By Claire and Amanda
Today we checked out of our hotel in Chalcis bright and early to catch the bus to Eretria, a town sacred sacred Apollo Daphnephoros, a version of Apollo associated with the laurel trees. Our first stop in Eretria was the Archeological Museum where we saw one of the earliest representations of the centaur, a sculpture from the geometric period. In the museum, we also saw prizes that victors of the Panathenaic games won, large vases painted with the event the victor won. They would have been filled with olive oil-yum!
Then we walked right across the street to visit the ruins of housing and a theatre. We got to explore the ruins, seeing where drainage channels and a gateway would have stood. We also could see the remains of a wall that went all the way up the acropolis of Eretria.
After this quick visit in Eretria, we took a ferry across the Evian Gulf to Oropos. Braving the cold winds, we all came up to the deck to enjoy the sunshine and the beautiful views.
We then took a quick bus ride to the Amphiareieon, where Christina presented on the Myth of Amphiraus, a seer who was favored by Zeus and granted immortality after he and his chariot were swallowed by the earth.
The Amphiareieon was a sanctuary where the sick came for healing. They would buy a ticket, purchase a ram’s skin, and then fall asleep in the stoa where they would dream. Priests at the site would help them interpret their dreams to discover the medical cure they required. The site continues to have great biodiversity. The plain is filled with healing herbs and plants. We were thankful to visit a healing site since some of our group is recovering from being sick in Athens. Some even laid down on the ancient benches for a minute, like they were taking part in the ancient healing ritual. Others picked anemones and wild geraniums.
After a quick lunch on the road, we stopped in Thebes, the city where Dionysus and Herakles were born and where Oedipus had to solve the Sphinx’s riddle. The entire city was built on Mycenaean ruins that have yet to be excavated as they sit under homes and businesses. In Thebes, we quickly toured the Archeological Museum. Some of the most notable exhibits were the larnakes, the Christian floor mosaic that depicted the seasons, and the lapis lazuli- a gem that was imported from Afghanistan, giving a perfect example of how Greece is a cultural crossroads between East and West.
Once we were done touring the museum, we rode the bus to Delphi. We stopped at a vista to admire the amazing views of the valley and the snowcapped mountains. At sunset, we checked into the Hotel Acropole, ready to settle in for the night after a busy day.