Day 9 – Monday, September 18: Corinth, Mycenae, Cenchrea, Athens
Today we disembarked from the cruise ship following breakfast. It was a great 3-day cruise! We met the smiling faces of Aliki and Angelos (our driver) at the Laurion port of Athens. Again, the weather was perfect, with sunny skies and highs around 80. We read from 2 Corinthians 11 & 12 as we left the port.
Directly from the port we drove south to the Peloponnese of Greece. First we stopped at the famous Corinthian Canel. It was built over a 11 year span (1882-1893) and is 3.8 miles long, 75-85 feet wide (the width varies at each ends), 280 feet deep, with the water level around 26 feet. It is really a quite incredible engineering feat!
We then traveled another 20 minutes to the ancient site of ancient Corinth. We first visited the archaeological site. we walked down to the area of the theater where we saw the important Erastus Inscription (he donated his own money for the public works, see Romans 16:23). Then we saw the museum, with an image of the Menorah and many clay sculptures of the body parts represented (see 1 Corinthians 12), Temple of Apollo (one of 14 total pagan temples), the forum (agora in Greek), and the bema (judgement seat where Paul shared his defense/testimony before Galllio, Acts 18). Paul was here for a year and a half during his 2nd mission journey. From here he wrote letters to the Thessalonica church in the north. During his brief stay here at the end of his 3rd mission journey, we wrote Romans. It was delivered by Phoebe (Romans 16).
Before leaving the area of Corinth, we drove up to the Acropolis for a peak of the Temple of Aphrodite and a spectacular view of the plain of Corinth 1800 feet below. The massive walls and gates date from between the the time of the Crusaders, Ottomans, and Venetians.
From here we drove about 30 minutes to Mycenae. Much of what we saw dates from 1,350 – 1,200 BC. After eating lunch at a local restaurant in modern Mycenae, we visited the site. We walked under the famous Lion’s Gate (1,250 BC). We also saw the shaft tombs (where over 30 pounds of gold was found in the 1870s excavations), the palace area, and the cistern. We also saw the Bee Hive tomb of King Agamemnon (or the Treasury of Atreus). We enjoyed singing a few worship songs in the tomb.
“We disembarked from the cruise line this morning and spent the day south of Athens in the region of the Peloponnese. There were more connections with Paul and the Bible today at Corinth, Mycenae, and Cenchrea. The weather was again perfect!”
Leaving Mycenae, we started our way back to our hotel in Athens for a late dinner. But before leaving the area of Corinth we made a brief stop at Cenchreae (Acts 18) on the way. This was the harbor Paul used to sail to Ephesus and eventually back to Caesarea. Here Paul cut his hair because of the Nazarite vow he had made (Numbers 6:18). Phoebe also served the church established here (Romans 16:1).
We arrived back at the hotel in Athens for a late dinner and a free evening.