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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Delphi, Mycenae, and Napflio

Last week I was a little homesick. It could have been that Jim was traveling, and it was rainy so the kids and I had to stay inside, and it was rather a bear of a day with the kids “testing their boundaries,” or pushing my buttons, or however you want to say that they were misbehaving. We are at about the halfway point in our European stay, and my thoughts have turned to home more often. We have also visited many of the major places in Greece that we wanted to go, and I feel our time here drawing to a close.  Of course there is much, much more that we could see and do (the islands of Santorini and Crete top the list), but I feel like I’ve had a sampling of many of Greece’s main attractions. We have visited two islands (Mykonos and Hydra) and Athens several times. For our last major excursion in Greece, we rented a car to drive to Delphi, and then to Mycenae on the Peloponnese, seeing more of Greece’s landscapes, from mountains to olive groves, along the way. I asked an archaeologist who works in Greece what her "must-see" sites were, and Delphi and Mycenae topped her list. They were both truly impressive, and well worth the drive; I'm so glad we were able to visit them.

Temple of Apollo, Delphi

L2 overlooking the Delphi theater

J, L1, and L2 at the stadium, Delphi

Athenian treasury, Delphi 

Delphi: breath-taking classical Greek site on Mount Parnassus, among the pines. Known for the temple to Apollo and the oracle.
Stayed at the Pythos Rooms.
Feat of endurance: carrying both kids up the mountain to the stadium shortly before the site closed.
Kids’ favorite: eating cookies and playing with a Greek boy outside the museum.
J’s favorite: being in the mountains.

Sanctuary of Athena, Delphi

Ancient Mycenae: massive, stonewalled, fortified city dating to around 1350 BC.
Most impressive: the Lion Gate.
Kids’ favorite part: building pine needle houses while waiting for mom to tour the museum, and drinking fizzy lemonade while waiting for dad to tour the museum.
I will remember the scent of orange blossoms, the buzzing of bees among the wildflowers growing thickly among great blocks of stone, and the chatter of French school kids.
Stayed at the Petite Planete, which served an excellent dinner and breakfast on the patio.

The Lion Gate

Grave Circle A, where Heinrich Schliemann excavated the "Mask of Agamemnon"  

Photo by L2

L1 at Mycenae

Drove to Napflio on a whim because the guidebook described it as the prettiest town in Greece.
Built in the 1700s, it has three massive stone forts protecting the city. Today, it has an abundance of gelato shops.
Kids’ favorite part: fruity drinks by the sea.

Napflio fortress with bougainvillea

Prettiest setting for a playground, Napflio

Sleeping at last on the way home.

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