After spending two comfortable nights at the seaside resort Hotel Adakule, we began this day with a 3 AM wakeup call. We all made it on the bus with our luggage and were on our way to the Izmir airport by 4 AM, pretty impressive for this group. The flight from Izmir to Istanbul was about two hours and seamed to go quickly as we enjoyed a good breakfast. After an hour layover in Istanbul, we boarded a one hour twenty minute flight to Athens.
Because Sunday was a national holiday (Greeceís Independence day) and all the museumís and national historic sites would be closed, we had to combine the city tour of Athens and the tour of Corinth into a single dayís agenda.
The Acropolis is located on a hill in the center of the city of Athens. We ascended the marble staircase of the Acropolis and walked through the Propylaea to view the Parthenon and the other monuments there. We also looked over the beautiful modern city of Athens.
The architecture and the construction of the Parthenon were particularly interesting to me. The builders designed and engineered a camber in the foundation and the Doric columns so that when you viewed the building, the lines of the columns and the steps to the building would look straight to the human eye. This all had to be calculated mathematically without computers and was built several hundred years before Christ. Some of our group also was able to climb Mars hill and stand where Paul gave his speech about the only living and true God as he view the temple to the unknown god. Our visit was short as we quickly left by bus for Corinth an hour drive away.
On our way to Corinth, we stopped to view the canal that was carved through the rock to connect the Ionian and Aegean seas for maritime traffic. In Paulís day, the ships were placed on a track system and towed over the Isthmus of Corinth. The sailors would spend their leave time in the city. Sin and corruption abounded; one can view the temple to Aphrodite on a high mount just west of the Agora where 1000 prostitutes assisted in the worship of Aphrodite the goddess of love.
This must have been a great challenge for Paul to bring the message of the gospel to Corinth. We visited the museum in Corinth where some of the archaeological discoveries are displayed. Then we walked the ruins of the ancient city and viewed the bema where Paul was judged before Gallio.(Acts 18:12-17)
After leaving Corinth, we went to the ancient port of Cenchrea and skipped stones on the water. Jeff is the champion. This is the port where Paul departed Corinth at the end of his third missionary journey. We then made the hour journey back to Athens for a well-deserved rest at the Divani Hotel. It was a long but interesting day.
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