Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Ancient Epidauros

Friday, 6th November.

I woke up about 7:00am with sunlight streaming through the blinds at the back of the van. Gill was still flat out, so I rolled out of bed to make coffee. If anything, Poros looked even more beautiful in the morning light than at sunset yesterday. We took a stroll after breakfast and tried to decide what to do. Stay here, get the bikes off and explore some of the smaller roads on Poros island, or move on and visit Ancient Epidauros with its famous Greek theatre. In the end we decided on the latter, mainly because Gill has strained her back somehow, and getting the bikes off the rack is a two person job. Better rest a sore back rather than risk making it worse.

Dawn light floods into the pit.

Rosy morning at Poros
So we headed back up the vertiginous road we came down yesterday, stopping off to buy a few vegetables and a jar of honey from the worlds most spectacularly situated road-side stall.


The gulf of Argolis

View from the lay-by
Retail opportunities with a view


The much photographed theatre at Epidauros is as impressive as the brochure pictures promise and the hillside setting in pine woods idyllic.


The ancient theatre at Epidauros


A group of French students put on an impromptu performance
The rest of the site is fascinating too. It was the primary centre of healing in the Classical world. The treatments mixed medical practice, auto-suggestion and religious ritual. Central to this practice was the idea that after undergoing treatment patients would fall into a sleep, and the God, Asklepios would come to them in a dream, the old sick self would die, and they would awake as a well person.


Steps down to the shrine

Photographs of friezes showing the miraculous healing process decorated the shrine

Like most ancient sanctuaries athletic events were part of the function - this one is still used by local schools

An example of early 21st Century Germanic wheeled habitation



We left the sanctuary mid- afternoon as Camperstops are few in this area. Although we are less than 40kms from Corinth, a major city, this corner of the Peloponnese feels remote. The first place we looked at to park a was Para Ilia. It is listed in Peejay's stopovers, but the beach side road has at least four no camping signs, and when we turned up a local on a motorbike came along and made it pretty clear he was none too keen on us staying the night there. This is the first time this has occurred, and we decided to move on. It was a 40km drive to Korfos, the next possible site to the north, including backtracking 10kms down a minor road. Korfos is a more substantial fishing port than it looks on the map. By road it feels remote, but I suspect it's just a short hop by boat to larger communities on nearby islands, such as Aegina.

Camperstop at Korfos, nice view, shame about the dog poo.



We found a level spot just beyond the fishing harbour. It would have been ideal but for a German caravaner across the road who decided to run his generator for hours.



Herr Generator's caravan
This is likely to be our last night free camping in Greece as we head to the more urbanised north coast. It's all too fresh in the mind to make sense of it, but I know we've had a fabulous experience, memorable, thought provoking, at times challenging, but always fascinating.

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