Yesterday I explore the ancient city of Mycenae. Legend attributes the founding of the city to Perseus (who defeated Medusa). It is the city where Agamemnon was king, it is featured in Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, and Hercules performed his labors for a different Mycenaean king, later on. In history and legend Mycenae was an important place that helped to shape the Greek Classical age and it is recognized by the UNESCO for that very reason.
From Nafplion I took an hour bus that dropped us directly at the ancient site and for 4 Euros I was set free to explore an ancient site as well as see items discovered at the site preserved in the archeology museum. There were a few areas roped off that I was not able to explore, but as I was standing in a beehive burial chamber I had an overwhelming feeling that I was experiencing something that my future children probably will not ever have a chance to do. I have touched ruins with my bare hands and stood in former houses and rooms of palaces. I saw and took pictures with the Lion’s Gate at the entrance to the palace and walked partially into an ancient cistern that demonstrates the advanced technology of Mycenae.
I remember being seeing Michelangelo’s Pieta in Rome three years ago with my parents and my mom talking about how when she was there 30 years earlier that it wasn’t behind the thick bulletproof glass and commenting on how things were so different then. I wonder in 30 years what the Mycenae ruins will look like and if the same luxuries I experienced yesterday will be available to new visitors. In many ways I doubt it and consider myself very lucky.
In the museum at the site I was browsing the items for sale and was looking at refrigerator magnets. As I started at them I realized that in my travels so far (three years ago and now this trip) I had seen just about all of the artifacts pictured on that display. In the same way, at my pension last night I was walking down the hall and looking at photographs of different Greek cities and ancient sites and realized that I had been to just about all of the cities and seen all of the ancient sites pictured. How incredible is that?!?! I don’t say this to boast about what I have done and seen but rather to share my excitement. I never thought I’d be able to say something like that. How am I so fortunate to be able to say that I have seen so many wonderful things in this world?
When I returned to Nafplion in the afternoon I walked down by the waterfront to take sunset pictures and browsed a few shops. I ended up eating dinner at a restaurant in the old town. I spent a little more than I had planned, but that was only because I was invited to join a mother and daughter who were also eating in the restaurant. They had been to Mycenae at the same time I was and had ridden the same bus. We had seen each other a few times throughout the day at the site as well as back in Nafplion and it was just by chance that we ended up at the same restaurant. It was fun to have dinner with someone other than myself and we chatted for a bit and enjoyed our meal together.
All in all yesterday was a good day. I do not think that I will be eating out much more in Greece as everything I have tried so far has been a bit of a disappointment compared to the amount of money I have had to spend on it. I also think I need to be more careful at the grocery store. I have a sneaking suspicion that I ate sour cream for breakfast the last two days – but I am not quite sure. It might be that I discovered the elusive Greek yogurt that everyone keeps telling me about. It really didn’t taste like sour cream, but it wasn’t quite like yogurt either. I really have no idea but either way it hasn’t hurt me yet!