I have two more Europe Recaps for you. I know some people are thinking thank goodness, I am so sick of this girl’s vacation! But I hope some other people are sad and wanting to see more pretty pictures because I have a bunch in store for you today!
If you missed my previous Europe Reaps check them out:
For mainland Greece Tom and I decided to book a bus tour. Greece is not nearly as easy to get around by trains. With my less than stellar navigating skills, driving can become stressful very quickly. So in order to save our vacation and marriage we opted for the bus. The great thing about the bus trip was that we had a guide. I highly recommend this if you are going to be visiting ancient Greece. I find that after a while of visiting ruins they start to look alike, having a guide there to explain everything was so worth it.
After leaving Athens our first pit-stop was at the Corinth Canal.
Next stop was the ancient town, Mycenae. This is one of the oldest ancient Greek civilizations dating back to 1600 BC. This place made the Roman Forum look brand new! The ruins that remain there are very minimal except one, the lion gate which was the entrance to the city.
After Mycenae we headed to Epidaurus which has the most well-preserved amphitheatre. This place is 2500 years old and still hosts theatre performances. I wish we had got a chance to see that! The acoustics in this place were incredible. If you were standing at the very top you could hear every word someone talking in a conversation voice was saying on the stage.
The next day we were off to Olympia. I loved this stop. It was so cool to see the origins of the Olympics, which dates back to 776 BC and the museum there was phenomenal.
It was funny to learn that not a whole lot has changed in thousands of years. Athletes learnt that taking certain herbs helped enhance their performance. This was considered cheating and in order to stop this, they had to submit a pee sample. The pee was smelt in order to determine if the athlete had been taking any herbs. If athletes were caught cheating their names were carved in the stone walls that led to the Olympic stadium. These carvings are still there today, talk about the ultimate punishment.
My favourite part of the day was running a lap in the Olympic Stadium. It is one of those life moments that I’ll never forget.
FYI – that is supposed to be me celebrating crossing the finish line, I don’t just run with my hands up in the air…
After our run, Tom and I graciously accepted our place on the podium where victors were crowned with olive wreaths.
On top of that podium used to be a statue of Nike, the goddess of victory. We got a chance to see the statue later in the museum.
The next day we were in Delphi. We started the morning off with an early morning hike. Tom was less than impressed when I said I wanted to set my alarm for 6 am to go hiking. But it was a gorgeous hike through the Greek mountains where we got to overlook the ruins of Delphi, well worth the early morning wake up call.
After the hike we headed off with our group to tour Delphi. Delphi was believed to be the centre of the earth. This is where, in the Temple of Apollo, the oracle was. Greeks would come from all around to ask the oracle questions as it was believed they could speak directly with the gods.
I found being in Delphi such an incredible experience. This is the place of Greek mythology.
Our last day on the bus trip we headed way north to Meteora. Meteora means suspended in air which is entirely fitting for a place where monasteries are built on the top of sandstone pillars. This area of Greece is absolutely beautiful and then the monasteries just make it incredible.
There were 24 monasteries but today only 6 remain. In this picture, you can see 4 of them.
We visited 2 of the monasteries, where I was given a very fashionalble skirt to wear.
You couldn’t take pictures in the monasteries but these are still functioning places of worship where nuns and monks live.
After Meteora we took a very LONG bus ride back to Athens. We stayed at the port because we had a early morning ferry the next day.
Overall, I loved seeing mainland Greece. I think a lot of tourists skip over this part and go straight to the islands which I think is a big mistake. While the tour did involve a lot of driving, seeing these ancient sites was incredible. It’s so humbling to think of how old these places are and the civilizations that came before you.
Tomorrow I’ll share my final recap of the Greek Islands, which are incredibly beautiful so you don’t want to miss that recap!