Day tripping: Archaeological sites of Epidavros and Mycenae

I rented a little diesel Fiat this morning, punchy on the stick shift, and google-mapped myself out of town to Epidavros, one of the best preserved theatres from Ancient Greece. It’s an extensive site, sanatoriums, temples, healing baths, a stadium, etc but the theater is the knockout feature. The acoustics are incredible. A couple tour busses disgorged a loud gaggle of highschool kids and while I was standing at the top row of the theatre, and they stood at center stage far below and did some spontaneous group singing that brought the place alive. After a couple hours walking around, gawking at the abundance of old things, I got back in the car and drove another 20 or 30 km to another site, this one even older, going back to 1,500 BCE. Mycenae is, excuse the cliche, awe inspiring. Both it and Epidavros are out in the countryside and wildflowers are popping and birds are singing. It started raining in the afternoon which only added to the desolation like that poem Ozymandias Both sites have terrific museums loaded with artefacts that conjure up something, maybe the past. Mycenae has several beehive tombs, two with roofs intact, that are 3,500 years old and you can walk around inside. Here I wasn’t serenaded by anyone — I was completely alone to commune with the stone. The site closed at 3:30 (which I gather is typical closing time for archeological sites and museums in the off season). I was hungry, so I decided to go to the town of Argos, which is the oldest continuously inhabited town in Europe. There are sites close to Argos but the town itself doesn’t seem to be up to much. I cannot describe the meal I had, suffice to say it was raining in the off season and I ate in a restaurant on the main square and the only dish they had left was lemon beef, which came with french fries and nothing else but was really quite good. I’m now back in Nafplio for my last night here. I’m typing this blog post in a bar near my hotel on my phone (all these blog posts are from my phone) and it is a perfectly pleasant bar. I made the decision soon after dropping off the car to not go to Delphi with my remaining time in Greece. Basically it would be too much travel. So I’m staying in Peloponnese and tomorrow morning I will leave Nafplio and bus to Sparta. The main attraction at Sparta is Mystras, which is about 10 km out of the town and which apparently is a stunning set of medieval slash Byzantine ruins. I really did want to go to Delphi, but it and so much more will have to wait till a future trip.