DAY 7 – SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 19:
Today was our first day with some light showers in the morning while driving, but the afternoon was overcast yet rain-free. The temps were in the high 50s.
Once again the day started with a drive of about 3.5 hours. The bus experienced a hose leak of some kind but Christos our driver was able to fix it. Following a quick snack stop on the way, we arrived at Mycenae.
Mycenae is a remarkable site. It dates to around 1400 BC (about the time of Joshua in Israel), but excavations have revealed a city existed here a few hundred years prior. Upon arriving at the site, we entered the city through the famous Lion’s Gate. We climbed to the fortress-citadel on top, seeing the circular burial chambers on the way. It was here where 12 pounds of gold objects were found, including the six golden masks. They are displayed in the archaeological museum in Athens. We also visited the Tomb of Agamemnon (the “Treasury of Atreus”). This is also called the Bee Hive cave. He was the king known for attacking the people in Troy in the “Trojan Horse.”
From here we continued about 40 minutes to Corinth. The Apostle Paul spent 1.5 years here during his 2nd missionary journey. We saw many things here, including the Temple of Apollo, the agora (market place), the bema (where Paul would have taught and stood before Gallio whose inscription was found at Delphi), and Roman Forum (which was larger than the one in Rome), and the Roman street that connected the one of two harbors to the city. There were 14 temples here, including temples dedicated to Athena, Asclepius, and Aphrodite (located on the acropolis). We read from Acts 18 and 2 Corinthians 9. Before leaving Corinth, we also walked down to the theater. Here the Inscription of Erastus is displayed. We read from Romans 16 that mentions this man who served in “public works” here. Perhaps Erastus was a primary supporter of Paul and his ministry.
On the way to Athens we crossed the Corinthian Canal. This connects the Adriatic and Aegean Seas together. The canal was built in 1882 and finished 11 years later in 1893. It is 4 miles long, 80 feet wide, and 280 feet high. The water level is 26 feet. It is really an amazing engineering feat!
Arriving in Athens about an hour later, we checked into our hotel. Following dinner, most in the group enjoyed a walk to Constitution Square, the downtown area of Athens, the capital of Greece. We even had our first glimpse of the famous Acropolis all lit up at night! We are looking forward to spending the next days here and the first of four nights.
DAY 8 – MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20: ATHENS – ACROPOLIS, HOUSE OF PARLIAMENT, TOMB OF UNKNOWN SOLDIER, OLD OLYMPIC STADIUM, MARS HILL