Visiting historic Delphi
With the limited number of days in Athens I needed to decide between a day trip to Delphi or Mycenae. Asking around on travels forums, if a decision had to be made, which is the one to go for? People suggested Delphi as it has a better museum and there is more to explore.
Greek tours generally pick you up from the hotel, (the layout of the city allows for more space, and less congestion), and tend to be scenic along the sea or in the mountains with bodies of lakes and crisp freshness of clean air.
The tour group had a quick stop at a souvenir shop (the operator probably gets a cut) for coffee. As I didn’t want anything I went around for a short walk, and shortly after I saw a mother-son were doing the same as well. I found that that she is part of a the Greek diaspora living in Germany. She wanted to give her son a taste of his parent’s homeland as its completely foreign to him because he was born and grew up in Germany. I imagine that this probably was just a holiday for him with his mother rather than feeling the connection as he is firmly rooted in Germany.
We stopped at a small mountain-side town which I heard was famous for Honey and Pasta. I couldn’t buy fresh pasta as it wouldn’t fit in my backpack, the only honey I could find was from Delphi, and the most interesting thing I could find there was animal skin hats. The hats were about 125 euro – a bit too much for my budget, and too expensive to squash into the backpack.
We could see the deep valley on one side and high mountains on the other side with one road going through the whole town with main residential buildings and shops. Some houses were also scattered on the mountains, it was lovely to see that instead of the same Victorian houses in endless rows with same map inside in London.
We eventually got to Delphi. We walked on what was left off the thousands of years old marble steps leading from the remaining pillars of the Apollo Temple and eventually ending at the stadium of the Delphi sanctuary which was used for the Pythian games.
On the way we passed the Oracle, numerous treasuries (they held the offerings made to Apollo) and statues, the alter of the chians, stoa of the athenians, the sibyl rock, theatre, tholos, gymnasium, hippodrome and finally to the stadium.
Horse racing seemed to be a popular ancient Greek sport. The climb up had a lot of thousand + year old slippery marble which is probably a statement of how rich this area once was.
Then it was time for lunch at the modern town of Delphi which is situated west of the archaeological site and a popular tourist spot. We met a Canadian Mother and son, where the son was studying to be a marine diesel army engineer and had a good chat over lunch with them. Vegetarian food is no problem in Greece, however, the dessert part was interesting – just an apple and a knife. If only it were that easy everywhere else – not! The tour ended at the Delphi museum which had an impressive collection of the ancient Delphi.
If I visit Greece again I’d probably visit the see how the people and culture is in Northern Greece.