Mary Irvine’s Greek Classical Tour Part Two

008 Corinth Holiday with AbiA surprise package thudded through my letter box recently. It was a photocopy of the diary Abi faithfully (insofar as she wrote it up, not that it was a faithful account. Am sure we didn’t spend all that time in bars) kept every night of the Classical Tour we had embarked on together.

Something I’d totally forgotten was that I’d taken her to the cinema in Athens to see ‘Shirley Valentine’ but we were refused entry because Abi was too young. We apparently saw Roger Rabbit instead. I have no memory of my own re: this so have absorbed Abi’s memory and made it my own.

I’d also forgotten…oh, I’ll quote Abi’s diary and hope she doesn’t claim royalties.
“…we caught a taxi. Mary and the taxi driver had an interesting conversation in Greek where the taxi driver asked Mary out on Friday night.”
I must have translated for her. Her further comment, methinks, reflects the innocence of youth.
“Even though the taxi driver was years younger than Mary, he didn’t care.”
I shall draw a veil over her several comments in respect of “Mary’s friend, Costas” and go on to the cultural bit.


Did once read somewhere that the origin of this city’s name was a Greek word for fornicate. After extensive research of several ancient Greek dictionaries I can find no supporting evidence! However, in Classical times its citizens did enjoy a luxurious lifestyle so the modern usage of Corinthian being used to describe licentious and profligate luxury may have some credence…

We had an early start but still encountered the rush hour – happens much earlier in Greece. Most of the public amenities were open by 0730. (When I first went to Athens all the buses were free until 0800. A perk for the workers!) The ‘bypass’ hadn’t been built then so we drove from Glyfada along the coast road, through the centre of Athens and then through the affluent part of Athens, and out to the main coast road to Corinth, passing Eleusina on the way. Eleusina was of great importance throughout its history, not least for the Sanctuary of Demeter and for being the birthplace of Aeschylus, tragic poet/dramatist of 6th century AD. (Try The Oresteia!) The Eleusinian Mysteries performed there were originally a festival celebrated at the autumn sowing. They developed into a Dionysian Cult whose rites are still not truly known.

We had a short stop at the Corinthian Canal and were lucky enough to see a ship going through. Abi states we nearly missed the coach as, officially, it was only a pit-stop but I wanted Abi to see the Canal. I’m sure the coach would have waited… Then on to Ancient Corinth. I did, many years later, go to a football match in Modern Corinth!
Ancient Corinth is a mix of Greek and Roman architecture, the latter is characterised by the arch. The ancient Greeks didn’t go in for arches much! The rest of the party went off to see the Roman forum where St Paul supposedly preached c.44 BC. I took Abi off to see the Roman toilets – far more interesting.


Have written about Mycenae in a previous offering so won’t bore you too much with it here.

What I will do is append an image of a card I’ve produced of my good self on the Acropolis of Mycenae and a flash fiction I wrote recently. A friend suggested selling them…

Grave Circle at MycenaeThe Grave Circle at Mycenae

As it had one for over three thousand years the wind swirls round the acropolis of this ancient palace. An acropolis which affords an uninterrupted view of the countryside seared brown by the intense summer sun. My hooded eyes gaze down into the grave circles below but I see only one. The circle that was once thought to hold the remains of the mighty Agamemnon himself. The Golden Mask found there still bears his name. I stand looking down at the circle where the mask had guarded the face of a Ruler, not Agamemnon, but someone unknown. An unknown who had lived, loved, laughed and finally been laid to rest by those who loved him and who, in their turn, had joined him. The sun was sinking fast. I slowly wended my way down.
Drawing near to the circle, surrounded by its protective wall, I paused a moment and paid silent respect to the memory, the culture and the legacy.

Bye till next time…

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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