“I have kissed the lips of a King.”

The Lion Gate, Mycenae

ABOARD THE MV AEGEAN ODYSSEY– This morning, the view from our balcony was of the warm golden stones of the Bourtzi, a Venetian castle that stands on an islet in the middle of the harbor at Nauplia.

After breakfast we boarded the tenders to meet buses and drove through the countryside – down roads lined with orange and lemon and olive groves – to Mycenae.

“I have kissed the lips of a King.”

Narrow alleyways in Nauplia

That was the claim of archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, when he discovered the burial site at Mycenae, convinced that he had discovered the tomb of Agamemnon.  In the deep shaft graves that he uncovered, he found bodies decorated with gold ornamentation, including the famous “Mask of Agamemnon”, now in the Archaeological Museum in Athens. The many gold objects and jewellery pieces he found are also there, and we will make a point of seeing them when we are in Athens.

In this hilltop acropolis, wedged between two mountains, there is so much to see. We walked through the Lion Gate, which is an amazing feat of engineering, with a relieving triangle balancing the weight of the lintel and the stone walls. The museum here is excellent, and the gift shop is very cool.  I bought a certified museum copy of Eros, a little sleeping winged boy, and the head of an old man, all made from the terracotta figures that were found in Mycenae.

Later we visited the ‘beehive’ tomb, at one time believed to be the tomb of Agamemnon, build in a monumental oval, another remarkable building feat.

We spent the afternoon walking through the narrow streets of Nauplia and walked up to the Venetian castle above the city.

The Bourtzi – a Venetian castle in the harbour at Nauplia

Tonight is our last night on board the Odyssey. There will be no parading of the Baked Alaska, no big song and dance show to mark the conclusion of the voyage, as there is on many large ships – and I for one am not the least bit disappointed. To celebrate, and to say farewell, we organized a table of eight, for the friends we had come to know on this voyage – a painter and her husband from France, by way of Florida, a couple from Australia, Thomas the lecturer, a lady from London and ourselves.  We managed to down a few bottles of wine as well as a bottle of champagne, and dissected the cruise.  We were all very happy with the ship and the excursions, and agreed that we were going home with our heads full of new things and brilliant images. All of us agreed we would do it again in a heartbeat.

Then an early bed, with our bags packed and outside the door, ready to be picked up after midnight.

Photos by Barbara Ramsay Orr

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