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04 June 2011

Greek Travelogue: Saturday

Today, Kostas drove us to Corinth. It was a harrowing trip. Kostas is a kind and generous man, but we are certainly not used to Greek driving. It was a white-knuckle experience for sure. We first climbed up to Acrocorinth, the high part of the ancient city. Unlike Athens' Acropolis, Corinth's acropolis had much less in the way of religiously significant ruins. There was a cool Byzantine (now Orthodox) church on the site along with the ruins of an Ottoman mosque, though. We then spent some time at the ruins of Ancient Corinth, which is an absolute mess, but I did get to see another bema where the Apostle Paul made an appearance in the New Testament. Next, we had an amazing seafood lunch (including great octopus) overlooking the Bay of Corinth during which we heard traditional songs sung accompanied by accordion and saw traditional (spontaneous) Greek dancing. Outside the historic/archeological stuff, that might have been the highlight of the trip. Then, we saw Vouliagmeni Lake and the ruins of the Temple of Hera, which is off the tourist trail. On our way back, Kostas stopped at a mountaintop cantina where we had spring water and a beer. It occurred to me that the entire countryside reminded me of Napa, with its rolling hills and spotty vegetation. I also learned America is not alone in its roadside sacramental memorials to vehicular deaths. Greece has little basilicas--about the size of large birdhouses--along their roads. This is a new phenomenon in the U.S., and I'm wondering how long it's been going on in Europe. Part of what piqued my interest in the States is that I would assume that many, if not most, of the shrines are not Catholic; however, Protestants have historically been very anti-sacramental. It makes a little more sense in Greece given the dominance of Orthodox Christianity, but comparatively, I'm hooked.

Anyway, I'm off to the airport at 3:00 AM. I won't be getting back to Milledgeville until after 9:00 PM, which (if I'm lucky) will be a travel time of about 25 hours. Ugh. See you all stateside!

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