DAY 8 – MONDAY, OCTOBER 16:
We arrived back in the port of Piraeus this morning. We sailed through the night from Santorini. The sun once again greeted us, with perfect temps in the 70s. We have been blessed with great weather!
We disembark the cruise and met Aliki, our new Greek guide. After loading the bus, we headed south to the Peloponnese region of Greece. Crossing the amazing (and deep) Corinthian Canal (that separates the Aegean and Ionian/Adriatic Seas), we continued the path of the Apostle Paul to the city of Corinth. The canal itself is 3.8 miles long, 290 feet tall in height, 85 feet wide, with the water depth around 26-27 feet deep.
Corinth was a city visited by Paul on his second missionary journey. He would stay here 1.5 years. He met Aquilla and Priscilla here as well. Visiting the site, we saw the Agora, the Temple of Apollo (one of 14 temples here during Greek times. At least three were here during Paul’s day – the Temples of Apollo, Asclepius, and Poseidon), the bema where Paul preached from before Gallio (the Proconsul), the Roman street, and fountain. Most of the ruins here date to the time of Paul, allowing us to once again literally walk in his footsteps! We read from Acts 18 and 2 Corinthians 4. Paul remained faithful to the church established here. Paul wrote I and II Thessalonians from here as well as Romans. Before leaving, some of us saw Corinth’s theater. It is primarily not excavated. However, an inscription with the the name Eratus can been seen. He was mentioned by Paul in Romans 16:23.
On the way back to Corinth, we re-crossed the Corinthian Canal but not before seeing the area of Cenchreae (Acts 18). This was the small harbor from which Paul sailed back to Asia (Israel). We had lunch here at a traditional Greek restaurant. We saw a number of boats enter the canal here.
Driving back to Athens, we arrived at the well-known Acropolis. Walking to the top, we saw the Propylea (the “gateway” leading up to the Parthenon and lined with many statues), the Erechtheum (the most important shrine, where Athena, Posedion and Erechtos were honored), and the largest of them all, the Parthenon. This building was built in ten years (between 447-438 BC). It involved 4,000 workers, supervised by Phidias. It took another 5-6 years for decorations to be completed. Thus, it was finished in 432 BC. It was 17 pillars on the long side with 8 on the ends. A 40 foot high statute made of one ton of gold of Athena stood inside.
Just below the Acropolis is the Rock of Areopagus or “Mar’s Hill.” This was were Paul shared the Gospel with the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. We read from Acts 17 here, celebrating not only Paul’s boldness, but also those who became believers that day (e.g. Dionysius, Damaris, and a ‘number of others’).
Leaving this area, we drove to our hotel. On the way, we passed by the Parliamentary building, the Arch of Hardian, and the Temple of Zeus. Three in the group got dropped off at the base of Mt. Lycabetus for an optional hike to the top of this mountain that overlooks the entire city of Athens. The sunset over Athens was fantastic!
After check-in at the hotel, we enjoyed dinner before retiring for the night. Tomorrow is our last full day here in Greece.