November 5, 2017:

No site better illustrates than Mycenae the change of decades.

Granted it's Sunday, so there are more Greeks than would otherwise be present. Still. The place is shoulder-to-shoulder with humans.

There's a museum, and a fee to enter. Guards keeping both eyes out for danger or vandalism. Children. Old people. It's as packed as Disneyland on a sunny day in July.

Back in the day it was a Monday when I was here — December 17, 1979. We were alone: two schoolfriends and me. There was no museum, no fee, no guards — and no people. We climbed into the circular tombs, poked flashlights into the tholos, read the first scene of Agamemnon aloud, the dramatic appearance of signal fire atop the striking triangular hill behind us, alerting Clytemnestra to the return from Troy of her husband the king. Breathtaking.

It's still crazy beautiful. And there's something spiritually alive here, some visceral connection to the reality of Homer and the ancient legends, of people who were flesh and who lived exactly in this place.

Just close your eyes, and close your ears, and imagine the crying babies are elsewhere.