First day on tour: Athens and Corinth
Today we hit the tour circuit. We rearranged the schedule slightly. After we briefly visited the reconstructed Olympic theater, we went on to the Acropolis. We walked up from the south side, climbed the steps of the ceremonial gate, the Propylaea, and emerged behind the Parthenon. The Parthenon is truly without equal and the nearby Erechtheion with the Caryatids permanently carved in a ritual dance was impressive, too.
There was construction all around the Acropolis where archaeologists are piecing together one of the world’s great 3D jigsaw puzzles. They have collected stone fragments from all over the Acropolis, some tiny, some massive. They are gradually identifying where each piece goes and restoring it to its original location.
From the Acropolis we descended to the Areopagus where Paul preached his famous sermon (Acts 17:16-34). The guide walked us through the meanings of “Areopagus,” which designates both the hill and the court that met nearby, and she introduced us to the traditional spot where Paul would have delivered his address.
We descended further to the ancient agora, toured the archaeological museum housed in the reconstructed Stoa of Attalos, and visited the Temple of Hephaistos tucked away in a picturesque spot on the west end of the Agora.
By the time we climbed up to the Acropolis and back down we were ready to take a long break for lunch in a nearby restaurant. We were back on the bus before too long, though, and on our way to Corinth. We stopped at the Corinthian canal, built in modern times but following the approximate course of the Diolkos, where ship loads of goods were hauled across the Corinthian isthmus.
Finally, we visited the ancient site of Corinth where the remaining columns of the Temple of Apollo are the primary structures left standing. However, we also saw the Bema where the Roman proconsul Gallio would likely have sat when he showed complete indifference to the accusations brought against Paul (Acts 18:12-16).