The Temple of Poseidon overlooks Cape Sounion and the Aegean Sea. And what a breathtaking sea it is! I cannot get enough; the crystal clear blue water, pebble beaches, and gentle sea breezes are the things dreams are made of.According to classical Greek mythology, Cape Sounion got its name from a tragic turn of events. It’s the spot where the King of Athens, Aegeus, leapt to his death from a cliff in Cape Sounion. The story goes that the King despaired when he saw a black sail on his son’s (Theseus) ship returning from the Minotaur battles in Crete. The Minotaur was confined by its owner, King Minos of Crete, in a specially designed labyrinth. Every year, according to the myth, the Athenians were forced to send seven men and seven women to Minos as tribute. These tributes were placed in the Minotaur’s labyrinth to be devoured by the beast. Theseus had volunteered to go and attempt to slay the beast in Crete. King Aegeus and his son had agreed that upon his ships’ return, a black sail on the ship meant that Theseus had been killed by the Minotaur, whereas a white sail meant that he had survived the battle and killed the beast. The tragedy of the myth is that Theseus had in fact slain the beast, he had simply forgotten to change the sail on the ship from a black one to white a one, thus, causing his father’s tragic death. Anyone who knows Greek mythology knows it’s all about the tragedies.My first introduction to Cape Sounion was sipping frozen coffee, sitting on a pebble beach, talking with our wonderful Athenian hostess, Matina. We talked about growing up in the Greek isles and Kentucky, work aspirations, even astrology. I managed to take a quick dip in the sea as well (dip equals from the knees down as it was a bit chilly). And then, post-sunning, we headed up to the Temple of Poseidon.From the temple grounds, we could see the bay where we had spent the morning chatting away. And of course, the Temple of Poseidon with the Aegean Sea as the backdrop. I learned that the temple was built in 4 BC and is 60 meters above the sea’s surface. And, in a maritime country like Greece, Poseidon, the god of the sea, was second only to Zeus. What was perceived as Poseidon’s wrath, manifested in the form of storms, and was greatly feared by all mariners as storms frequently resulted in shipwrecks and drownings. Therefore, the temple at Cape Sounion served as a venue where mariners could satiate Poseidon by either making animal sacrifices or leaving gifts.After our tour, we explored the gift shop and I got some Aloe Vera juice (something I have never tried and was quite good) and Greek crisps for the lively ride home. Our small group loved talking; conversation about politics (South African, American and Greek), culture, love of food (one woman was an Indian cook), and our worldwide travels ensued.
After a stroll through Athens, past the Arch of Hadrian and the Panathenaic Stadium, I got back to the hotel and ordered late lunch via room service (because why not). An amazingly tasty salad arrived, then I headed up for a final couple hours in the sun, a swim, and to soak up the view of the Athens Acropolis from our rooftop. Then, I met Ger and we snuck into the Hilton’s Galaxy Bar (famous for the city views) for cocktails while we watched the sunset over Athens. It was quite a pleasant experience. We ended up at a cozy outdoor space for our final Greek dinner where we ordered some authentic Greek dishes, a bottle of local white wine (love drinking local concoctions), and recalled our trip. Fab last night in Greece! We headed home the following morning and cannot wait to visit Greece again; we genuinely loved it! Until then 😉