Visited Thebes, they have closed my favourite restaurant so now I have nowhere to eat when I go there. Plus the museum is shut because they are finally updating the place. Hurrah. Really looking forward to seeing it. Also saw the mycenaean chamber tombs which I’ve never visited before. On our way out of the town we stopped off at the Kabeirion and was horrified at how overgrown it was. Completely inaccessible now. shame. Got to Delphi and had some beers and steaks before an early night.
As most of ou guys know, Jackie was coming out to Greece in August and on Monday she arrived! So off we went in a little purple hire car northwards.
One. Got Jackie at the airport and drove north, no problems on roads and reached Thebes, museum was shut so I couldn’t go in with my letter asking for entry to the Kabeirion, as we were leaving Thebes saw sign for road to Delphi (a different one to the one I’d planned on taking) and set off, passing a brown archaeoological site sign that said Kabeirion. Decided to follow it so I knew where sanctuary was, reached site and realised that there was a big hole in the fence,so in we went. The road was little more than a dirt track and it made the wee purple car rather brown…especially when you drive through muddy puddles. Carried on and reached delphi around 5.30, went to museum – lovely and quiet no big tour groups. Then drinks and very nice meal in restaurant overlooking gulf.
Two. Headed across the mountains to Thermopylae, had a look at the site, then on to Karmena Vourla for lunch – at the nice Italian restaurant I found the last time I was there. Headed back to Delphi and got a fit of giggles when I saw the turning for the road which I got stuck up the last time I was in Thermopylae. More drinks in Delphi and another good meal, spoke Greek to the waiter and he was so impressed he gave us free dessert
Three. A quieter day, went to the sanctuary of Apollo and the museum again in the morning. Then drove down the coast at lunch time for food and a swim, then back up to the town and had a look at the lower site there, temples of Athena and a gymnasium. Very hot. Back to hotel, drank wine on the balcony and then into town for a very good steak. Got some beers and went back to hotel and sat on balcony and rank them, I was cold (only 25-28 degrees) so was sitting in delphi in august wrapped in a fuzzy blanket. There’s actually photographic proof for this.
Four. Got up and headed for Chaironeia – went to an ancient theatre and a grave monument for the Thebans during ones of the wars waged by the Macedonians when they were conquering greece. On to Orchomenos, looked at a mycenaean tholos tomb and another theatre. Then to Gla, a mycenaean settlement like Mycenae only much bigger. Then thebes for lunch and the museum and then we headed back to Athens.
The trip was great, despite the fact that the car gave up. I’ll start at the beginning. Left the BSA at 10.30am on Saturday and picked up hire car at store opposite the Hilton in Kolonaki. I had to navigate in Athens and succeeded with no mistakes, A was driving and didn’t get honked at or make me and L, who’s a friend of A’s from when he was doing his PhD, shout at him.
Made the trip up to Thermopylae with no problems, had lunch at a seaside town, fabulous views out over a gulf. Went to the ancient battlefield, and saw the modern monuments erected in memory of the Spartans. Then I drove up the mountain and back down again, we went up to about 3000 feet, the views were spectacular, although I only looked at them when we stopped in random lay bys, seemed to get used to the controls easily, I’m certain I can drive without bother later in the summer.
We also went to this amazing gorge…which they think the Persians may have used when Thermopylae was fought. Got some great pictures. We then went back to the same town we were in for lunch, got a hotel. Had an ice cream and watched the sun set over the gulf, bright red!
Then we went for a drink at another seaside bar and then wandered along the front to check out restaurants…then we found a fun fair. Went on the ferris wheel, great views and the dodgems. After that went back to hotel to sleep.
SHad breakfast on the coast and watched the fish swimming in the water below. We then went to the hotsprings at Thermopylae…really hot..and they stank. But was very relaxing to soak the feet in them. Then we went up another mountain to look another battle sites from the Persian invasions, parked to take some pictures and when we tried to drive the car again…the gears just wouldn’t take. The clutch had gone and we were 2500 feet up. Rang the car hire company and they gave us instructions to get a tow. We knew exactly where we were, but a couple of locals drove past and told the tow truck the local instructions for getting to us. They said it would be an hour til they could reach us and it was bang on.
Then came the fun part, the tow was a flatbed truck so the car sat on that. There wasn’t enough room in the tow’s cab, so me and A ended up seated in the car on the back of this truck to get down the mountain. Don’t worry it was securely tied on! The extra height meant we could see much further. Got to the tow’s office and got in touch with the car company only to discover that they had no replacement vehicles in our area, and only one in Athens unfortunately with no way of getting it to us. Since we had booked for 2 days hire, they are only charging us for one and paying the transport costs for getting us back to Athens. Got to the station and caught the bus back to Athens, it was a good journey…managed to sleep which was needed at this point. Got off at the station where we get the bus to Thebes and got a taxi back to the school. Since by this point we hadn’t eaten since breakfast, went out to Ciao with another resident at the school called Lu.
Ok…now for Sparta. Eventually got out of the city, went via every single back street you could think of. And set off south, nice drive down…though really hot…think 40 degrees with humidity. Had lunch en-route and arrived in sparta about 5 ish. Saw the spartan acropolis, got some good pictures and then had some dinner and a few drinks.
Next day we went up to a site dedicated to Menelaus and wandered around there. There were a bunch of people up there, they had been there all night for the religious festival of St Louis and we ended up having lunch with them…slightly surreal. But the food was great and they had some really cold beer. Then we went to the Museum in Sparta and then headed north back towards Athens. Stopped off at Corinth on the way back. Had a look at the site and museum there. We got back into athens about 9 and went to the Plaka for dinner – at the crepe restaurant and then went back to the school to sleep.
I was in Athens for two weeks, lovely weather for the first week, cold for the second though it was getting sunnier by the time I left. When I was there I worked in the Library, visited museums and sites, dranks large quantities of beer, saw a lot of friends who I’d lost touch with and annoyed the Glasgow trip who were in Athens when I was there. I also met the guy in charge of all the archaeology in the region of Greece which I study and he was very nice and seemed willing to allow me access to the material I need for the PhD. Got a stinking cold and spent flight home and next couple of days being ill and miserable.
Was Geophysicking this weekend up in Argyll and had great fun and got sunburnt (not so fun). Got to use some of the equipment too.
Friday – Monday
Spent the Weekend at Scottish S’s, it was cold, it was snowy and it was great fun. I fell in a snowdrift and managed to walk up the big hill, although I did need numerous breaks on the way up (unhealthy? moi?….oh hell yeah).
Had a german class…the fun never stops!
Met people for coffee (caffeine is fun), and then joy of joys a tutorial class. Trying to get first year students to talk in a seminar setting is near impossible. Imagine the scenario:
Me: So what do you think of how archaeological sites are discovered?
Class: *silence….stare at walls, table, ceiling etc.*
Me: Right, if you lot don’t start talking I’m going to pick on individuals and make them talk.
Class: *sudden explosion of talking*
You get the picture. After that it was departmental and Hellenic society seminars. Amazingly the dept. one had stuff which could be applied to my PhD which was rather a nice surprise.
Dig! Again with the heavy shovelling of soil. And I managed to drop a wheel barrow on my knee…I know it sounds strange but I fell over into the spoil heap and wheel barrow followed…I know have an interesting bruise on my knee.
Spent morning in agony from aforementioned dig…..bits of me hurt that I didn’t know existed. Then I ate my tea…then assisted my flatmate eat his tea. Then we got beers and played pool and monopoly and cards….drinking lots of beer and sambuca – hic!