By Pria Jackson and Amanda Orndorff
Today was a big travel day! We began at the Environmental Museum of Stymphalia. We learned that Greece, like Virginia, has Karstic Phenomenon, where the limestone slowly dissolves. We talked a bit about the myth of Herakles and the Stymphalian Birds, which is one of Professor Salowey’s area of expertise. In her dissertation, she wrote that Herakles’ defeat of the birds—who were associated with the destructive waters of the Stymphalian lake—was a poetic record of Mycenaean control of the water through irrigation and other techniques.
The museum also held many examples of flora and fauna native to Greece. There were many interactive exhibits, including bird drawings and river pioneering.
After the indoor exhibits, we hiked to the ancient site of Stymphalia. The mixture of nature trail and archeological site is a new type of museum for Greece and we loved it! When we got to the site itself, we were able to climb through the ruins of the temple of (probably) Athena. Professor Richter pointed out the crocus buds growing all across the cliff side from which you can grow Saffron!
We had an excellent view of the lake from the foundations but since some of the site was flooded, we had the head back to the bus.
The bus took us to the other end of the hiking trail where the only completely Frankish built church in Greece stands in ruins.
Among the ruins we found many treasures including goat horns, one discarded boot, a quarter of a plastic mannequin, and more pretty wildflowers. Unfortunately, we did not find the grave of the headless German rumored to be buried there.
Some of the spolia in the ruins suggested that the blocks used to build this church were once part of a temple of Artemis! We clambered about for a bit to the barking of many herding dogs before continuing on our journey.
Then we drove back to Athens!
Once we arrived back in our beloved city we immediately left Athens!
We boarded a ferry at the Port of Piraeus, the largest passenger port in Europe. A hour long ferry ride took us to Aegina where we’ll be for the next two nights! We are staying at a quaint little seaside hotel that we bought out. Literally, we are the only ones here. We have all the rooms. We dub this hotel, Hollinsassia, the newest Greek neighborhood! Our own little slice of Greek paradise.