As you well know if you’ve been reading this blog, Barb loves to plan our vacations in great detail. One of the things she did for our day in Athens was to make plans for a private tour to Corinth and Athens with “George’s Taxi Tours.” George is another Greek who went to America, then came back and started up a business. In this case, it’s a tour business.
We were a bit worried earlier in the week that this plan was going to explode, since the taxi drivers were on strike all over Greece. Fortunately, today was not a day for a strike, so we got off the ship and were greeted by “Tony” and his nice Mercedes taxi.
Tony took us out to Corinth to start — we were a bit taken aback when he was showing us maps and photos in a book while driving. However, Tony probably sensed our discomfort and kept his eyes on the road for the rest of the trip.
Corinth is about 75 km from Athens, and we started by taking a closeup look at the Corinth Canal. It’s a narrow canal that was carved directly out of rock and connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf. Allegedly, construction was started by the Emperor Nero, but ceased after concerns about offending the gods. The job was finished in the late 1800’s. The canal is only used by private boats and small cruise ships now, but is definitely impressive.
We then visited a small Orthodox church — it had the text of the beginning of St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians in several languages on a marble stile. After that, we visited the Roman and Greek antiquities at Korinthos and then headed up a nearby mountain to view Acrocorinth, a medieval castle, and look at the nearby plains from above.
Our drive back to Athens was uneventful, and our next stop was the wonderful National Archeological Museum. It features such amazing items as golden death masks (including the beautiful but mistakenly named “Mask of Agamemnon” and the Antikythera Mechanism (which is considered to be the first analog computer). By this pint we were starving, so Tony stopped near a nice little Greek taverna so we could have a late lunch of cheese croquettes, fried fish (small fish like sardines), and feta cheese with tomatoes. Yum.
Then it was off to the area of the Acropolis, but since Barb is wheelchair-bound at this time, we went to the brand-new Acropolis Museum. This museum wouldn’t allow photography of the exhibits, but you could take pictures of the Parthenon from the top floor.
Back to the ship, where Tony dropped us off right at the Crew Entrance (we can take the ramp up to the 4th level). We took a bunch of photos from our verandah and the deck of the ship as the sun set, and then had a lovely dinner in the Terrace Cafe with a British couple.
It was really a pretty well perfect day!