Dateline: Athens. After a whirlwind drive through the countryside, at breakneck speeds, up and down two-lane roads that a mountain goat would have balked at transversing, we found ourselves at the theater at Epidaurus, a temple and sacred space to Dionysus. I stood on the spot in the center of the stage that allows your voice to be heard at the top of the seats.
As a theater person, this was really special. It was really tempting to recite a few lines of Shakespeare, but my fellow travelers, the majority of a group of 26, would have been, I daresay, singularly unimpressed with whatever oratory sorcery I would have presented.
What made the site all the more special was, ironically, the snow. The locals were all thrilled, for they almost never get snow, not this time of year, or really, ever. We decided to accept it as the magical offering it undoubtedly was.
After that, we were hustled back to the bus in order to get to Mycenae, the fortress palace of King Agamemnon, and another steep climb. This time, I would not be denied. I was keen to see these ruins, and I made my way with plodding determination. In the cold, and the wind, it was a brutal hike up steep ramps and installed metal walkways and wooden stairs. But it was really worth the effort. I mean, that place…you don’t have to have much of an imagination to look out over the walls and see what the sea would have looked like across the flatland, and see the city of Argos on the hill by the sea.
Once at the top of the site, Jes and I decided to head back down the back side, and when we came out into the common area, leading down to the tour bus, we realized that we were holding up the rest of the group! We had started the ascent, ahead of the tour, because we knew it would take us longer, and somehow or another, they all slipped by us when we were rubbernecking or talking to the lovely older couple from England about American politics. Who knows how these things happen.
After we rejoined the group with only a smattering of dirty looks, we broke for lunch and then made the long drive back to Athens. Along the way, we stopped at the canal in Corinth and marveled at the feat of engineering. But the cold weather kept us from admiring it more than a minute or two.
That was when we found this, in one of the multitude of roadside tourist traps we have been to. I’ve not seen it’s like before or since. But oh, how I have the questions. All of the questions.