Epidaurus: Built for Butts, Not for Churches

Trip Start Sep 07, 2008
Trip End Dec 09, 2008

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Flag of Greece  , Peloponnese,
Saturday, November 8, 2008

We left Corinth and drove on to the Theatre of Epidauros (or Epidaurus, or Epidavros, it's all just alternate spellings of the same ancient site built between 330 and 280 BCE). This theatre is legendary for its amazing acoustics. Without the benefit of modern technology, it was engineered so that a person standing behind the altar can drop a coin or rip a piece of paper, and the sound will travel perfectly to the very top seats.

This theatre is also fantastically well preserved, and Indy explained it is because the stones were specially curved for theatre seating, which made the blocks of stones unusable to later church builders who otherwise would have dismantled the theatre and pillaged the stone for their own buildings. "Built for butts, not for churches!"

As the rest of the students climbed to the very top of the theatre, a small group of students who have sung in choirs stayed below to sing Amazing Grace. The students above reported that the sound was perfectly clear without any magnification except the natural steep angle of the theatre that carries the sound to the top.

Indy took the students to the Epidaurus Museum, but I was feeling wiped out just with the exertion of trying to breathe through the end of the bronchitis. So Sunshine and I sat on some stone steps on the grounds of the Epidaurus ruins and enjoyed the morning. Autumn is my favorite season, and I'm so disappointed I've missed it at home. So it was a special treat to sit on the stones feeling the little chilly kick in the air, looking at the beech tree turning yellow, and smelling the fallen leaves. After the concrete and grime of Athens and Cairo, the air here in the countryside is especially sweet and you can actually hear the birds singing in the trees.

Sunshine and I met the students as they marched out of the museum into the bus, and we stopped in Nauplion (or Napflion, same thing) for the night. Nauplion is said to be one of the most beautiful places in Greece, so romantic that Athenian couples come here to get engaged. Unfortunately, I missed it completely. And I missed dinner. I collapsed into bed at 3:30 in the afternoon as soon as we checked into the hotel, and I didn't get up again until the next morning. I had sponsored a wine tasting experience for the students out of my entertainment fund, and I missed it. But the students reported the next morning that it was a great experience and they had a great time even though I couldn't be there. Not much a teetotaler could have done at a wine tasting anyway.
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