Kah-lee-MER-Ah Kah-lee-MER-ah Good morning good morning as we head out with the rise of the sun to the Theater of Epidavrous. I had no expectations of the day because I knew regardless of what we were doing, I would experience something magical. A quick ride, we picked up a local historian, Ms. Athena who was beautiful in all her splendor with a striking grey bob and deep red lipstick. What I noticed instantly was her jewelry, if was definitely a celebration of her culture, and her aura was captivating. She provided us with a brief history of the area as Ernesti slowly guided the bus up an incline. After a brief hike through a shaded area this sight was unveiled.
Now, the mystery of this site is in the illusion of how many spectators it holds, and where the acoustics are naturally placed. Ms Athena explained the architectural design leads you to believe a few hundred people would fit in the audience, the reality is that you can only see the magnitude of the seating from the top of the stairs, it seats thousands. Standing in the middle we clapped our hands and the sound echoed for what seemed like miles. But what was most fascinating to me was while standing on the stage an artist didn’t need a microphone. She explained during the Hellenic Festival the theater is open, full of an audience and the thespians project using their voices alone. The key is arriving early to learn the workings of the stage and how to successfully use the acoustics. She explained many Hollywood stars have made the mistake of showing up on the night of a performance to experience frustration. This is art in its truest form with nature as your vehicle.
Though the site is used for live performances during the Hellenic Festival work is constantly taking place maintaining the stage and the seating. Yes we were allowed to climb to the top, but many areas were roped off and we were asked to use one area and not climb at the same time. Just sitting on the blocks that were constructed by the hands of some some ancient artisan hundreds or even thousands of years ago leads you to believe that technology was not limited in ancient times. Imagine so many of these ruins were hidden under cities and structurally intact. What structures are we building today that will potentially remain five thousand years from now? Makes you think, ancients were no less intelligent that we are today.
From this point, our climb is steep and constant. Ernesti guides us into deep lush vegetation, the roads have become smaller and smaller, and as we are ascending, we see an increase in tour buses but a drastic decrease in local traffic. It is clear that we are shedding layers life, going back to basics. We pass several elders walking , some with animals, others with goods.
Mycenae had several sections of ruins to explore, but I think the best view was while we were driving up the steep road to the parking area. Instantly we were told that the hike was steep, its hot and everyone should have water. Athena discussed the history but because of the heat allowed us more time to explore the ruins since it took about 20 minutes to hike to the top. Just a warning, Greece requires extended periods of walking, in the heat, lots of listening, in the heat, lots of activities, in the heat!
I will be honest, I was experiencing information overload and I can’t provide personal details of the history of this site. This is why I always purchase a book if possible, sadly the gift shop was closed.
The adventure of the day ended with a lovely lunch and the best roasted lamb I have ever had in life! We loaded the bus, and got comfortable, for the long ride, next stop Olympia! Home of the first Olympic Games!
We pulled into another cute town during early evening with enough time to do some exploring and shopping before dinner. The ILIS Hotel didn’t disappoint, the rooms were quaint and clean, the balcony view stunning. Dinner was delicious and the owner was more than happy to explain her disdain for processed food when I asked her why the meat and vegetables had such a distinct sweet flavor. It was simple, the food was a reflection of the environment and it’s people, happy! She explained that she grows all her food, and raises her own livestock, she doesn’t waste anything, what isn’t eaten is given back to the animals and composted. She expressed the importance of eating seasonally and being proud of the food of her country. This is why I love traveling and staying in locally owned establishments. How often can you have a conversation about seasonal vegetation and livestock butchering with your chef at the Hilton?
After dinner I decided to sit out on the patio, smoke a cigar, and sip on some wine. I just enjoyed the sounds of the local children playing in the streets, the old men laughing, talking and smoking, and the women organizing fruits at the mini shop but yelling lovingly at the playing children. This my friends was life, these people are happy, you see it in their faces, you taste it in the food, and feel it in the loving energy they generated.
I sat for hours an contemplated quitting my job, and staying in this exact location, then I thought, wait, what adventures might tomorrow bring! As I finally headed inside, I smiled, a simple thank you for being in a placed filled with such beauty and having the opportunity to have the experience.
Blessings and many moments of travel information overload~Ny