Since the 7th century BC, people have tried to connect the Aegean Sea with the Ionian Sea. At this time the Ancient Greeks built a diolkos – or paved slipway – and it was the job of the crew to pull their small boats across rollers from one sea to the other – some 6 kilometres. Part of the diolkos can still be seen today.
It was the Roman emperor Nero who started work on the canal itself, but the work was stopped when the Gauls invaded. Since then work many people have had a go at completing the canal, but it wasn’t until 1893 that this was achieved. The canal today is 23m wide and 90m deep, cut through solid rock.
At each end of the canal is a submersible bridge, so we went along to the Corinth end of the canal hoping to see the bridge in action. There’s unfortunately no timetable for this, so it’s pot luck as to whether you get to see this or not. There was certainly nothing doing when we arrived, so we went for a wander. The guy at the coastguard’s office didn’t know when a ship would be along, so we went back to the van for a brew. A couple of blokes turned up at the cabin on the bridge, but they were none the wiser. Apparently the bridge at the other end of the canal had a fault, so I guess that they wouldn’t have been able to let any traffic through anyway. After waiting a while we decided to give up and head back to the camper stop, where we spent the rest of the day reading in the sunshine.
Today has been a rest day – just a walk into the village for a coffee this morning and more reading this afternoon, researching things to see and do in Athens where we head tomorrow. There’s so much to see and do there (as well as eat and drink) that it could be one crazy week!