Corinth

Mod­ern Corinth is hard­ly a daz­zling metrop­o­lis, but its har­bour is beau­ti­ful, her sparkling waters enclosed by moun­tains. And its hos­pi­tal­i­ty is leg­end. In so far as it doesn’t exist, and per­haps nev­er did. Indeed, the hotel we stayed in was not for­mal­ly staffed. If we need­ed any assis­tance, we entered the adjoin­ing cafe, there to prise some­one away from their cig­a­rettes and booze.

Not much remained of ancient Corinth, and many of her fair­er arte­facts had long been whisked off to the Nation­al Archae­o­log­i­cal Muse­um in Athens. Even so, our stroll among the Corinthi­an ruins was mov­ing, with thoughts of “faith, hope and char­i­ty” in mind. But the high­light of the day was a hike up to Acro­corinth, a Gon­dor-esque moun­tain fortress to which the Corinthi­ans hid from invaders, and the home of the noto­ri­ous Tem­ple of Aphrodite, the ancient broth­el so loathed by St. Paul. Almost devoid of tourists, Acro­corinth was a maze of flow­ers and stone, the scent­ed air alive with bum­ble­bees, and invig­o­rat­ing­ly fresh.

We lin­gered as long as pos­si­ble.

Despite the offer of a lift from kind­ly locals, we walked the way down, enjoy­ing the grad­ual descent from Aphrodite’s per­fumed abode, to the equal­ly entic­ing aro­ma of din­ner, ema­nat­ing from the tav­er­nas in the old vil­lage…

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