Corinth and the Nemean Valley

Corinth Travel Blog

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Corinth Canal
Corinth Canal
 
We got picked up by a bus at the center at 10am. I just packed a backpack, which was enough, I get tired of being slowed down by people’s roller bags on the broken Athenian pavement and hills. There was a giant strike in Athens with all the bus drivers, so we were lucky that the school called in a favor and we got a driver. The driver is a sweet old man, who we see every morning getting up early and washing his bus. He doesn’t speak a single word of English (which I like) and doesn’t own a map either. You would think that a map would be a crucial thing to have in a bus, but apparently not. Its ok, I’m just along for the ride.
Corinth Archeological Site
Corinth Archeological Site

The first place we stopped was Corinth. For everyone who has read the Bible, this would be the one time home of the Corinthians who Paul wrote that letter to, and even though I don’t like Paul (he is sexist) that chapter 13 is pretty good. So anyway, Corinth was sweet. The modern city was really charming and right on the ocean. It would be a beautiful place to live.

We saw the Corinth Canal on the way there. We stopped to see it and get a coffee. Most of the kids get ice cream even though it was 10am. I’m trying to stay positive, but I feel like I’m 10 years older than the other members of our group. The Corinth Canal was vibrant blue and incredibly deep. It is the oldest man made canal in Europe. We walked across the bridge on top of it, and took pictures. On a bridge next to us someone was bungee jumping. That is something I really can’t imagine doing. Don’t worry Mom and Dad, I might be the kid that jets off to Europe by herself, but I won’t jump off any bridges while I’m here. I won’t get any tattoos either. But if you were going to bungee jump, this would be the place to do it.

Emperor Augustus dressed in his high priest outfit
Emperor Augustus dressed in his high priest outfit

Corinth has a pretty impressive archeological site, probably the best I’ve seen so far. They had a semi preserved Doric order temple with thick columns carved from single, gigantic pieces of marble. Other things were preserved from the Julio-Claudian dynasty of the Roman Empire. We wandered around the site and then checked out the museum. It was a good museum; lots of marble statues, including one of Emperor Augustus dressed like the high priest of Rome, and another bust of Julius Caesar. Both statues I was able to recognize immediately, I’m constantly grateful for my awesome Roman Art History class last semester.

walking up the AcroCorinth
walking up the AcroCorinth

After we checked out the site, the hiking began. We took a bus half way up the AcroCorinth, and then hiked the rest of the way up. The AcroCorinth was seriously awesome and well preserved fortress, but very steep and slippery to hike up. Having your fortress on a hill is a genius tactic, because your enemy would be completely exhausted by the time they reach you. Also you can see them coming and boil up some oil to pour on them. So that was great for the ancients, but not so much for the tourists. The view from the top was well worth the hike, no matter the bug bites and sunburn. The walk down is really the hard part, those rocks are dangerously slippery.

the vinyard
the vinyard

We had lunch as a group in the village. I like my group, but I really dislike sharing meals with all of them. It’s always inconvenient to push tables together, and split the check. Also some people are more sensitive to trying to avoid the typical American stereotype, so sitting with a large group of loud Americans isn’t ideal. At this particular meal there was a centipede under the table and I guess it crawled on someone’s leg. We’re used to having animals under tables at outdoor restaurants, which are populated with mangy cats and ownerless dogs, but a centipede was not acceptable. Apparently this one was huge too. So this started a huge catastrophe where the one half of the table was screaming and standing on chairs. I was on the other end of the table, and I didn’t look, because I knew that if I saw it I would freak out worse than everyone else combined. The catastrophe ended with the waiter whacking this giant insect with a broom, which prompted even more screaming until he finally killed it. Never a dull moment…

very quaint
very quaint

So after our otherwise lovely lunch, we got back on the bus (which I have begun to love) and made our way through the Nemean valley. The scenery was breathtaking and spectacular, rolling green mountains with deep valleys. This meant something to me, because it was once the home of the Nemean lion. This fierce lion had a hide that was impenetrable to man’s weapons. One of the twelve labors of Hercules was to slay the lion, which he did by strangling it with his bare hands. He then skinned the dead lion with its own claws, and then wore its skin as a protective cape. (Dad consult your Hercules statue; remember when I showed you the club and lion skin at the bottom?) Anyway, present day the Nemean valley is not famous for its lions, but rather its wine, so we went wine tasting.

beautiful scenery
beautiful scenery

We went to a vineyard, the ΚΤΗΜΑ ΠΑΛΥΒΟΥ, and don’t ask me to pronounce that. We got a tour of the facilities and explanation of how wine is made. It was interesting, and the vineyard was really quaint and picturesque. We tasted three wines, a white, rose and red. I only tried the first two. This experience was a nightmare; I totally understand why the drinking age is 21, because 20 year olds with alcohol are obnoxious. (Not everyone, but in this case) I was subjected to group photos and the girls got loud. Sorry everyone, I didn’t buy any souvenir wine to bring back, because I cant risk it breaking in my suitcase.

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Corinth
photo by: sylviandavid