July 8, 2019, Cape Sounion, Greece — The cruise ship Celestyal Olympia docked at Athens’ port, Piraeus, which had been 85% destroyed when the Allies bombed it by mistake in WW II. We needed to kill most of the day before our late afternoon flight home, so we clambered aboard our last bus for our last excursion, with our favorite guide, Kriton.
Off for a drive along the rocky and beautiful Athenian Riviera...
...en route to the 6th century BCE Temple of Poseidon atop Cape Sounion, about 40 miles southeast of Athens.
The view from the temple over the Aegean...
The temple was a ‘beacon’ for sailors since it could be seen from way out to sea and guide ships to the shore. The original temple was destroyed in 480 BCE, during the Persian Wars (499-400 BCE), and rebuilt in white marble in 200 AD, at the same time Athens’ Parthenon was rebuilt. Only 15 of the original 38 columns are still standing.
Greek city states —like Sparta and Athens — were continually battling one another unless they had a common enemy, in which case they fought together against, for example, the Persians or the Turks. A nearby city named Lavrium was famous for its silver mines and silver was a source of great wealth for Athens. So much wealth, that the Athenians wondered what they should do with all the profits: Split the drachmas evenly among all the citizens of Athens? Or use all the profits to build a naval fleet to protect the city. They chose the latter — and that’s how they ended 100 years of warfare and defeated the Persians.
Last stop: The Athens International Airport — built in 2004 when Athens hosted the Summer Olympics — for our late afternoon, 10-hour flight to beautiful downtown Newark. I always check out the bookstore (often a W.H. Smith) ... I love to find other editions of my very favorite French book, Le Petit Prince.
Another classic author... who happened to spend much time with her archeologist husband at various Middle Eastern digs in Syria, Iraq, Ur, Nineveh, and Nimrud, to name a few.
As of one week ago, Wiki stated: ‘Guinness World Records lists Christie as the best-selling novelist of all time. Her novels have sold roughly 3 billion copies, and her estate claims that her works come third in the rankings of the world's most-widely published books, behind only Shakespeare's works and the Bible.’ But I digress... again.
One more Greece post to come with bits and bobs that didn’t fit in elsewhere, then I’ll leave you alone for a while! #