Perahora, as it is pronounced by the locals is absolutely beautiful. It’s high above the Corinthian gulf on a peninsula with a lake, more ruins, plenty of rocks and cliffs and olive trees and views I won’t soon forget. I’m staying in a farm cottage in a valley with two dogs, two and a half cats and two incredibly wonderful and gracious people, Vania and George.
On my last day in Athens I didn’t know what I was going to find with my first couchsurfing experience, but it has been the best of times.
On the morning of my departure I once again was able to enjoy the beauty of Athens without the masses, as I got up to go for a run around the acropolis early Wednesday morning. I ended up at the Agora, and I was the only person to explore the grounds and early morning sun. Another great aspect of my stay in Athens, was across the road from where I was staying was the best cafe in Athens. Coffee was there specialty and they did it well! If you find yourself near the acropolis look up Coffee dive Acropolis. You won’t be disappointed, but also there also happened to be a Greek/French bakery nearby that made my morning routines so very tasty.
I caught my first bus over to Corinth, that was a bit of an experience. In the bus station I was asked by multiple folks to buy their wears, ranging from tissues to cologne and ray band knock offs. The most memorable was a young fella, say 14, who came with only a sad face asking for the money’s. The problem for him though was I had sat near him perhaps 5 mins earlier, where he was the happiest, chattiest of chaps, enjoying life, eating possibly the biggest ice cream. So I didn’t succumb to his poor acting, One has to be a little critical sometimes.
It’s an interesting place Athens, or my experience of Greece thus far, for that matter, as there are parts of extreme beauty but also places that reflect the extremes of the Economic crisis that has crippled this country. There are shells of buildings, unfinished homes, cryptic graffiti with incredibly well behaved stray dogs and cats to serve as friendly companions.
In the valley where I am staying, I can see 2 homes that remain just shells of what could have been, I ask who owns the land, or buildings, and there is uncertainty coupled with a deep disappointment and anger. Which I think is fair enough, as the worst instances of these shell homes, are often just in front of someone else’s home, so their views are ruined by the ruins of human greed or perhaps unrestrained stupidity. Either way, it’s not far from conversation.
Besides that, my stay has been absolutely great. They took me to the ruins of old Corinth which were very interesting, but they paled in comparison to what I found on top of the mountain the ruins lay beneath. The Acrocorinth, as it is known or upper Corinth, is just incredible. Like nothing I have ever experienced or dreamed of before. I mean the cliffs surrounding this thing are something to get any rock climber excited, but when you add that to 4000 years of human habitation, you can see why it quickly became my favourite place to have visited. It’s going to have to be an pretty darn amazing place to top the Acrocorinth.
I mean we’re talking awesome defensive walls, now times that by 3, as there were 3 large and imposing gates you would need to make your way through to get to the main space, where the old temple of Aphrodite was. But the space between these defensive gates is still fairly darn awesome, with ruins and shells of buildings everywhere. It has its own water source, and many sets of caves that make their way down the mountain to secret and secure positions in the old city. The views in that place were absolute gold. I’m stoked also because I made a video of this whole experience which will be on a YouTube channel near you at some stage. When I watch it now and reflect on it, I was like a kid in a candy shop, or rather a candy shop made specially for me, with views to die for whilst enjoying my candy.
Funny side story there. When I first got to Corinth I received a message from a fellow traveler who was spending some time in Corinth and wanting to do stuff with people rather than by herself, which I totally understood, but because I was staying a good 20 min drive from Corinth it probably wouldn’t work, as I explained in my response.
Anyways, I’m heading up the Acrocorinth, stopping to read a info sign to be joined by a young lady, I thought nothing of it at first, then as we engaged in typical touristy pleasantries, asking how far to the top, that kind of pleasantry. I had the suspicion as we parted that perhaps this was the German girl from the couchsurfing. I didn’t really fancy yelling out what I thought her name was, as that would be weird so I let it pass. However as we left the place, sadly again it closed unfathomably at 3pm, we drove down the mountain where up a head there was an ultra keen or super unlucky person walking. We slow down to offer them a ride and it was the German girl whose name I failed to yell out. She waved us on, happy to be walking in the light rain, I was like that’s totally the girl from the couchsurfing.
Long story short Susanne was my hiking buddy the following day, as my hosts were able to collect her from a nearby bus stop and take us both to the beautiful lake where they have a water skiing business. She joined me Adventuring our way along the coast to find the ruins of Heraion and my reluctant swimming buddy down a cannel that joins the Lake to the Corinthian gulf.
I’ve been blessed with meeting some truly wonderful people. I’m sure there will be plenty to come, which is kinda cool to think about.
Tomorrow I’m catching a flight to Crete for my first Workaway experience for the next 11 days. Currently the sun is shining hot, the valley is quiet, I have some music playing in the background and there is a smell of BBQ, lunch.
Oh the trials of life.
Though I’m reminded by a great quote by Robert Laidlaw, “The man who smiles when the sun shines and frowns when storms gather is but a creature of circumstance, whereas the joy of life ought to come from the joy of living, not from the surrounding conditions.”
Something to consider.