2022-05-20 Europe: 2022-09-18 18:02 (UTC)

To understand the beginning of Greece and the Greek culture, the Peloponnese is a good starting point. Although I couldn't say that I shaped the itinerary because of any academic interests and pre-knowledge — but the weather-wane compulsively aimed the close region. Also we can see it in any ways and from any angle, altogether without the ancient Greek world humanity would have written and lived the every day differently for the latter millennia.

The Tholos of Tiryns
The first destination of the daytrip was a kind of amateur Indiana Jones crypt-hunting, the discovery of The Tholos of Tiryns, since the building hides among the hills and behind the orange groves by the end of a dirt road.

The tholos is a circular shaped burial chamber with a dome, built into a hill. It's typical to the Mycenaean, pre-Greek period and the vicinity.

The Tholos of Tiryns was discovered in 1913, and it's located on the Hill of Prophet Elias. Opinions vary of its past and classification, since it's not proven that it was indeed built to be and used as a burial chamber through millennia, because the signs rather seem to make it serving only as either a tholos-shaped place of worship or a storage vault. Its isolated location also raises questions, since these type of burial chambers were built only for high-ranking persons, in closeness of their seat of reign.

About a kilometer far toward north Tiryns itself can be found, which belongs to the UNESCO list since 1999. The architectural importance of Tiryns is also the regionally typical Cyclopean masonry, which inspired the Homeric epithet the mighty walls of Tiryns and made of huge, roughly carved boulders put onto each other without mortar. Due to their size and weight, legend believed that only the one-eyed giants could be able to work with them.

They shouldn't be mistaken with a 2019 Suzuki V-Strom 650, or MV Augustas.
Internal joke!

The surroundings of the fort on the hill was born around the third millennium BCE, lived its heydays between 1400-1200 BCE and was destroyed around the end of the Bronze Age; either by relocation or forced migration. When the famed geographer Pausanias visited Tiryns in the 2nd century CE, it was already fully abandoned. While the discovery of the location appreciates Heinrich Schliemann's important works, still it was probably only luck that the excavations started by the August of 1876 didn't turn everything upside down by sheer force, because he thought the upper layers only to be medieval ruins, and he was more focused on the more enticing Mycenaean treasuries below. He returned 8 years later and had the shovels and picks work now with more sound archaeological knowledge, but by then the also renowned scientist of the location, Wilhelm Dörpfeld led the excavations with more accurate recognition of the ancient site.

The archaeological past is relatively young, continuous works run from approximately the 1950s. Primarily on excavating and stabilizing the walls, but the visitors can already get a nearly full picture about the layout and structure of the ancient site.

While I was standing on the yard of the Palace of Tiryns, the thought of previous days had solidified in me, that Greece is the country of scents. And what beautiful scents! The wind carries the smell of the orange groves, the olive trees, you can sense camomile, lilies, daffodils and many more thousands of flowers and plants play in your nose.

Even if Tiryns doesn't ring a bell, still Mycenae definitely should. Continuing more toward north you'll reach the eponymous city in regard of also cultural, geographical and historical respect. The site is split into two interests: one is the actual Mycenaean hill with the palace and the various living and work quarters on the lower levels, down to the water reservoir inside a cave. The other sight is the museum, where you can see the artifacts which have surfaced from the 19th century.

Neither original or would be Agamemnon's death maskIt was a windy, very windy day

The summarized significance of Mycenae that it took forward the multidisciplinary knowledge — such as organized society, trading, economy, science and culture — laid down by the earlier Minoan civilization. Mycenae also met its doom by the end of the Bronze Age, but compared to Tiryns it never fully emptied. Pausanias recognized the Lion Gate entrance of the palace and met with shepherds. Currently only theories circle about its ultimate fate: most likely it was subjugation and assimilation by newcomer conquerors, but could be also because of internal conflicts, fire or natural disasters.

Go well — not to Shell Aria
I'm not saying this below is typical to Greece — but along with damaging traffic signs apparent as national sport, an another phenomena also exists: the attendants of the petrol stations often demand the petrol pump, the owner of the vehicle must not do refuelling by themselves.

I could never grasp the reasoning behind this. Probably Greeks are confused by the complicated steps of refilling, maybe they are endangering themselves and the public during the process, or probably small people grow a sense of superiority in anyway ordinary circumstances (eg., shabby recruited Viza Bojz). At multiple places, the only and very same answer I always received was: Shell boss will be angry. I got the same reply earlier in Athens (ultimately didn't refill here) and also in Aria after I returned from the daytrip and while watering my horse.

You would imagine, refilling a motorcycle isn't astronomy arithmetic, but the employees of Shell Aria failed on it over a long mile. After I stopped and lifted the pump, a bearded employee with negligent oral hygiene but hasty steps and even worse English took it out from my hand, because he is going to do the refill. Shell boss will be angry. Oh my, nobody would want that, then do it at once, what could go wrong?

Seconds passed by, the counter was spinning and whirring. Later he removed the pump and by sign language and pointing to the tank cap asked: Is it good?

Well, it quite wasn't so: he overfilled the tank, the petrol sloshed way over the safety level indicator in the throat of the inlet. Getting answers was a disabled attempt of a lost case, the bearded one suddenly fled and all other attendants too were swallowed by the Earth. Except a second employee, who remained of course for the payment. As to no wonder, he could stammer only no inglis words.

A third employee with glasses topped the moussaka with whipped feta cream: according to him I see only a mirage, the petrol over the line is only because the bike was leaning to the side and that is you see only. When I'll put the bike on level, then everything will be fine and dandy. Needless to say, after levelling the bike, the petrol still remained above the safety line — since it was already above the line. The guy reacted professionally seeing this staggering magic and inconceivable outcome: he turned his back one me and without any words returned into the buildung. Possibly he lacked enough skilled knowledge, lest visual comprehension capabilities, along with the missed Geometry and Physics classes in the elementary school. You'll laugh, but this person appeared to be the supervisor of the petrol station.

The story could end here, if I hadn't lodged a complaint to the Greek Shell HQ: because after the overfilling, the petrol sensor became mixed up — after hundreds of kilometers and complete refuelling it showed way more attainable distance, than before in general or would be realistic.

Although I consider their whole complaint handling adequate, the whys and hows weren't clarified; I still couldn't understand The Forbidden Fruit of Refuelling, because before the incident I already took petrol at multiple Greek Shell stations, by myself, without issues, with a smile and a good coffee — and nowhere ever was the petrol pump taken out from my hand, was any trouble caused for the motorcycle, or attendants cursed their employer Shell and their bosses in front of the customers.

The approximate end of the story, first I sent a constructive criticism to Shell Greece how to avoid such incidents in the future, secondly do a deeper investigation there as arias could be sung about the station in Aria. Thirdly in an official service no direct issues were found with the fuel sensor, the amount/weight of the overfilled petrol should not cause troubles, still they restarted the system; a more accurate check is still ahead.

The moral of the story
The perceptible likeness of the southern countries, the overspun ego appears in Greece. If an attendant of a petrol station wants to refill…ride on a pompous horse, especially in front of an English-speaking foreigner, especially a motorcycle (Mee too has moto!!! It's sleazy, sunburnt to bare metal, overdriven, shed-fixed, but hey, I know the what is what!!!) which having refuelled isn't exact nuclear heart transplantation (still requires more attention and knowledge for multiple reasons, than hump the pump into a car) — then just go to a different place.

They won't be bothered, they wouldn't even pick up 10-20 liters of drachma.

^ to the top