Ever since I can remember I have wanted to go to Greece, to visit the home of the ancient heroes and gods I enjoyed reading about as a child. Luckily, our daughter’s enthusiasm for all things ancient Greek, and that of her best friend Georgia, provided a perfect excuse for a trip.
We booked our tickets planning to stay in a different hotel every night for a week as we drove around the mainland, visiting the ancient sites. We started in Athens, staying at the Fresh Hotel, (http://www.freshhotel.gr/) a hotel with a view of the Acropolis, a swimming pool on the roof (yes, the girls went for a swim) and the best cocktails in town.
During the next few days we travelled over 1,300 miles, with Delphi as our first destination. For hundreds of years, people visited this ancient site for words of wisdom from the Oracle at the Temple of Apollo and in that tradition we too visited, the girls asking the Oracle if they would be friends forever. Thankfully the answer was a resounding yes. Phew! As we ate we watched a sunset over the Bay of Corinth.
Pella, the birthplace of Alexander the Great was next up, with a quick stop at the Battlefield of Thermopylae on the way (where the 300 Spartans made their famous stand). Miles by this time, was getting into the swing of looking at old sites and found old bits of pottery as exciting as strange bugs in the agora at Pella.
Sadly we weren’t allowed to take any pictures of Philip the II’s amazing underground tomb in Vergina which was the highlight of the trip. (Think Tutankhamen, but in Greece.) And there isn’t much left of the ancient Sparta except a couple of ruined temples, although we investigated the surrounding hills for the original home of Helen (of Troy) and Menelaus, finding strange tombs along the way.
Our next stop was Mycenae, home of terrible stories of murderous fathers and wives. It was a windy evening and magical as we looked across the valley, thinking of the boats which set out from Troy all those thousands of years ago to go and bring back the stolen Helen.
We woke the following morning to a double rainbow across the valley before tucking a wondrous breakfast of feta and tomato sandwiches.
I hadn’t known anything about the ancient tombs in Mycenae, but there was something magical about walking into a structure 2500 years old. Ella proudly explained to us how they were built using corbelled arches.
Before heading back to Athens, we made a final stop at Epidaurus to visit the amphitheatre and investigate its amazing acoustics and staggering view.
Our final dinner in Athens was at the Fresh Hotel, complete with cocktails and view of the city at night.
And what better way to end our trip than with a trip to the Acropolis? We said our farewells and are already planning our next trip to the ancient world!