Greece 13 - Tiryns/Nea Tiryntha/Hercules and his labours

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May 10th 2017
Published: May 10th 2017
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Suzy the motorhome finds herself in some odd places off the beaten track at times. We are known to go off piste and search out the places others ignore. At the moment I am using three guide books to ensure that we miss nothing of importance. Each guide book has a different take on the country and on its heritage. I use the Rough Guide – a book I have used for years. It is slightly out of date now and opening times are different however it tells it like it is. Warts and all. It is easy to use and I do like the way it is set out. We purchased a DK Eye Witness Account which tells us that it shows what others only tell. Unlike the Rough Guide it is rich with pictures and maps. The third book is the Michelin Green Guide which sets out trips that show all the sites worth seeing. All offer something different which satisfies our thirst for knowledge and information.

So Suzy parks herself up in yet another dusty car park at Tiryns. Set amidst a fertile plain is yet another Mycenean palace complex. This is less well known and has less visitors . We still have another entrance fee to pay . Our money is draining away like water through a sieve. It is a pretty big complex and the bus tours do come. As we climbed a group of American tourists were being guided around the site. It’s another uphill one too. So what is there about Tiryns? Well it appears in the epic poems of Homer. No not Homer Simpson Sion!!!!

As always legend attaches itself to the place . Let’s talk Hercules then. A demi god and hero we all know about . The Labours and all that sort of stuff . Zeus was his father. He put himself about rather a lot . His mother was Alkmene Queen of the Tiryns. As a baby he strangled serpents sent to kill him. However he was a bit mad and killed his own children. As a penance the King of Argos – no Sion not the shop - set him twelve labours to perform . They ranged from strangling the Nemean Lion to executing the many headed Hydra. From running down the hind of Ceryneia to capturing the Erumanthian boar. His tasks included cleansing the Augean stables, taming the Cretan bull, destroying the Stymphallian birds to capturing man eating horses. As if that was not enough he had to obtain the girdle of the Queen of the Amazons, carry off the cattle of Orerion and fetch apples from the garden of Herperides . Finally he had to bring back Cerebus from Hades . What a story. What a man to do it. We really are in the land of myths tales and legends and how big is that one.

The site was more ruinous than Myceanae built in the late 13th century BC. It was impressive in size with again blocks the size only Cyclops could lift onto walls. Another large gate but sadly without its overmantle of lionesses. There were walls around and casemates , barrack rooms and inner courts with an area for the Kings throne where he could sit and carry out audiences with visiting dignatories. Further round the site were underground cisterns. Sadly we were disappointed not to be able to walk through them. Our way was barred with temporary gates. A photo opportunity missed. Described as a mighty walled town the description rang true. It certainly was a site worth dropping off to see although a little off the beaten track, up a lane, badly signposted. We did find it though and it was worth the drive.

Our night stop had intended to be near to the beach at Drapano. We had read much about the site on the Agean with silver sand and good restaurants to hand. One site was highly recommended in blogs Camping Triton II. The town was as always crowded with bikes, scooters and cars double parked . You need eyes everywhere in Greek towns , the drivers have little road sense and pull out in front of you without looking. They dive out of side streets and stop suddenly in the middle of the road . They don’t have many roundabouts and have little idea how to use them. It was congested and the road to the campsite narrow. The sea was heavenly blue, the sand inviting but Triton II didn’t look up to much . We moved on further up the coast and picked another campsite Camping Lefka beach. A bit far out of the town but quiet and picture perfect. A welcoming host , a hilly but terraced site with a small shop selling bread and a restaurant . You can park near the sea our owner said so we found a spot in a corner under a mesh which kept the worse of the sun off us. With our chairs outside , a glass of wine we made the most watching the sun go down over the town. No receipts another one of the black economy sites . The same had to be said for the restaurant . We ate Lamb chops in Lemon and souvlaki followed by a rice pudding complimentary on the house and washed down with more wine and ouzo. Entertained by Stavros the Parrot and the sound of the sea lapping on the shore.

Ouzo now that’s another thing I shall probably buy when I get home . Was it the ouzo that sent me to sleep or the sound of the sea.


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