We started our day exploring the Nemean ruins; this time accompanied by a pack of watchdogs. Nemea is under supervision of the University of California at Berkley. This site showed us the effects of properly done preservation. However, the extent of their reconstruction and rebuilding efforts showed us the delicate balance in recreating the past. Restoration can be controversial when re-creation takes precedence over preservation.
Afterwards, we went to another site, which is supervised by the American School in Athens. The Corinthian ruins were extensive. We started by seeing the Temple of Apollo where professor Salowey pointed out some of the evidence that indicates that this is an early archaic temple. We explored the fountain of Glauke, the Agora and the Lechaion road, walking on marble that was placed by the Romans.
Then we shopped at local supermarkets to supply a picnic lunch before heading off on our greatest challenge to date: the Acrocorinth. As we started our journey we encountered a woman dubbed “Evil Maria” by another archaeologist. This woman is a legendary sheepherder and ancient ruin ruiner. She lets her sheep roam over the ruins of Acrocorinth. It should be noted that sheep dung is not the best preservative for marble and ancient rock. It gave Greece’s current travel theme of “Explore your senses” a whole new meaning.
We then began the arduous trek up 1600 feet of pure Salowey torture. We have become Salophobic, which is the fear of hiking mountains at a fast pace. We love her, but we hate the disease. We are planning a return trip to the Temple of Asclepius to cure our sore feet, although we have little hope of curing the phobia itself. However, even thus daunted, we all made it to the top, including the geriatrics who showed up after a slight delay. But, what goes up must come down. Following the example of Prof. Richter who has learned to live with his Salophobia, we all excelled at downhill.
Upon arriving at Athens we got a strong sense of longing for the quaint villages we had explored. However, we do appreciate the use of telephones, internet, bathtubs and hot water. As much as we love exploring the traditional village cultures and try to be travelers and explorers in the truest sense, we struggle with our own culture’s spoiled nature of having these conveniences. Now we are comfortably back in Athens, nestled in our modern conveniences.
Jenny & Ashley