The Corinth Canal, a cheese factory, and the quaint town of Kalavrita - that's just Day 1!
09.10.2008 - 09.10.2008 16 °C
Wow, what a whirlwind 4 day weekend that was. Ok, admittedly it was a couple of weekends ago. I'm still trying to catch up, and when you take as many photos as I do it makes it hard picking just the right ones to blog about. But I managed and I think I picked some good ones.
The morning of October 9 the whole Arcadia group boarded our lovely tour buses and headed out of Athens to toward the Peloponnese. Seriously folks, if you saw the upholstery on the bus I rode you would think you were on the Magical Mystery Tour. Quite colorful. No, I didn't take a photo. I'm not in the habit of photographing upholstery. We finally get on the road at about 10. Our first stop was to be Corinth and the Corinth Canal. The canal has a long and interesting history. It is said the the first time anyone thought of digging a canal through the Isthmus of Corinth was in 602 BC. Yes, BC. Some guy called Periandar, Tyrant of Corinth is credited with the first coming up with the idea. But poor Periander was afraid the gods would get mad at him and abandoned the idea. People took the Oracle at Delphi seriously, as it was the Oracle that warned Periander. About 300 years later Demetrios Poliorketes actually started to dig, but was convinced to stop by the Egyptians engineers who feared it would raise the level and flood the islands. In Roman times it was considered by Julius Caesar as well as Nero. Then the Herodes Atticus followed by the Byzantines and the Venetians. Nobody succeeded. Not until after Greece won its independence in 1830. After several attempts it was finally finished in 1893.
Here is how it looks today. The Canal cuts 6346 meters straight through the Isthmus, is 24.6 meters wide at sea level and 21.3 meters at bottom level. Depth range is from 7.5 to 8 meters. The color of the water is, well, very blue!
After a break at the canal, and the purchase of some very expensive snacks, we boarded our MMT buses again and headed for the cheese factory. We were initially suppose to see them make the cheese but they were not in production because the sheep were pregnant or had lamps and not producing milk for the cheese at the time. But we did get to see lots of cheese and even taste this wonderful γραβιερα (graviera) cheese. While this cheese is not bad for eating, it is really delicious when used in pasta or an omlette. The warm, melted cheese is better than any cheddar I have ever tasted!
The cheese factory, with various Arcadia students milling about after the wonderful cheese tasting.
The cheese ages for months before it will be sent to market.
The sheep who give the milk to make this wonderful tasty cheese.
So, what do we do after tasting lots of cheese and smelling lots of sheep? Head to the hills! Nothing like a nice mountain drive on a colorful bus to make your cheese settle in your stomach! Thank goodness I didn't get motion sick though. The views kept me distracted. Although taking photos through a dirty bus window isn't always so great, I think I got some shots to show you the rugged beauty of the Peloponnese. It really is a nice change from the noisy and grime of Athens. The Peloponnese was unfortunately burned by fires last year and a lot of the lands devastated. You could see some of it along our drive. The drive was still breathtaking though.
I want to live here, but only if I had enough money that I didn't have to work!
You see the road cut into that mountain? We were driving on that...on a bus...thrills a minute!
So after a long drive we finally arrived in Kalavrita. Kalavrita is a small ski town located in the central Peloponnese. Very quaint, sort of alpine, clean air. What a fresh change from Athens! Several of us walked around the town, found some playgrounds, swung, did some see-sawing, shopped and did dinner.
The town square with the church and clock towers. The clock to the left is stopped at the time the massacre took place in 1943. I'll go into more detail about that when I post my Kalavrita monument photos.
After dinner several of the girls and I stopped at a neat little cafe for hot drinks. This is Mari, Melissa, and Kate on the cow couch.
Me and Maura on the sexy red couch!
Finally, my σοκαλατα ζεστοσ! (hot chocolate)...mmmmmmm...what a great way to end the first evening in the mountains!