Perhaps the only downside of parking for the night on a marina is that the van is exposed to the elements, so it can get very cold in the winter time with the winds blowing in off the sea. It’s OK in the night when you can snuggle under a warm winter duvet, and we leave the heating on at 9 or 10 degrees to keep the chill off, but it can still feel very cold by the morning. To get round this we normally set the alarm for half an hour before we want to get up, so when it goes off one of us gets up to turn the heating and hot water on, and gets back into bed until it’s nice and toasty, which is what we did on Friday.
Once we were ready, we drove to Ancient Mycenae. It’s another UNESCO World Heritage site which is recommended in the Lonely Planet book, but neither of us had read up on it so as not to spoil it. The archaeological site is perched on the top of a hill, but thankfully not as high and a steep as the fortress at Nafplion. We arrived just after a Greek coach party had turned up, so whilst they headed off up the hill, we went to have a look at the museum which displayed artefacts found on the site. Most of the displays were of grave goods and offerings to the gods from between 1300BC to 1100BC, most of which was in excellent condition.
When we’d finished looking round the museum we set off up the hill to find that another busload of people had arrived, so we sat down for a while in the sunshine to let them look around, take their photos and move on. When it had quietened down, we went for a walk around the archaeology. Not surprisingly, much of it was rubble after 3,300 years, but you could still make out the sizes of many of the buildings and rooms, and the views of the surrounding countryside from the top were excellent.
Once we were done we went back to the van and set off for Corinth, via the supermarket. The camperstop is outside the new town and right by Ancient Corinth. It’s run by a family who have motorhomed across Europe and so understand what makes a good aire. They’d reserved a spot for us, as I’d emailed ahead, and it really is a lovely site (and a bargain at €10/night including electric hook up). We’ll be staying here for four nights.
This morning we walked up to the archaeological site just 400 metres away. To summarise the history of the place, the ancient Corinthians were fed up of being oppressed by their Spartan rulers and so encouraged the Romans to beat the Spartans up, which they did. The Corinthians didn’t show the Romans much respect though, and the Romans got so fed up of the Corinthians that they trashed the city, looting the buildings and sending valuables and works of art off to Rome. The city lay abandoned for a couple of centuries until Julius Caesar took an interest in the place, when the city was rebuilt as a Roman one.
The museum on the site is one of the better ones we’ve been to in Greece, with lots of statues and a couple of fantastic mosaics. Outside the archaeology was a bit better than Ancient Mycenae, where some of the columns of the Temple of Apollo have been restored. It’s quite a large site, with information boards in English dotted around the place.
As the site is on the tourist trail, there’s a small village there with a few tavernas and a couple of tat shops. The tavernas look good, so we’ll be returning tonight for a slap up dinner. Tomorrow we’ll be going to see the Corinth Canal, and we’ll have a rest day on Tuesday as we’ll be driving across to Athens on Wednesday.
Our plans after Athens are a bit up in the air at the moment though. We’d planned to visit Ancient Delphi and the Meteora monasteries on our way to Thessaloniki, but these places are in the mountains where snow is forecast, so we’ve had to knock that on the head. We’ll probably just spend a bit longer in Athens and get to Thessaloniki a bit earlier, but we’ll see how we go.