodion!) and headed down the coast to to visit a monastery. The monastery was gorgeous, built entirely by its own nuns and covered in flowers and plants. The nuns gave us some gelatin snack and some tea, which was some of the best tea I’ve ever had. A nun also told us all about the monastery and her choice to join it. They have nuns from all over the world there.
We departed for Lavrios for lunch, where a few other girls and I quickly devoured a pizza and headed off for Thorikos. In Thorikos lie a theatre, some mines, and places for ore purification. Back in and around the 5th century B.C., the oldest mines in the world were created, making a profit of 6000 drachmas per day. That money was used to create the Athenian fleet that helped Athens take control over most of the Aegean. The theatre housed around 5000 people.
Then we left for Cape Sunio. Cape Sunio is breathtaking. The sea is a bright, deep blue crashing against the rocks. We went to the Temple of Poseidon—my favorite temple. Many different Greek myths center around this cape. I absolutely loved this temple. The myths surrounding the area and the view just come together for an unbeatable combo.
After that, we drove a bit (I napped, again…oops) to a restaurant next to a beach. We ate calamari, fried whole sardines, mussels risotto, and some traditional Greek desserts. The calamari was effing delicious as expected, and the mussels I surprisingly liked, although they were kinda chewy. The sardines were another story. The bones were crunchy enough that I couldn’t ignore them and the eyes creeped me out as they stared back at me. But the actual taste wasn’t bad. Maybe if I keep trying them I’ll learn to like them.
After dinner we headed off to the ferry to Crete! We had TINY, TINY rooms so most of the night I spent on the top deck of the boat with a lot of others from our group talking, eating/drinking, and reading. It was pretty cold and I got tired, so I went back into my cabinet-sized cabin and tried to sleep. Around 2am, the boat was rocking quite badly so I was up and anxious for quite a while, leaving me exhausted the next day.
FUN FACT TIME YAY
1. To reconstruct one column at the Temple of Zeus, it would cost 300 million euros.
2. Before the schism between Catholicism and Orthodoxy in 1054, the Roman Catholics and Greek Orthodox had the same history and traditions. Afterwards, it separates.
3. The Temple of Poseidon retains its brilliant white color because its marble doesn’t contain iron, like the Parthenon does, and it does not oxidize.
4. The Temple of Poseidon contains lots of graffiti, mostly from the 1800s, one bit of which was done by Lord Byron in 1810.
I also have been informed that for the assignment part of this blog, I should include more of my feelings and less of our itinerary. I forget it’s a journal for Barnes and not just a blog for family/friends/whoever.
So, new segment: “ALL THE FEELS”:
May 30 I felt amazing. I was engaged and interested in everything we were doing. There is always a wish for more sleep but eh, it is what it is. I was honestly just awestruck at the blueness of the water and the magnificence of the columns for Poseidon. I was anxious about the overnight ferry but I survived so I got that goin’ for me.