Today we embarked on a journey south, our first stop at the base of Mount Pelion in Volos. We visited the Archeological Museum there, where we got to see firsthand some of the research that Professor Salowey has done on specific grave stelai. The collection of stelai in Volos is remarkable due to the enduring preservation of pigment on the marble gravestones. We witnessed the original inscriptions of poetry and general life stories of those passed. One woman was remembered with particular regard due to her struggles during childbirth. The inscription on her grave stele raised her to the status of a Homeric hero through emphatic praise. The museum also boasted an extensive Neolithic collection that displayed a massive amount of figurines, pottery, tools, and other materials used in daily life.
We trod in the footsteps of the ancient, they mythological, and the cinematic at our stop in Thermopylae. Thermopylae may call to mind the movie 300 and screams of “This is Sparta!,” but in reality, it is thought to be the site of a somewhat ambiguous battle. The Persians did indeed have a larger army than the Spartans, and we learned that the brave Spartan soldiers taunted the formidable forces with the phrase, “Come and get it,” in reference to the shield that would indicate surrender.
Just adjacent to the memorial commemorating the Spartans, our hearts melted as we encountered a puppy. He was with a band of marauding animals, all of which we wanted to take on the bus with us. Demetri, our driver, probably wouldn’t have approved.
Thermopylae also hosts hot springs, which are famous for their healing powers. We were able to cure our ailments, up to about knee-level, in the steaming waters. We were however interrupted by an eye-full of another tour group. We were glad to have had the opportunity to at least sample the water, but we welcomed the fresh air on the bus as the hot springs caused quite an odor.
We stopped for lunch in a seaside town with a makeshift picnic on the beach. It was incredible to breath in the fresh salty air one last time before our return to bustling Athens. We only have five more days left in beautiful Greece and already our hearts are longing to return.
-Hadley and Cassie