Leaving Meteora, we drive for around 3 hours to get to Delphi. One thing I did not realize about Delphi is how high up it is, perched up on Mount Parnassus. And that the scenery here is stunning!! The roads are small and our hotel is not accessible by giant coach bus so we are dropped off down the road and drag our luggage to Acropole Hotel.
This is the view from our room…seriously!!!
In ancient times, Delphi was a sacred area around a religious site that served as the seat of the major oracle who was consulted when making important decisions. Her name was Pythia. The ancient Greeks considered Delphi to be the centre of the world. How did they come to this conclusion? Zeus released 2 eagles to fly from opposite sides of the earth and the eagles eventually met over this place. Oh, Greek mythology. The area was continuously inhabited up until the French School at Athens wanted to excavate here in the 1880’s, suspecting it was ancient Delphi. The villagers resisted, but after an earthquake damaged the area they were offered a new village to leave this old site. And after the removal of tons of soil from landslides, ancient Delphi was rediscovered!
Before dinner, Matt takes us for a walk downhill to the Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia, at the base of the mountain.
It’s located separate from the main ruins, and this one’s free to explore. The main structure here is the Tholos of Delphi, which is a circular temple.
The 3 Doric columns that remain have been reconstructed. We look around and take pics, and then it’s a long walk back up the hill to town for dinner.
Ana and I fall behind, and it doesn’t help that we see a few kitties along the way and I have to stop to talk to them. Haha.
We arrive a bit late for dinner at Epikouros Restaurant, and we have to sit at the crap table that’s not situated on the awesome patio with amazing views. Punishment for stragglers. Dinner is a set meal, that consists mostly of salad and Greek pasta. After dinner, a few of us hit up Mr. Rose bar, and snag a table outside before a large group of youngsters take over the bar. It’s just me, Ana, Deepti and Matt and the 4 of us enjoy some drinks to end our night in Delphi.
But……nothing too crazy that night because today we are up reallllyyy early to get to the Delphi Archaeological Museum for opening time at 8am.
We have a guide named Penny, and she’s a pro at showing us around this museum that’s located at the foot of the main archaeological complex. So, what’s cool and significant in this museum? Well as usual, there’s a collection of figurines, cauldrons and pots, bronze helmets. Here are some of the more significant artifacts, separated into different rooms. The first room features the amazing Twins of Argos, Cleobis and Biton.
These guys are the oldest statues here, and are an early example of large-scale sculpture. Look how perfect their butts are!! Now into the next spacious room, and here is the Sphinx of Naxos, standing 7 feet tall and made from marble.
It was originally on top of a column next to the Temple of Apollo, making the entire thing 40 feet tall. Wow! Also here are the friezes of the Siphnian Treasury.
A frieze is a wide central section that lies on top of columns; they can be plain or decorated. The next room visited contains fragments of the Delphic Hymns – musical compositions made for performance during a religious procession.
Fun Fact: the first Hymn is the earliest surviving example of notated music in the western world whose composer is known by name. Thanks, Wikipedia!! If you go to YouTube and search Delphic Hymns, you can hear some recreations of them. It’s pretty cool. Onto the next room which houses the Dancers of Delphi. They are part of a column that held the Omphalos, representing where the 2 eagles met signifying the center of the earth.
Also in this room is the Ex voto of Daochos, a long marble base that had 9 statues – mostly the family of Daochos II. He was clearly very proud to honor his family!
Continuing on to the room that houses the statue of Antinous, who was a “youth of extraordinary beauty” and a “companion” of Hadrian. I think you all know what that means..haha.
This poor boy drowned in the Nile before he reached adulthood and was then worshipped as a demi God. As you can see, the statue was found very well preserved! And finally, the room of the Charioteer, a large bronze sculpture that had been part of a larger group of statues including 4 horses and grooms. It’s rare to find bronze statues intact, as they were often melted down to use for other things or corroded. This statue was found buried under a rockfall. Check out the inlaid glass eyes…creepy!!
And now it’s time to venture out into the scorching heat to explore the ruins of the ancient city of Delphi. We’re high up on this mountain already, so let’s climb even higher! And there’s not much shade. Awesome! We only spend around an hour; with Penny finishing up her guiding and then a bit of free time. The path we take up the hill is called the Sacred Way; it zig zags up to the theatre and gymnasium. Along the way up we stop at the Athenian Treasury, where they housed offerings to Apollo.
A bit further up is where the Sphinx of Naxos stood tall; here’s what remains.
Up and around the corner is the main structure here..the Temple of Apollo – all that’s left are large stones that make up the frame and 6 thick columns.
The view overlooking the temple into the mountain valley is…stunning.
We continue up to the theatre, and this is where I’ve had enough. It’s too damn hot!
A few of our crew hike to the top of the theatre for another viewpoint; I just can’t do it.
We all meet up outside the museum and head back to the hotel to pick up our bags and drag them back to the bus. Before we leave Delphi, I stop at a nearby café and finally have my first freddo cappuccino and I’m even more pumped that they can make it decaf. Caffeine intolerance and heat do NOT mix, as I discovered after having a super strong coffee in Vietnam many years back. And now I am in love with freddo cappuccinos and vow to have one every day for the rest of my time in Greece
We continue on for a short drive along the coast to a place called Trizonia Island, where we will stop for a couple of hours for lunch.
Located in the Corinthian Gulf, it is the only inhabited island in the Gulf, and is only a short boat ride from the mainland to the island.
There is a small settlement here; population is less than 100. The main port is lined with restaurants and a small beach for swimming.
We have some free time, and a group of us do an optional set lunch at the most famous restaurant on the island, Ostria. We have salad, cheeses, saganaki, zucchini fritters, sardines (these ones are much better than the ones I tried in Athens), stuffed peppers with rice and of course, Ouzo.
It’s a fun little detour, but now we must make our way to Olympia…….