One of the reasons to go to Korinthos was to get on the train that would take us on a ride described by our travel guide as interesting and definitely worth taking. It was just as the book said, the ever-changing beautiful landscapes of the Greek peninsula kept our noses pressed against the window during most of the ride.
Upon our arrival, we took a bus to a campsite somewhat outside the city. It was a straight, long road and we didn’t really know where to get off. It came in handy that some of the people on the bus knew where to drop us off. The campsite was right at the beach and we decided to rest the next day. After a hot day at the beach, in the late afternoon, we went downtown to explore the city. The city seemed nicer than Kalamata. It even had a little fair with merry-go-rounds and cotton candy. We were slightly annoyed by this dog that followed us around everywhere we went. Even when we went into stores, it waited outside for us so we tried to tag it to someone else. It finally left after about two hours. We had some gyros at the waterfront (gyros turned out to be cheaper than buying groceries and cooking).
At night, we took the bus again to get to the campground. This time, there were not many people on the bus and we must have pushed the “Next Stop” button too soon (well, we had no idea when to push anyway) so we got off at the wrong stop, somewhere out in the dark with only fields and the straight, long road (why was there a bus stop at all?). Had we gone too far or was the campsite still to come? We had no idea so we assumed that we got off too soon. We walked along the dark road for at least one hour. It wouldn’t have been a big deal if there had been a sidewalk to save us from being hit by a car (it was so dark that the cars must have seen us only at five meters distance). We walked behind each other along the shrubs on the side of the road, passing a huge yellow-lit pipe factory with people working all night. It was some strange atmosphere and we were so relieved when we finally arrived at the campsite.
The next day, we planned to visit Akrokorinthos, a mountain with an old ruin at the top. A bus was supposed to take us to the bottom of the hill but the bus drivers either didn’t stop for us or we were told that they wouldn’t go there. Somewhat frustrated, we decided to walk all the way. It was indeed a long walk in the heat of the day but it was filled with so many surprises and interesting things to see on the way that, in the end, we were glad the bus drivers refused to take us on. Close to the campsite, we had already discovered a few trees with figs. Surprised by the easy access and availability of the figs, we stopped many times on our way to have some free food. Later on, however, we noticed that there was an even yummier thing to get for free: grapes. In places where they just grew in the garden, it was easy to pick them quickly. But we passed a few plantations where we couldn’t resist so one of us had to look out for people and one went inside to pick as many grapes as we could carry.
When we arrived at the bottom of the hill, we noticed an archeological site which we accessed without paying, using our student IDs. It was quickly ranked as one of the best archeological sites on our list because there were quite a few buildings still left standing. A big market square in the middle still had the atmosphere it must have had when people still lived there - you could imagine all the busy traders. Also, tourists were allowed to explore every part of the site so you could walk through tunnels and descend into building basements.
Later on, we took on Akrokorinthos, the mountain. Our idea was to take some shortcuts. This made the way up shorter but also steeper and therefore not necessarily faster. It made something more evident which we had noticed a lot before: Greek people didn’t seem to care a lot about their environment. On the train, we had seen people discarding all their garbage out the window and on the mountain, we saw all kinds of garbage, from kitchen utensils to abandoned bikes. We could see the reason for this habit: sometimes we had the problem of having to get rid of garbage ourselves and found ourselves wanting to just drop it somewhere because everybody else did it anyway. With some more effort and a considerable amount of thirst, we arrived at the top where we first bought some water. A few meters ahead: the ruin of Akrokorinthos. We went up to the top of the building and had a great 360 degrees panoramic view on the whole area. We could even see our campsite from there. It was very windy on top so we held on to everything there was to hold on to (a meter away, at the edge of the ruin, it was so deep that no one could survive a jump). We sat there for a while, taking pictures that never turned out.
It was, I guess, not enough to walk all the way from the campsite to the bottom of the mountain (about two hours) and climb the mountain (about one hour). We also walked all the way back to the campsite and arrived in the darkness. That night, we slept as well as never before.
Athens was still on our todo list but people had warned us of the ugliness of the city, telling us that it was not worth staying there. This is why we it became only a day trip so the next morning, we took the train to Athens.