Posted by: M.J. Bolstad | October 4, 2012

Ode to a Grecian Turn: Day Twelve


Exploring the ruins at Delphi.

Well, I’ve been on the road twelve days, and I must admit I’m starting to hit that point where I’m starting to feel it.  I won’t say I’m quite ready to be home yet, but I certainly am starting to want to stay put in one place.  I’ve got two nights sleep in Athens starting tomorrow, so hopefully that will help, but for tonight I’m in a new place and a new temporary situation.

I got up very early this morning, after a not particularly good sleep.  It had nothing to do with the hotel, which was everything a hotel should be – clean, quiet, comfortable – and everything to do with my own restlessness. I went to bed early, but couldn’t stay asleep.  Since I’d moved hotels, I checked out and went to the Hotel Phillipos to wait for my pick up. This meant I erred on the side of caution and did not have breakfast, which made things a little more difficult than I wanted.

My chat tours pick up came a little late, and it took a while longer than I expected to get to where I switched buses.  Traffic in Athens is insane, with no discernible lanes in half the places. Our bus driver worked miracles on hairpin turns.  After I switched buses to the Delphi bus, we were on our way.  The drive seemed quite long, aided in part by the traffic jams as we headed out of Athens.  I’ll admit I napped a little in my seat, letting myself drift when Yannis, our guide, wasn’t telling us about the area.

One of the treasuries where dedications to the gods were displayed.

We stopped at a little cafe about two hours into the drive, where everyone could use the water closets and I could pick up a coffee and a donut for breakfast. Not the healthiest choice I could have made, but I swear nothing tasted better than the thick, sweet dough with the dark coffee when my stomach was growling.  After buying a sesame snack bar to hold me over until our late lunch and a water, we all climbed on the bus.

Our first stop was the ruins of Delphi, where the Oracle predicted in the temple of Apollo. They were pretty incredible.  Once buried under a city, much of it has crumbled, but the archaeologists have done amazing work in restoring and unearthing, and a very decent picture is built.  What isn’t evident on site becomes clear once you visit the museum, as we did afterward, because some of the preserved statues and friezes are there on display.

The day was incredibly hot, at least for this Canadian, even though we had shorter than I’d have liked at the archaeological site (I didn’t quite make the topmost stadium for lack of time, though I did see a corner of it). I had my bottle of water done before I’d even finished climbing as high as I got, and I could have used two more.  I also discovered a little later that I’d missed some spots with my sunscreen. I have two angry red lines on my back that I hope will fade.  I also fell coming down the old steps at Delphi, put my foot in the crevasse of a rock on an uneven stair and it twisted and I just dropped.  My ankle hurts quite a bit and I am hoping the rest tonight will do it good and it won’t be throbbing softly tomorrow like it is now.

The oracle prophesied in a temple dedicated to Apollo in Delphi.

After the archaeological site, we went to the museum, where some of the statues that weren’t looted or burned are on display. There are a great many trinkets, too, once offered or dedicated to the gods at the sanctuary there at Delphi. Post-museum, we went to the hotel Amalia, where I am staying the night.  The room is huge and lovely, with a nice balcony and good view.  After checking in, I joined the one day tourers for a many coursed lunch – cheese pie, stuffed vines, salad, chicken with potatoes and broccoli and grapes for dessert – and got to eat with two very lovely lawyers. Well, one was recently made a judge, so I guess one lawyer and one judge.  Both are from Australia, and yes, they do still have to wear the wigs at trial. Itchy!

After being in the sun so long, I took a break to check my email in the hotel lobby, then lay down a while in my room until it had cooled off. Then I made my way down to explore Delphi the town. It was interesting, lots of little shops trying to sell you lots of little things at discounted prices.  If I wake up in time tomorrow I might do a little more exploring, by which I mean take coffee in a little cafe for a change of pace. After walking around, I came back to the hotel and waited until dinner, which is included as part of my tour.  The dinner was good, if a bit lonely; the two others on the 2-day trip are staying at another hotel, so my table was a lonely table for one. Tomorrow, I’ll get back on the tour bus and go to Athens, where I hope to check out the new Acropolis museum before dinner, if there is time. Until tomorrow!

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