Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Road Trip in Greece

One of my favorite experiences in Greece was renting a car and driving out across the country and into the Peloponnese. This gave us a chance to see the countryside, roadways, some alternative energy installations, and some world-class archaeological sites. Driving on the freeway in Athens we got to see their sports arena.

We found graffiti in every country that we visited and I took many pictures that will show up in a special post on European Graffitti later in this blog.

Athens is a sprawling city with pretty good public transportation although it is not always on time. It has a great port and many mountains scattered throughout the city area.

This is the car that we rented and the view down to the town of Itea and
the Gulf of Corinth.

The speed on the freeway was 100km/hour and we did not see many cars on the freeways when we were outside of the city.  The roads were in good condition for the freeway although some of the smaller roads were a bit rough. 

The countryside was very nice with mountains, ocean, and dry Mediterranean vegetation and climate.

We passed a reservoir as we drove out towards Delphi to the north of Athens.

Delphi is located in the mountains and further along in the distance were snow capped peaks when we were there in March.  The area around Delphi was also known for skiing. It would be a great recreation area at any time of the year.

We passed a few catholic grave yards in the cities and rural areas.

From the Greece mainland to the Peloponnese we crossed a suspension bridge outside of Patras called the Rio-Antirio. It was a very nice bridge that had a beautiful form as well as a good function.

The first town that we visited was the town of Delphi which was relocated from the archaeological site over 100 years ago. The town is on the side of a hill and has two one-way roads going through town.  Throughout the town are shops on the first floor and residences on the upper floors which is where we stayed in a lodge. The entire town covers about a one mile stretch of the road.

We drove on to Petite Planete hotel which was located just outside of the archaeological site of Mycenae. This was a nice place with french cuisine that used to have many visitors and could easily handle 100 people, but today it does not seem to have many visitors since most people take bus tours out of Athens.

The archaeological site of Mycenae dominates the local landscape with views out to the horizon. The countryside is still spotted with olive and orange trees. We also stopped at a roadside stand where we bought some olives and oranges.

We took a side trip to the town of Napflio which is a medieval town with three castles and a strong venetian influence. It was a beautiful town with small roads. We actually had to back the car out of one roadway because it became too narrow to drive down.

On our drive back to Athens, we passed through the modern town of Corinth with the Archaeological site off on the mountain top. This is one site that I would really like to visit in the future. You can just see the fortifications along the mountaintop in the picture below.

As we drove along we observed many of the different forms of energy production used in Greece. Outside of Athens was an oil refinery.

We observed wind turbines along many ridge tops and coastal locations.

Many areas had concentrated photovoltaic solar production areas.  These seemed like small plots that decided to pursue solar power in a dispersed fashion because there were many on the landscape but they were not very large.

We also saw some larger areas that were under greenhouses along the roads. This makes a lot of sense in Greece because the winters are not very extreme and it allows the local growers to grow throughout the winter.

At the end of our road trip, we finally tired the kids out for the drive home.