There is a disclaimer along with all articles from Frommers and Fodors and any other travel publication worth its salt that reads: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip. We certainly found this warning to be true when we traveled to ancient Mycenae.
Harvesting information to travel to sites outside the US can be somewhat tricky. Very often, websites such as we are accustomed to in the states that provide business hours and directions are nonexistent. Guidebooks can give a best guest at the details, but these are often left up to the local customs.
We started out the day with a most excellent plan. The morning and our lunch were spent in the ancient city of Corinth, where we were treated to a delightful view of both a modern and ancient Greek city. Mid afternoon we planned to make the hour drive to ancient Mycenae and had high hopes that the kids would use the drive to take a nap. Like clockwork, they took their cue from the drone of the engine and fell asleep. The plan was perfect.
We arrived and agreed to allow the kids to sleep for a while in the car, knowing that we had all afternoon to explore the site. Gary went to the ticket booth to purchase our tickets and procure a map so that we could begin planning our route while the kids slumbered. When he returned to the car with a brisk walk and slightly panicked look, I knew something was wrong. The good news was that since it was Sunday, our admission had been free. The bad news was that since it was Sunday the operating hours we had expected to last until 7:00 pm were wrong. The landmark closed at 4:00 and it was 3:15.
With a flurry we began unpacking the car, the camera, and the sleeping children in hopes that we could see as much of the landmark as possible before closing. Ryan woke up easily enough as he was excited to begin exploring with his flashlight. Evan is normally one of the most Zen kids ever. With rare exception he is happy with any situation and finds pleasure very easily. However, if he is tired or hungry, the Zen transforms into something a bit more beastly.
Being a proper citadel, the majority of the city was placed at the top of a very steep hill. We began the fairly arduous climb at a quick pace. Epic mistake. Still tired and cranky, Evan found the nearest rock, sat down forcefully, and staged a protest. It was not a silent protest. With emphasis he declared to all of ancient Mycenae, “I hate this mountain. This is the worst mountain, EVER!”
Mycenae was certainly known as a city filled with drama, with everything from kings and queens committing acts of murder to heirs to the throne being served as dining delicacies. Indeed, we were doing our part to add to the dramatic flair of the city, and people were beginning to give us a fairly wide berth as Evan continued to decry the evils of the mountain. Stuck between a rock and ancient monument, we were unsure exactly what the best course of action would be. With a stroke of genius or desperation, Dad suggested that he would treat Evan to a super fun piggy back ride up the mountain if he would just.stop.screaming. Gotta love a man who’s willing to put his body on the line for a screaming four year old.
The air at the top of the mountain must have been better because once at the top Evan once again transformed into his regular happy self and we were able to explore quite happily. To our delight, the gates did not close for at least 90 minutes after we arrived, giving us much more time to explore than we had anticipated. It turns out the information from the ticket counter was more of a general guideline, rather than a rule. Word to the Wise: when you are planning your trip to ancient Mycenae, expect closing on Sunday at 4:00, unless it is at 5:30 or maybe 6:00.
Disclaimer: This information is accurate to the best of my knowledge, but my recollection may be clouded by the memory of the epic tantrum. Please be sure to confirm all details directly with the company and for crying out loud don’t wake up a sleeping four year old.