Jeff's Blog - Thursday, October 6, 2016 - Corinth, Sounion and Athens

I started the day at Acrocorinth, the bottom of which I ended my day at yesterday. The road to the top had lots of switchbacks, no guardrail even though it was right on the edge of the mountain, and was very steep. At some points I couldn't help but instinctively lean forward in my driver's seat to prevent my car from flipping over backward. The castle atop Acrocorinth has a very long history, but today is really just ruins of walls and a few sparse buildings. The attraction is the view. This pile of rock just dominated the landscape; when I first drove past it yesterday at noon, before I even knew what it was, I knew this must be something special. It was quite a hike up to the various parts of this really-spread-out fortress, then back down part way to fork a different way in the path to a different site in the fortress. The first photo is from only short distance up but best shows the cone-shaped mountain on the valley floor. You can also see the parking lot in that photo. The second photo is the view from the top, a 690-foot elevation gain from the parking lot, not counting all the 300-foot climbs and drops along the way. The parking lot isn't visible in that second photo, but just above the rightmost tip of the largest black shadow in the photo is that S-curved road which is prominent in the first photo. The spot that first photo was taken from is the courtyard at the tip of that shadow in the second photo. We're a long way up!

The path was pretty rough, like in the first photo below. You'd have to be a mountain goat to have sure footing! Speaking of which, a flock put on a nice show for me on a rocky cliff side. Amazing. Plus, did I mention that the scenery is just gorgeous in every direction? (Especially the direction of that pointed pile of rock toward the south.) The last shot below is the view toward the north, showing the Gulf of Corinth in the background, the modern city of Corinth at the right edge, and Ancient Corinth (with that Temple of Apollo from last night) in that microscopic brown left-to-right sliver below the edge of the cliff just above the largest foreground rock, just this side of the small red-roofed city. Oh, the views! I am soooo glad I stopped in Corinth.

Oh, and there's a fortress, too. Below are a few typical shots of the fortress itself.

The walk back down was disappointing because I felt myself losing a lot of potential energy with no apparent gain in kinetic energy. (That's a physics joke.) Next I stopped at a monastery, drove to the Temple of Poseidon on a cliff by the sea, ate supper, and waited for sunset. Unfortunately, sunset was dull-cloudless-awful as is the custom here in Greece, but the temple is nevertheless beautiful, and was built at a stunning site. Next I drove an hour to Athens airport, returned my rental car (yippee!), and am on a subway headed to central Athens and my hotel where I'll stay for 5 nights, walking to the sights. Acropolis tomorrow!

Quite a distance was covered today, driving from Corinth at F to the Temple of Poseidon at G, then back to Athens Airport at A, and a one-hour train/subway ride to Athens at H. By the way, with all the driving today I finished listening to my six versions of Mahler's 7th symphony. The clear winner is Leonard Bernstein, conducting the New York Philharmonic, in December of 1965. Nobody comes close their enthusiastic energy of the first movement, and the remaining movements are at least as good as any of the other performances.

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