After an overnight ferry from mainland Greece to the island of Crete, we docked bright and early on Sunday morning in Heraklion. Our first stop (after breakfast at the hotel) was the Archaeological Museum at Heraklion. We saw lots of findings from digs on Crete (including from the palaces at Knossos and Phaistos, both sites that we would visit) and learned about the Minoan civilization that we would be encountering over our next two days in Crete. Highlights included the Phaistos Disc and the Snake Goddesses.
Yesterday, we visited the ancient site of Delphi, where we learned about the Pythia (the oracle who gave prophecies to a select few). We first ‘washed ourselves’ by sprinkling some water on our heads in the Castalian Spring where the Pythia would have first bathed. Then, we went up through the site, moving through the various offerings from many Greek states such as the Treasury of Athens (pictured below). Finally, we reached the temple of Apollo where we did some readings and learned about the gases that may have existed in the temple long ago. After the site, we got a chance to explore the museum.
This morning we left Nafplio and headed to Mycenae, a stronghold of the Perseid and Atreid dynasties in the Late Helladic Period. For those of us who have read or are reading the Aeneid, the Iliad, or the Odyssey in Greek, Latin, or English, this visit was pretty exciting, as Mycenae is an important setting in the epic cycle.
After two smooth flights, we landed in Athens on Monday afternoon and, with the help of our guides Mitch and Ilias, made our way to the Hotel Attalos in Athens. After a delicious dinner and a good night’s sleep, we set out for the Acropolis.