As proof that sometimes the best things are found on the off-beaten path, Corinth was a hidden gem that was well worth the journey there.
When planning out the itinerary for our Greece trip, the first city that popped into my mind was not Santorini or even Athens, but surprisingly, Corinth. The city holds such a special place in my heart because of how deeply embedded in spiritual narrative it is (my favourite verse also just happens to be from Corinthians too!). If you had asked me how I was feeling the night before we went, excited would have been an understatement.
It was on our second day in Greece that we drove 45 minutes west to the city of Corinth with a personal tour guide and spent the day surrounded by the the ancient ruins. Because we only had one day there, we weren’t able to check out the modern city area of Corinth and only caught glimpses of it in the car ride, but that will definitely be a reason to come back sometime in the future.
And while it is slightly more expensive, I highly recommend using a personal tour guide versus a group bus tour if you have the money to spend. We were able to go at our own pace instead of being restricted to a set itinerary, our guide was very accommodating when we decided to go see certain parts of Corinth spontaneously, and because of the car ride there and back, we were able to get to know our guide a lot better (a local born and raised in Athens!).
Our guide, Odysseus, had such a warm demeanor to him and I loved that he never stopped talking! You could see the love and passion he has for his country. We learned about things like the Greek lifestyle as a whole, the current economic and political climate (it’s apparently the norm to not pay your taxes here!), to things as simple as his favourite food and Greek music!
As we made our way to the ruins of Corinth, the journey itself ended up being one of my favourite parts of the day. If there’s one thing you should know, Greece is filled with endless mountains and to get to the ancient fortresses of the city, we had to drive up a steep mountain (the drive is not for the faint of heart people!), but I can assure you the views were well worth it.
It was a blazing hot day and also, the path through the mountains was extremely rugged and made the walk pretty difficult. And if you read through my last post, at this point, our luggage was still lost and didn’t arrive yet, so yes you guessed it: none of us had running shoes on us and had to do this walk with flimsy sandals. As a solution to this dilemma, we decided to just take our shoes off and ended up walking a good portion of it barefoot!
While Athens and Thessaloniki are known to be the largest cities in Greece, Corinth used to be the major economic and industrial hub for trade. Interesting fact: the Corinth Canal pictured above was built in the 1800s after many failed attempts with the purpose that it could be used as a site of transportation of goods to boost Corinth’s economy, but once built, navigators found the canal too narrow and didn’t bother using it! So now, the Corinth Canal functions mainly as a site of tourism and I can see why. This picture doesn’t even begin to capture the true vibrancy of the turquoise waters.
We took a break from all the walking by going to this beautiful restaurant recommended by our guide Odysseus which had an incredible view of the Temple of Apollo. (Sidenote: let’s all take a moment to appreciate the block of feta cheese on this Greek salad. I normally don’t even like Greek salads, but the quality of of the feta and the freshness of the olives and tomatoes made this downright amazing.)
Did I not forewarn you all that olive trees would continue making an appearance? Yes, I see now why the Bible makes so many references and allusions to olive trees and branches. You could probably reach out your hand midair at any point in Corinth and find yourself touching an olive tree.
Because not many people visit Corinth when they come to Greece, it was truly incredible getting to walk through this city with virtually no one else around. The stillness I felt made the Biblical traces of this city even more apparent and pronounced and even with the 35 degree heat, I would have kept on walking for hours and hours.
Something I’ll take away from this day here is the feeling of being awed to complete silence. Being just one person surrounded by an overwhelming amount of history, destruction, resilience… and knowing that I could never have the capacity to understand it all…wow.