God of Atlantis

TOUR INFORMATION

Attica Region, Greece (Athenian Riviera)

May – November

5/5 Cultural Shock

Historic Landmarks

  • Acropolis of Athens (UNESCO)
  • Acropolis Museum
  • The Prison of Socrates, The Pnyx
  • Ancient Agora of Athens
  • Temple Of Poseidon, Cape Sounio
  • Ancient Mining Laundries, Lavrio
  • Ancient Theater of Thoriko
  • Temple Of Artemis, Brauron

National Park of Sounion

Tour FAQs

Tour Packages*

Packing List

Enduro Training

Tour Starts/Ends in Glyfada, Athens

160 km Total Mileage (100 miles)

3 Days / 2 Riding Days

Intermediate Riding Skills

Gravel 0-10%

Min 2 Riders/Group | Max 8 Riders/Group

4×4 Support Vehicle Upon Request

Hotels only

Breakfast / Lunch en-route / Dinner

Spoken Greek / English / Italian

Athens Airport (ATH) Transfer*

Rent a Ride

Photos from our Tours

From 240€/day* (6 Riders / F850GS Rental)

Brochure (coming soon)

On the southern edge of the Greek capital lies the alluring Apollo Coast, still defined as greater Athens. Its palm tree-lined esplanades and idyllic beaches dominate a unique slice of Mediterranean coastline with laid-back elegance, a history of jet-set glamour and the feeling of spending quality time on a Greek island.

This is the Athenian Riviera, starting from the port of Piraeus all the way to Cape Sounion along the coastal Poseidonos Ave, named after the god of the sea Poseidon.

One can enjoy a fully-fledged holiday in Greece, enjoy the Mediterranean sun and sea, visit some of the most important archeological sites, enjoy the iconic coastline ride, spend quality time in the most glamorous location of Greece and all without ever leaving the capital.

TOUR ITINERARY


This is a compact tour, with 2 riding days, full of beautiful images and rich in ancient Hellenic history and culture. The first and last days mentioned in the itinerary are the arrival and departure days; there is no riding on these days. The daily riding kilometers are approximate distances and may vary. Arrival time should be arranged before 3 pm on the arrival day and bear in mind the time difference between your country of origin and your travel destination. Please book your flights accordingly. Route and overnight places may change due to unforeseen events.

DAY 1: Arrival in Athens / Glyfada

We meet at the Athens (ATH) airport and head straight for motorcycle pickup. Early in the afternoon (depending on your flight) we arrive at Glyfada, Mythical Routes HQ. In ancient times, the area was a deme known as Aixone (Αἰξωνή) and was established as the heart of Athens’ southern suburbs, because of its prime waterfront location, rich commercial center, and modern business district. It has been described as the head-point of the ‘Athens Riviera’ and features some of Europe’s most opulent seafront residences, gardens, and extensive beachfront property, with a modern marina.

DAY 2: Ride to the center of Athens

We ride downtown to visit the most important archeological location in Greece and famous Unesco heritage, the Acropolis of Athens. We walk around the Pnyx and visit the Prison of Socrates. Our visit to the colorful center can’t be complete without visiting the Ancient Agora of Athens and a walk in the narrow alleys of Monastiraki where we can enjoy some typical Hellenic snacks.

The last visit of the day is a long visit to the Acropolis Museum and after a ride by the temple of Zeus in Athens we head back to Glyfada HQ for some typical Greek nightlife.

DAY 3: Ride to Cape Sounio and Brauron

We ride on the famous Apollo Coast, a palm tree-lined esplanades and idyllic beaches dominate a unique slice of Mediterranean coastline with laid-back elegance, a history of jet-set glamour and the feeling of spending quality time on a Greek island. We visit the iconic Temple Of Poseidon at Cape Sounio, the ancient Mining Laundries at Lavrio, the ancient Theater of Thoriko and our last stop is the Temple Of Artemis in Brauron.

This two riding-day tour is designed as a tarmac introduction into our adventures, but upon request can be upgraded into a 20% gravel tour, so that and you can ride through the Sounio National Park and practice your off-road skills in the Greek hard terrain. It is the perfect oportunity for some Enduro Training as well.

DAY 4: Departure from Athens Airport (ATH)

You can spend quality time in the most glamorous location of Greece and all without ever leaving the capital. Glyfada is packed with some of the capital’s best-known nightclubs, upscale restaurants, and shops. It could be argued to be one of the most “Americanized” of Athenian municipalities since an American airbase was located nearby until the early 1990s. The base’s population contributed in part to Glyfada’s character, leading to a unique blend of Greek and American atmosphere and cuisine. Although the base is now gone and the school relocated, Glyfada still retains part of its American flavor while continuing to offer distinctly Greek cuisine, entertainment, and nightlife. If you have opted for an all-inclusive package we will escort you back to the Athens (ATH) airport for you flight home.

Included Services

We can provide almost any motorcycle from the GS range, like the versatile F850GS, the mighty R1200GS or the R1200GSA beast. We are partners with the biggest BMW Motorrad dealers in Greece, so all rented motorcycles are carefully prepared and serviced with the highest standards and certifications available.

All of our Adventure Tours and Expeditions come with a leading Tour Guide rider and the possibility of a 4×4 Support Vehicle if required.

BMW R1200GS

BMW F850GS

Included Services (Full Package)


All our Full Package (all-inclusive) Tours include the following services:

  • Athens (ATH) Airport pickup
  • BMW R1200GS / R1200GSA / F850GS motorcycle rental (Requires €1000 refundable damage deposit)
  • Full Damage Coverage with €1000 exception (Not valid for off-road tracks)
  • Third party liability cover by Allianz insurance (Not valid for off-road tracks)
  • 24/7 Road Assistance (Not valid for off-road tracks)
  • Unlimited mileage
  • BMW Alarm (installed)
  • Lead motorcycle Tour-Guide for all riding days
  • Accommodation in double/twin rooms in the most highlighted locations of each region
  • All Meals (Breakfast / Lunch en-route / Group dinner)
  • Architectural Guided tour in 1-2 archeological sites per day
  • Archeological Site Entrance-Fee
  • All Fuel cost
  • All Road-Toll cost
  • Provided Klim 3lt water hydration system
  • Provided Enduristan 7lt Tank-bag
  • Provided Enduristan 51lt Pack-sack
  • Provided Adventure Medical Kit
  • 15% Discount on any Klim pre-ordered item
  • 10% Discount on any Enduristan pre-ordered item

Not Included Services


There are many additional options that we can provide on demand in any tour package. The following options are not included in any tour package:

  • Flight costs
  • Travel/medical insurance (mandatory)
  • Single bed occupancy: add €20/day
  • DOT-approved Off-road tires: add €40/day
  • Basic Off-road training (1 day): add €200
  • Advanced Off-road training (2 days): add €450
  • Rental of Klim waterproof Gore-Tex Jacket & Pant with D3O protection: add €30/day (Requires €650 refundable damage deposit)
  • Rental of Klim ECE Helmet: add €20/day (Requires €250 refundable damage deposit)
  • Rental of Enduristan 2×30lt saddlebags**: add €30/day (Requires €160 refundable damage deposit)
  • Rental of BMW Vario side panniers***: add €20/day (No damage deposit required)
  • Enduro/MX riding Boots. For any arrangements please contact us.
  • Land Cruiser 4×4 Support Vehicle (for luggage and non-riders): add €400/day

To read more about rental equipment refundable damage deposit, support vehicle pricing and how to get 10-15% off Klim and Enduristan Gear Discount, read Rent A Ride.


Acropolis of Athens

As the rhetorician and satirist Lucian wrote  “… ascending to the Acropolis I flew over the cliff …” towards the land of Hades, the Necromanteion of Acheron, with the help of the psychopomp Hermes. On our right, we saw the Agora of Athens and on our left the Pnyx, where the assembly of the citizens took place (Ecclesia). After a while we were passing over the temple of Artemis Aristovouli, that was discovered accidentally in June 1958 during the construction of a small private house at the junction of Nileos Street and Irakleidon Street at Thission. In front of the small Greek temple, an engraved column was discovered dedicating the temple to goddess Artemis Aristovouli, the foundation of which was personally insured by Themistocles. Exiting the walls of Athens, we pass over the Gate of Piraeus, leaving to our right the Double Gate and the Graveyard of the Kerameikos.

Further down we came across the Sacred Lake (Lake Koumoundourou), to the right of the Reidi (salty sacred lakes used for cleansing), where during the celebration of the Mysteries of Eleusis the honor guard of Athens awaited wearing black tunics. Leaving behind Mount Aigaleo, where Xerxes watched, to our left, the Battle of Salamis. And behold, Hermes showed me the vast ritual center of Eleusis bellow us.
It was during the month of Hekatombaion (July- August) of 415 B.C. and as we found out Alcibiades along with Nicias and Lamachus already were on board the Athenian ships alongside the troops on their way to Sicily. When the men boarded the ship, the usual prayers and toasts were performed with gold and silver cups, with the participation of the citizens. After the hymns were chanted, the ships reached the open sea. They descended along the eastern Peloponnese and bypassing the Cape of Maleas, just outside of Cythera, after having circled around Laconia and Messenia, ascended to the western Peloponnese, passing between Zakynthos and Cephalonia and Lefkada, heading to the north of Corfu, to reach across, Southern Italy.


Cape Sounio

Before we reach Brauron, I would like to narrate about some places that I see from the top of Mountain Hymettus, since I will be sitting here with my friend the Owl to gaze Attica, which we can see at a distance of 50 km from here because of the great clarity of the sky.

On my right side, I can see the Bay of Palaio Faliro where the port of Attica used to be, the only port of Athens in the Saronic Gulf. From this port, Theseus, the son of Aethra and Aegeus, was sent by the Athenians to Crete along with seven young men and seven young women as a human sacrifice to Minotaur. According to the myth, after Theseus killed Minotaur, he forgot to put the white sails to his ship while returning home and his father, waiting at Cape Sounio, saw the black sails instead and thinking that his son was killed, jumped into the sea and drowned.

Sounio, the place where king Aegeus died, is located in a straight line 38 km from the top of Mountain Hymettus, southeast of Attica. It is the exact place where an arrow from God Apollo killed the captain of Menelaus ship (the husband of Helen of Troy), on their way back to Sparta from the Trojan War. On the leveled top of Cape Sounio is located the Temple of Poseidon, constructed by Pericles in 444 BC, in the exact place of an older Peripteron temple destroyed by Persian king Xerxes in 490 BC.

The Temple of Poseidon is a Doric Peripteral style temple with (6) columns at the facades and (13) columns on the longer sides, so (6×13) that has a “code” based on the columns K(6)(1)(3)(4)(10), where (6) refers to HARMONY. It is said that the temple is aligned with the exact location of Atlantis where there was placed a bigger altar. Plato was often talking about this lost island and since then everybody was trying to find it. I know a lyric about Atlas, the son of Poseidon and Kleito.

“And the high columns on which the Earth
he is holding,
At the starry dome they end and the spheres they brace
And the spheres they brace”

On the smaller hill northeast of Temple of Poseidon, lay the ruins of the Temple of Athena Souniada that was worshiped since the very early years as protector of the City of Athens. In this exact place, Menelaus conducted a ceremony for the Captain of his ship, Fronti.

Further north from Cape Sounio is located the rocky mountain Merenta (614 m), mountain Olympus (487 m) and mountain Panio (648 m) and among them Lavrio with its rich soil that brought great prosperity to the city of Athens, through the extraction of silver and lead, and allowed Themistocles and the Athenians to create a powerful fleet.

Going back to the Bay of Palaio Faliro, we can see the place where Menestheus started with his fleet the voyage towards the Trojan War, and at this place, the Long Walls of Athens used to end. Further down from Faliro we can see the area of Ammos where Thucydides, the great historian from the 5th century BC. was coming from. Every year the women of that township were celebrating Thesmophoria, a mystical fest about Euphoria and Vegetation.

Continuing my visual journey from the western seaside of Attica to the south, I can see the area of Agios Kosmas, across the old airport of Athens, where were discovered the ruins of the Cycladic citadel from the Copper Age (around 2.300BC.). During the historical years, it is said that the wind brought here, from Salamina, the wrecks from Xerxe’s fleet. Further down the road, where it branches towards the region of Vari, excavations brought in the light the remains of the Ancient municipality of Aixoni.

On the way to Vouliagmeni, we cross Cape Zoster (or Laimos Vouliagmenis). There we find the Temple of Apollo Zoster, Artemis and Leto. According to the myth, in that area, Leto felt that the time of her childbirth was approaching and unbound her belt, despite the fact that that goddess Hera was hunting her and had forbidden any kind of help towards Leto. Hera convinced the dragon Python (the earth-dragon of Delphi) that the child to be born would deprive the Oracle of Delphi from him and for this reason he had to kill Leto. On our way to Varkiza, we pass through Vouliagmeni Lake with its sulfurous water that is suitable for skin diseases and rheumatic conditions. Further down, in Varkiza Bay, we can see the three little islands of Apollo, Artemis, and Leto on which exist corresponding Altars.

On the north side of Vari, just after the town’s cemetery, there is the Cave of Archedemos (Nympholyptos Cave). Nympholepsy was the belief of the ancient Greeks that individuals could be possessed by the Nymphs. Individuals who considered themselves nympholepts would display a great religious devotion to the nymphs. It is a unique landmark with carved statues from sculptor Archedemos of Thira, wherein the 5th century BC, he transformed the cave to a place of worship of the Nymphs, Apollo and Pan.

Further down the road south, we come across the region of Anavyssos where Kroisos Kouros, an interesting marble Kouros (Ancient Greek: κοῦρος) statue was found. He functioned as a grave marker for a fallen young warrior named Kroîsos (Κροῖσος). The free-standing sculpture strides forward with the “archaic smile” playing slightly on his face. The sculpture is dated to c. 540–515 BC and stands 1.95 meters high. The inscription on the base of the statue reads: “Stop and show pity beside the marker of Kroisos, dead, whom, when he was in the front ranks, raging Ares destroyed”. The statue is now situated in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.

From Anavyssos we proceed to the National Park of Sounion, established in 1979. This is a very interesting historical area of 35.000 acres with Geological and Paleontological foundings. From there we reach Sounio and after that Lavrio as we have mentioned above.

North of Lavrio exists the ancient municipality of Thoricus, one of the 12 municipalities of Attica, that was the Industrial Centre of Lavrio mineral mines of and on this area there have been discovered two vaulted tombs of the Mycenaean Age. Continuing our way north, we cross the area of Keratea where, on the southwest side of Mount Panio is located the Cave of Pan, with stalactites and stalagmites and a beautiful lake about 950 square meters for a visitor to sightsee.


Brauron

The port of Prasia (Porto Rafti) is next to Keratea and it was of great importance for the city of Athens because it connected them with Cyclades islands. From this port begun all the celebration ceremonies of Apollo at Delos.

At that point, we are next to the Archeological area of Brauron.


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ROUTE INFORMATION – T.B.D. : Spring 2019

Central Greece

Historic Landmarks

  • Dion
  • Delphi
  • Brauron
  • Delos

4/5 Culture Shock

Total Length 1050 km

7 Riding Days

Intermediate Skills Level

45% Offroad

Hotels and (1) Camping

National Forest of TBD

Middle May – Middle October

FAQ

Packing List

Lodging

Rent A Ride

Service

Brochure (coming soon)

Dion

Religious Center of Macedonia

Religious Center of Macedonia

Wandering over Pineios, the brother river of Acheloous, we beheld Larissa, a prehistoric town, the founder of which, according to some myth, was Larissus, the son of Pelasgus. Its first king was Aleuas, the ancestor of the Aleuadae. In the Persian Wars they followed Xerxes, but in the Peloponnesian Wars they sided with the Athenians.
Alexander had with him 1.500 Thessalian horsemen, whose reputation as battle worthy was well established and rivaled the Macedonian cavalry; their leader was Calas, son of Harpalus.
Pelasgus from Peloponnese conquered Thessaly, which was at the time called Haemonia, together with his brothers Achaeus and Phthius, driving away its savage inhabitants. Thus Achaia, Phthiotis and Pelasgiotis were formed. This entire region of Thessaly, was in prehistoric times a lake, around which the Centaurs lived.

After a short while, I would be flying over the land of the Achaeans, which was formerly called Phthia and was the land of Achilles. His father Peleus was king in the city of Phthia of Thessaly and was descended from the lineage of Zeus, while his mother was the goddess Thetis, daughter of Oceanus. Thetis, out of respect for Hera who had raised her, had denied the advances of Zeus. So the god was pressuring her to marry Peleus. Thetis, in her attempt to escape, consecutively transformed into fire, water, wind, a tree, a bird, a tiger, a lion, a snake and finally into a squid, but Peleus following the advise of the Centaur Chiron, managed to make her his wife.
Achilles, this young lad of the Achaeans, fell dead, struck by the arrow of Paris of Troy, with the help of the god Apollo who guided the arrow to his vulnerable spot, his heel. Alexander had offered sacrifices at the tomb of the hero and took with him the shield of Achilles, who was his ancestor from his mother’s side Olympiad, before he embarked on his great campaign.

We passed swiftly over mount Orthys and after a while we could see the town of Lamia, named after Lamos, the son of Heracles and Omphale. It was the land of the malians, in the Malian gulf, where Ceyx the son of Eosphorus a friend and relative of Heracles was king, who also helped the hero drive away the Dryopes, who resided in mount Oeta and mount Parnassus, pillaging the neighbouring areas.

On the left we could see the land of the Locres, where the battle of Thermopylae took place in 490 B.C., in a narrow passage between the mountain and the sea near Anthele, where the representatives of the 12 tribes of the Delphic Amphictyony convened in the spring (here).
The Dryopes, whose name derives from the word “Drys” (Δρύς=Oak in Greek), were, as it seems, the first inhabitants of the Greek Peninsula. Dryops, their hero, was the son of the river god Spercheus, brother of Achelous and Peneus, who directed his waters into the Malian gulf. Spercheus was also the father of the Nymphs of mount Orthys. The father of Achilles, dedicated his son’s hair to this river, so that his son would return safe from Troy. The mother of Dryops, was the daughter of Danaus, Polydora. The land of the Dryopes was taken over by the Dorians and the Heracleidae, and thus it was renamed to Doris, after their hero Dorus, the son of Hellen, brother of Aeolus and grandson of Deucalion and Pyrrha.
Shortly we would be arriving in Parnassus. We would stop at Delphi, as guests of Dionysus, and then head to Delos, following the instructions of the Olympian Zeus.

Mythological Park

From Mythology to History

From Mythology to History

Roaming around at Delphi we observed this strange world of the Greeks, where one tribe dedicated votive offerings (oblation) for its victory against the other, without any problem; an offering of the Arcadians for the victory and plunder of Lacedaemon with Epaminondas in 369 B.C.; an oblation of the Lacedaemonians for their victory at Aegospotamoi in 404 B.C. and the destruction of the Athenian fleet; a bronze horse of the inhabitants of Argos for their successful invasion of Lacedaemon in 414 B.C.; opposite the Athenian Treasury for the battle of Marathon in 490 B.C., the treasury of Syracuse for their victory over the Athenians in 413 B.C.
One can go mad roaming the votive offerings of Delphi, because through them, each tribe saw its victory, but also its failure. Joy and sorrow at the same time. So I wandered if there is another people in modern day, or if there will ever be one in the future, which will accept its failures next to its successes, raising statues in both cases. The point is that this way one becomes wise through experience, so no tribe destroyed the oblations of the other tribes.

Delphi

Administrative and Religious Center of Greece

Administrative and Religious Center of Greece

We would now continue our journey to Delos. We passed again from mount Helicon and entered Boeotia. The primeval and antediluvian land, where the Ectenes of Ogygia (Boeotia). Ogyges was a native king, the son of Poseidon and Alistra; the deluge which covered Boeotia happened during his reign. On the left, in a distance of a few kilometers from our route, I was amazed to see towns like Mideia (Livadeia), with the terrible oracle of Trophonios which was consulted even by Croesus, with the fountains of Oblivion and Remembrance, just like the Necromanteion. The oracle also cured psychological illnesses by using sudden psychological breakdowns. The Minyan Orchomenus with its eponymous hero, who had three daughters, Leucippe, Arsippe and Alcithoe, who were punished by Dionysus because they neglected to partake in his celebration. Leuctra (Battle of Leuctra) where the Thebeans defeated the undefeated Spartan army. Further to the back Chaeronea, where Philip II with his son Alexander defeated the allied Greek forces in 338 B.C.; the men of the Sacred Band of Thebes fell in this battle. Thebes of Cadmus, a town built since the bronze age, the scene of countless myths and tragedies of Aeschylus (“seven Against Thebes”), of Sophocles (“Oedipus the King”) and Euripides (“The Phoenician Women”), which out of hatred for the Athenians allied with the Persians and was defeated in the Battle of Plataea in 479 B.C.. Later it was destroyed by Alexander in 336 B.C., slaughtering 6.000 of its inhabitants.
Many memories are on this part of the route, some to be happy and some to be sad about. But there, on our right lies the city of Megara with the many colonies, Megara Hyblaea in 730 B.C. and Selinunte in Sicily in 628 B.C. Astacos in 722 B.C. Selymbria in 716 B.C. Chalcedon in 684 B.C. Byzantium in 660 B.C. and Heraclea of Bosphorus in 550 B.C.. The Megarians were forced to migrate because their territory was diminishing by the Athenians, who took Salamis and Eleusis from them, and the Corinthians who grabbed the area of Geraneia, cutting down their state by one third. A land in the narrows between Attica and Peloponnese, which became the theater of conflict between Sparta and Athens, between the Dorian and Ionian tribes, during the Peloponnesian Wars (431-404 B.C.)
But there, we entered Attica, near the town of Eleutherae, where from the worship of Dionysus comes to Athens. From the smell of the sacrifices we understood that we were nearing Eleusis.

Acropolis of Athens

Route in Spacetime

Route in Spacetime

Seeing the Parthenon I remembered that Alexander had sent 300 armors there after Granicus with the inscription “Alexander of Philip and the Greeks, minus the Lacedaemonians, from Asia inhabited by barbarians”. The issue however still troubles me, who was his father Philip or Zeus? Leaving the Acropolis we pass by the Theater of Dionysus, The Auditorium of Pericles, the Olympion (Temple of Olympian Zeus, Athens) where the tomb of Deucalion was located, exiting from the gate of Aegeas, over the river Ilissos rich in water which had its springs in mount Hymettus. On its banks the shrine of the Muses was erected, the fountain Callirhoe, the shrine of Demeter where the minor Mysteries of Eleusis were held. There, the platanus of Socrates. At this place they worshiped Pan, Achelous, Heracles and the wind Boreas, who from this place abducted Orithyia, one of the daughters of Erechteus and took her to Thrace, where he resides.
Athens, what a city, which 9.000 years ago fought off the invading Atlanteans, as Plato would say, who was now in Hades since 347 B.C. A strange city with thousands of philosophers and many schools. All of them are there in the Agora; the Sophists, Cynics, Megarian philosophers, Pythagoreans and the Physiologists. It is very difficult to mention them all, with their many differences, seeking the Truth.
What are we” and “where do we go” was their unsolved problem, which only they thought of, while the “barbarians” led a life without much thought. Thus Zeus was laughing at their problems. He kept murmuring, “look at what man is capable of thinking” and kept saying again and again “this is not good, because I foresee that in some distant future, they might abolish me, like I did to my father Cronus, and he to his father Uranus“. Because he remembered the conspiracy of his wife Hera. I often heard him say “these Greeks are restless, even after the deluge they remain the same“.
What problems do the gods face, I was thinking. But there, we were riding over mount Hymettus, on the right of its peak of 1.025 meters, where there was the statue of Zeus Hymettus and the altar of Rain Zeus, together with his son Foreseeing Apollo, he who predicted the rain so much needed by the Basin of Attica. On the left, in a distance of 6 kilometers we could see the temple of Braubronia Artemis.

Brauron

Athena’s Children Boarding School for Girls

Athena’s Children Boarding School for Girls

In the morning we start our journey for Delos. As soon as we are in open sea, on our right we see the island of Keos (Kea), named after the mythological hero Keos, where the Carians, Pelasgians and Leleges had first settled. The Carians are an antediluvian people of Attica of pelasgian descent, Car was the son of Phoroneus who decided in favor of Hera in her dispute with Poseidon over the Peloponnese. The Pelasgians are an antediluvian people of Arcadia; their primogenitor was Pelasgus, the father of Lycaon who succeeded his father while his mother was the Oceanide Meliboea. The Leleges were an antediluvian people of Laconia, with Lelex being their first king succeeded by his son Myles.

Kea in historic times was inhabited by Ionians who are a prehistoric people of Attica and Northern Peloponnese. Ion was the son of Xuthus and the daughter of Erechteus Creusa and descended from the line of Deucalion. The brother of Xuthus was Dorus. So they are populations emerging after the deluge.

After a while we was passing by a barren island (Gyaros), which as Hermes used to tell us, someday after many years, would be turned into a prison for political prisoners. We soon remembered that this did not exist in Athens, because they exiled politicians by “ostracism”, or forces them to die like Socrates. After Gyaros, on the left, we noticed the island of Andros or Andreus, son of Eurymachus, one of the suitors of Penelope who was killed by Odysseus, when he returned to the island disguised as a beggar. Others say that Andreus was the son of Anius, who himself was also a son of Apollo and ruled over Delos during the time of the Trojan War. The mother of Anius was Rhoeo (Pomegranate), who descended from Dionysus, through her father Staphylus. The Carians, whom we mentioned earlier were the first inhabitants of the island, followed by the Phoenicians, Egyptians, Creatans, Pelasgians and the Ionians. In 480 B.C. it sided with the Persians, while in the Peloponnesian War it allied with Sparta.

Before we reached Delos, we found ourselves between two islands, Syros on the right, which was initially inhabited by the Phoenicians and later the Ionians and was part of the first Athenian League. While on the left was Ophiusa (Tinos), with the many snakes and the famous temple of Poseidon and his wife Amphitrete, who is the queen of the sea, a daughter of Doris, one of the daughters of Oceanus and Nereus, who had the ability of transformation. The Nereids (sea waves) come from him (Nereus). Ophiusa was also an ally of Athens.
As we were reaching Delos, we noticed on the left behind the island of Apollo, the island Mykonos, named after the son of Anius. Its last inhabitants were the Ionians, led there by Hippocles, the son of Neleus and father of Phorbius.

Delos

East Gate of the Gods (Life)

Land of the Dead

ROUTE INFORMATION – T.B.D. : Spring 2019

Central Greece

Historic Landmarks

  • Eleusis
  • Sanctuary of Cabeiri
  • Delphi
  • Necromanteion

5/5 Culture Shock

Total Length 1050 km

7 Riding Days

Intermediate Skills Level

45% Offroad

Hotels and (1) Camping

National Forest of Parnassus, Oiti

Middle May – Middle October

FAQ

Packing List

Lodging

Rent A Ride

Service

Brochure (coming soon)

Acropolis of Athens

Route in Spacetime

Route in Spacetime

As the rhetorician and satirist Lucian wrote  “… ascending to the Acropolis I flew over the cliff …” towards the land of Hades, the Necromanteion of Acheron, with the help of the psychopomp Hermes. On our right we saw the Agora of Athens and on our left the Pnyx, where the assembly of the citizens took place (Ecclesia). After a while we were passing over the temple of Artemis Aristovouli, that was discovered accidentally in June 1958 during the construction of a small private house at the junction of Nileos Street and Irakleidon Street at Thission. In front of the small Greek temple, an engraved column was discovered dedicating the temple to goddess Artemis Aristovouli, the foundation of which was personally insured by Themistocles. Exiting the walls of Athens, we pass over the Gate of Piraeus, leaving to our right the Double Gate and the Graveyard of the Kerameikos.

Further down we came across the Sacred Lake (Lake Koumoundourou), to the right of the Reidi (salty sacred lakes used for cleansing), where during the celebration of the Mysteries of Eleusis the honor guard of Athens awaited wearing black tunics. Leaving behind Mount Aigaleo, where Xerxes watched, to our left, the Battle of Salamis. And behold, Hermes showed me the vast ritual center of Eleusis bellow us.
It was during the month of Hekatombaion (July- August) of 415 B.C. and as we found out Alcibiades along with Nicias and Lamachus already were on board the Athenian ships alongside the troops on their way to Sicily. When the men boarded the ship, the usual prayers and toasts were performed with gold and silver cups, with the participation of the citizens. After the hymns were chanted, the ships reached the open sea. They descended along the eastern Peloponnese and bypassing the Cape of Maleas, just outside of Cythera, after having circled around Laconia and Messenia, ascended to the western Peloponnese, passing between Zakynthos and Cephalonia and Lefkada, heading to the north of Corfu, to reach across, Southern Italy.

Eleusis

Ritual Center of Greece

Ritual Center of Greece

A lot of people started gathering from the surrounding area for the great celebration of the Eleusinian Mysteries in the month Boedromion (September-October), when the sign of Virgo appeared which symbolized Persephone. The celebration would end when the sign of Libra appeared, which symbolized the decision of Zeus for Persephone to return to the palace of Hades; thus nature deadened.

Constellation of Hydra, Corvus and Crater

Constellation of Hydra, Corvus and Crater

The mystics arrived in a ritual procession and no uninitiated were allowed to cross the courtyard. In Athens Alcibiades and nine more were denounced , for the amputation of the Hermai and for the parody of the Eleusinian mysteries and were called to be tried. Thus Alcibiades , abandoning Nicias and Lamachus in Italy, fled to Sparta of King Agis II. The Athenian court, as I was informed later, sentenced Alcibiades and his accomplices in absentia to death.

After this short tour in the Shrine of Eleusis, I was forced to resume the journey to the Necromanteion under the obtrusive pressure of Hermes. The Messenger of Zeus also had other orders from the father of the gods and men and was in a hurry to take my soul to Hades to be tried.

So, following the course, we passed over Erenia where the grave of Autonoe, the daughter of Cadmus, was located, who had come here from Thebes as soon as she found out about the death of her son Actaeon by the hand of Artemis, because he beheld her naked bathing in a spring. Further along the way we came across Aigosthena, where there is the shrine of the seer Melampus,the son of Amythaon  and Eidomene. Melampus was called this way because when he was born, his mother forgot out of oversight to put his feet in the shade.

Further along the way we flew over the mountain of Cithaeron, which took its name from the king of Plataeae and we saw it on our right. They used to say that Cithaeron advised Zeus , when Hera did not give into his embrace, to construct a female statue and wrap it in an overcoat. Then Cithaeron dispersed that Zeus had kidnapped Plataea, the daughter of Asopus, to make her his wife. The jealous Hera rushed and grabbed the overcoat and saw the statue. Then she laughed and reconciled with the god. So every year in Plataeae they celebrated the marriage of Hera to Zeus.

After a short  while, we found ourselves in mount Helicon, the mountain of medicinal herbs, which was the home of the Muses (Valley of the Muses). Here there was a shrine of Zeus and the spring Hippocrene, which was struck open in the rock of the mountain by the hoof of the winged steed Pegasus. Between Cithaeron and Helicon, to the right in a distance of 17 kilometers from our course and to the northwest of Thebes, in a distance of roughly 6 kilometers, there was the town of Cabeiri. They say that from the army of Xerxes, those who remained with Mardonius and enter the sanctuary of the Cabeiri, out of disrespect and to loot, were driven mad and were killed in the sea and precipices. The wrath of the Cabeiri was unmerciful for the uninitiated and the irreverent.

Sanctuary of Cabeiri

Religious Center of Thrace

Religious Center of Thrace

We have already arrived on the mountain Parnassus, which took its name from the hero of the area, the son of the nymph Kleodora and Kleopompus, through the intervention of the god Poseidon. Parnassus had founded there the Oracle of Pythos, which was later taken over by Apollo.

We found ourselves here during the period when the god Apollo was preparing for his journey to the Hyperboreans, mythical people who lived “beyond the North Wind“. During his absence, his place would be occupied by Dionysus, the celebrations of whom start with the harvest of the vine in the month Metageitnion (August-September); namely during the period, when the constellation of Crater appeared in the sky, which was used for the mixing of wine with water (Constellation of Hydra, Corvus and Crater).

Delphi

Administrative and Religious Center of Greece

Administrative and Religious Center of Greece

Leaving Delphi behind us, we entered the lands of the Locres Ozales and passed over Amfissa, which took its name from the daughter of Macareas, son of Aeolus, who incestuously joined his sister Canace. Then Aeolus threw their child to the dogs and ordered his daughter to commit suicide. But also Macareas killed himself when his passion became known. The first inhabitants of Amfissa were the Cyclopes. During the Peloponnesian War it joined the coalition of Sparta. Its inhabitants perform some mysteries which are said to be about the Cabeiri.
Bellow us was the river Daphnos (Mornus), which took its name from Daphne, a demigod of Sicily, who was son of Hermes and had died at the prime of his youth; that is why the god was quite moved. The cause of his demise was his love for the Nymph Nomea, who never forgave his relationship with the daughter of the king, who deceitfully seduced him, after intoxicating him. Nomea enraged blinded him and the now blind Daphne sang mournful songs, until he fell from a rock and was killed. His father then took him with him to the Heavens.
On our left, bellow Amfissa, lies Mounea, the inhabitants of which offer sacrifices to the meek gods after sunset and eat meat before the sunrise. Moreover on our left, towards the sea, lies Nafpactos which takes its name from some Nymph. There is a shrine of Aphrodite there, where the widows ask the goddess for a second husband. Near the sea the shrine of Poseidon was located and a little further that of Asclepius.
There is the river Evinos which was previously called Lykormas and took the name of the son of Ares, who fell in war trying to capture Idas, who had kidnapped his daughter. That is where Heracles killed the ferryman centaur Nessus who attempted to rape his wife Deianira. Heracles ended his life at the springs of Evinos, on the mountain Oeta near the peak, falling into the fire which Philoctetes had lit for the hero (Pyra of Herakles). The reason was because Heracles, after his victory against Eurytus, asked his wife for a new tunic, to establish a celebration for Zeus. However the tunic worn by the hero was drenched in the blood of Nessus and it afflicted his skin without him being able to take it off. Thus his wife, who had been tricked by Nessus, when she realized what she had done, killed herself and Heracles decided to throw himself into the fire. But a thunder was heard and the hero ascended to the Heavens on a cloud.
Aetolia, up to the river Achelous, is an isolated region, mountainous and with poor roads. Its antediluvian inhabitants were the Pelasgians and the Courites, who were identified as the Dactyl of Crete and the Korybantes, who were the first men born from Gaia. It took its name from the son of Endymion, Aetolus, who fled here from the Peloponnese because he had killed king Apis. The Athenians claimed that this tribe of the Aetolians was barbarous, spoke an incomprehensible language and ate raw meat, but was the largest in population. Despite this, they would create in Thermo the Aetolian Leauge and seize control of Delphi. Thermo is on our left in a distance of 15 kilometers, near lake Trichonida; the location of the temple of Apollo and Artemis. The town was filled with artistic treasures; most of which was a product of looting by the Aetolians, who had reached as far as Dion and Dodoni.
In front of us we can see the raging Acheloous, whom Heracles fought for the sake of Deianira. This river god is an untamed beast, son of chthonic gods, Oceanus and Tethys. Once, enraged because some Nymphs forgot him in their sacrifice near the banks, he suddenly flooded and drove them into the sea, creating the islands of the Echinades.
Further down we entered the land of the Amphilochians, who founded their city near the Gulf of Ambracia. Its name is taken from Amphilochus, the son of Amphiaraus, who was one of the suitors of Helen of Troy, that is why he participated in the campaign. After a while to the right we come across the great Corinthian colony of Ambracia (Arta), which was founded in 625 B.C. by Gorgus, an illegitimate son of the tyrant of Corinth, Cypselus. It takes its name from Ambracia, a daughter of Melaneus, who was a son of Apollo. The town was near the river Aracthus – who was a brother of the firstborn Achelous – whose springs were in Pindos, the great mountain range which includes the Athamanic mountains (Tzoumerka), on the peaks of which the ark of Deucalion landed, in the period of the deluge (the flood of Deucalion ended the First Bronze Age). It laid there on an altitude of 2.429 meters, 40 km to our right.
In a while we would reach the Necromanteion, in a sudden rainstorm which made us shiver even more than the course towards the unknown we were about to embark on. Hermes noticed this and, before we entered the entrance to Hades, he tried to encourage us. He is a good god, sweet tempered and we listened with devotion.

What is life, he told us, but a dream that you will relive in another body. If you were good, you will ascend and might even be reborn as a king. So do not shiver and try to understand the cycle of life. Down there you will see many good and evil people, but before all this you will meet your own, whom you loved and departed before you did, waiting for you.

However I have to deliver you to Charon and leave to bring more souls, this is my job. So here, take a drachma and give it to the ferryman to take you across, to the land of the dead.

Necromanteion

West Gate of the Mortal

West Gate of the Mortal

Among many others we also passed to the Palace under the gaze of Cerberus, feeling the invisible hand of Hades pushing us. Before we entered the dark tunnel, we took with us the sweet smile of Persephone which gave us courage. It was impossible to forget this slender lady with the long black dress, which fluttered like a wraith, without any air.

Leaving the palace of Persephone in the Necromanteion, we headed for Olympus, greeting the good lady. Persephone had great renown in the space of the chthonic gods, but the celestial gods respected her as well because she was a daughter of Demeter, as an intermediate union of the celestial and chthonic space. Hermes on the other hand, tirelessly made the trip Olympus (Dion), Delphi and Necromanteion, carrying the orders of Zeus.

Acropolis of Athens

Route in Spacetime

The Acropolis of Athens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was populated since the Neolithic era and during the Mycenean times was fortified with walls that protected the officers of the army. Later, in the place of the palace, there was built a temple dedicated to the gods Poseidon and Athena, that was destroyed later during the Archaic era twice, and was rebuilt for the second time at the beginning of the 5th century B.C.

Reconstruction of the Acropolis and Areus Pagus in Athens, by Leo von Klenze (1846)

The construction of the walls of Acropolis started with Kimon (Greek: Κίμων) and Themistocles (Greek: Θεμιστοκλῆς), Athenian politicians and generals in mid-5th century BC, and was completed with Pericles (Greek: Περικλῆς), a prominent and influential Greek statesman and general of Athens during its golden age and his cooperators – the architect Iktinos and the general supervisor and sculptor Fidias – have built Parthenon (dedicated to the goddess Athena).

The Acropolis of Athens is a privileged archeological site for a variety of reasons. It is Located in the middle of a plain 22 km long and 10 km wide, with an altitude of 156.20 meters. So the Acropolis is towering over the surrounding hills and becomes peripherally visible from long distances, without the head of the visitor assuming a discomforting position while observing it. This way, especially in ancient times, the space functioned symbolically and defensively for the residents of Athens. When we climb the Acropolis we observe that there is a comfortable visual image around the area in every direction with great clarity for at least 50 km. Athens emerged victorious creating two battles – symbols: the Battle of Marathon (490 BC) and the Battle of Salamis (480 BC) the first is connected with the oligarchic Athens and the second with the democratic Athens. The building complex of the Acropolis that the visitor observes nowadays, was constructed after the Persian Wars and after these victorious battles.

Then the Athenian League began to develop, under the pretext of addressing a future Persian threat, under the auspices of the Athens and consisted of more than 236 city-states (some even raise them to 400).

Its political and economic sphere of influence extended to a radius of 1,200 km.

All these are important in relation to the logic of the Acropolis building projects and this is because the projects we see on the Sacred Rock do not concern Athens as a city-state but Athens as a superpower, City-Patroness of the alliance.

Propylaea


The Greek word propylaeon (προπύλαιον) is the union of the prefix pro- (before) plus the plural of gate, meaning literally “that which is before the gates. Climbing the stairs of the Acropolis let us remember for a little while the myths about Athena the goddess who protects the city of Athens.

Crossing the threshold of the Propylaea we observe the separation of the columns in Triads. We enter a timeless space that is the Past, Present and Future. The Propylaea, which we pause for a moment to marvel at their art, cost the Athenian State 290 talents that in todays rates would sum up to 71.3 million euro (for materials and labor).

Parthenon


The Parthenon (Greek: Παρθενώνας) is a former temple on the Athenian Acropolis, Greece, dedicated to the goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their patron. Construction began in 447 BC when the Athenian Empire was at the peak of its power and was completed in 438 BC, although decoration of the building continued until 432 BC. It is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece, generally considered the zenith of the Doric order. Its decorative sculptures are considered some of the high points of Greek art. The Parthenon is regarded as an enduring symbol of Ancient Greece, Athenian democracy and Western civilization, and one of the world’s greatest cultural monuments.

To the Athenians who built it, the Parthenon and other Periclean monuments of the Acropolis were seen fundamentally as a celebration of Hellenic victory over the Persian invaders and as a thanksgiving to the gods for that victory.

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The believer reaching at the end of the passage, admired the colossal bronze statue of Athena, perhaps a project by Phidias. At the same time he could admire the Athenian Ionic Erechtheum and the Doric Parthenon. These are two structures with a completely different aesthetic.

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On the one hand in the Erechtheion Athena Polias protector of the earth’s forces and fertility is a tender mother full of femininity, on the other hand in the Parthenon Athena Pallas, the warlike patron of the city is presented virile and terrifying. The Parthenon was built to commemorate the victory at Salamis because the sea was the advantage of Athens.
It is of course reasonable to assume that Pericles could not have decided to build the brilliant temple of the Virgin which cost 500 talents, that would be 132.000.000 euros today (as much as a modern day 44 km long national highway of European standards), without politically taking advantage of the construction in the area.
From this point, when the Attic sky is clear, we can relive the terrible battle between the Persians and Greeks.
So when the Panathenaic procession entered the Acropolis area, every Athenian entered into another dimension like when passing through an Arch of Triumph.
Here the gods were close and next to him, perhaps they even touched him (something similar happens today with the Christian procession of Tinos). So the relationship God – Man was immediate. And the pillars, the geometric shapes, the sculptures etc. were playing the role of a symbolic reminder to man (just like the hexapteryga and the icons of the Christian world today).
The believer who followed the Panathenaic procession was leaving optimistic. And as he timelessly entered the area of the Sacred Rock (Past – Present – Future), he also timelessly left (Future – Present – Past). He saw the Past before him towards Salamis, since the Propylaea have this visual direction.
In the Sacred Site (Acropolis), man participates actively, seeing visions and creating performances (like in the various sacred sites of the monotheistic cults).