After our weekend of adventures in Nafplion, we drove back to Athens via Epidavros for our third visit to the ampitheatre there. The weather was starting to get cooler after our amazingly sunny days and we got caught in the rain for the first time in a while. Really there's not a lot more to say about the theatre other than it continues to be impressive, but short of visiting with guests in the future, it's probably not worth returning to. On the way back, we travelled through lots of orange groves and bought ten kilos of fresh oranges which were made into orange juice once we got home.
The next few days in Athens were again a very relaxed family holiday. We chilled out, played games, enjoyed each other's company and visited a few more museums. We had a (very late) Christmas dinner with pudding, brandy butter and custard, Ella baked a cake and Jasper made us all Mac'N'Cheese.
We visited the Benaki Museum which I enjoyed more than I expected. It's one of the lesser visited museums, but if you've spent a bit of time in Greece, it's actually very interesting. It covers Greek civilization and culture chronologically from the earliest neolithic finds right through to the modern ages. It's a large collection, but Benaki focussed on the best examples of each thing which felt special. My personal favourite was the room focussed on Athens and the Acropolis and it was very interesting seeing old drawings from the 17C where you could spot the various landmarks around the city and relate it to what we know now.
Inge, Ella and I headed over to the National Archeological Museum which I haven't visited since our very first week here in Athens. I felt that I got a lot more out of it on this occasion. Before it was a collection of "old stuff" that was interesting, but lacked context. Now, I was able to place it, based on what I know about Greece, and we've visited many of the sites where items came from. For example the display on Mycanea, which we just visited again with the kids, felt much more engaging knowing where all these items had come from. We had some good discussions about the merits of taking all the 'premier' items from a site and consolidating them in one museum vs. keeping them in situ where they have more context.
I got to spend a lot more time viewing the Antikythira mechanism (ancient navigational computer), too, which was interesting, reading all the displays and seeing how it probably worked. It's astounding really - there's a tendency to think of 2,000 years ago as being very "backwards" but in so many ways they were very advanced civilizations with some amazing capabilities. Slightly unrelated, but recently learnt that a version of the Pythagorean Theorem was discovered in use on a Babylonian Tablet that predates Pythagorus by 12 centuries. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IM_67118
The kids all headed off on Thursday morning, Jasper back to Tokyo and Ella and Inge to Edinburgh. Fortunately for Jasper there were none of the complications of his journey out and he made it back smoothly. It was sad to say goodbye, but it was also nice to be back to just Karina and I too. Our Athens apartment is great, but it's not really intended for five adults although it coped okay (they all slept in a smaller apartment upstairs in the same building, but during the day we were all in our apartment together).
We enjoyed a very relaxed final day in Athens, then on Saturday, boarded the plane and had an uneventful trip back to Mytilini and a very cold boat! The temperature has dropped considerably, and it was down to 3C overnight. It was 7C inside the boat when I woke up this morning! Thankfully we bought a new quilt before we left so we were toasty warm in bed, but getting up was a slow exercise.
The next two weeks are just us hanging out here on Mytilini, doing some boat jobs, chasing some mechanics and getting the engines serviced, then we'll be back off to the UK for a month of house sitting in February around the South West.
Until next time,
Tim & Karina