So Thursday and Friday we were in Delphi. If you don’t know, that is mainland Greece, north of Attica. The drive was about three hours ish. We stopped a couple hours in which I thought was a bit silly. You can tell when somebody grew up taking road trips, that’s all I’m going to say. The route the bus driver took was really weird too. I don’t think it was the normal route someone would have taken. While we were driving through Attica and getting to the suburb type areas, we drove past huge mansions. They were absolutely beautiful with large yards. It makes me miss a simple house. Apartments here are in the thousands and yard space does not exist. Anyways, after an hour or so on a large toll road, the roads began to get smaller and the landscape more and more gorgeous. The mountains began to loom overhead and everything was green. We passed through a couple towns which Maggie told me were skiing towns. They were almost what you would think a small town in the Alps would look like. There were lots of wood structures and it was small and cute and there was fur in all the shop windows.
We first stopped at one of the Monasteries and walked around. It was gorgeous. The view was beautiful and the architecture was beautiful. We walked around the little museum and then we walked around the site allowed to do so freely. Jeff ended up sharing some of his knowledge with me as we walked around a bit together. Him and Michael are teachers at heart, always ready to teach others what they know, to share. Maggie and I lit a few candles in the church and we took pictures everywhere. We took a couple jumping photos with steph and they turned out hilarious. I think my toe was touching the ground in both of them. We stared at the view for a long time and wandered around every nook and cranny. Then we sat down for a quick picnic lunch of whatever we’d brought from home and jumped back on the bus. It was about another hour or so to Delphi.
When we arrived in Delphi it was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, no questions asked. There were wild flowers everywhere, huge valleys and high mt. tops and we were on top of the world. As Jeff put it, we could see two seas, the small sea in the valley and the sea of olive trees that covered the mt. slopes. I think I took a million pictures, trying to capture the beauty of that place but those pictures will never do justice. There were so many other things to take in with our senses. The smell of the wildflowers was beautiful, there was a distant clanging of bells from the herds of goats, and there was a breeze that filled your lungs with such fresh air. I realize I sound like a poet on drugs right now but the place was absolutely amazing and I can’t say it enough.
And sitting there in the midst of all this beauty were the ruins of Delphi. The first day we visited the lower site which seemed to be a strange cluster of buildings. One was a temple, one was a uniquely round building with an unknown purpose, and the others were treasuries and such. It was definitely hard to pay attention as we stared out at the landscape and as we stared out at the random cluster of tourists.
There were so many tourists there and I wasn’t sure wehre most of them were from. Luckily everybody else is more talented than I am and knew exactly what languages they were speaking. Some were German, most were French, there was a group of Canadians, and then the almost out of place Greeks here and there. We joked around a lot about the other tourists, what they were wearing, how their accents sounded. In retrospect it was rude but at the same time I know some of them were talking about us.
After the site we checked into our hotel which was just around the corner, literally, just as awkwardly perched on the side of the mountain as the site. It was adorable. It reminded me of a lodge which was fitting since they get a lot of snow in the winter. Molly and I shared a room. There were three beds though there were only two of us, a large bathroom, and a fireplace. Romantic getaway? I think so! The window looked out on the side of another building but if you looked over the roof top there was a glimpse of that amazing view.
We began to wander around town looking at the shops. After a while you start to notice all the shops have the same things. They have the same jewelry, the same recreations of pottery, the same bags, the same postcards, everything. We started to walk around the town taking pictures and began to break into smaller groups. Molly and Emily and I decided to start walking up, no goal in mind but up. There were so many stairs in that town because everything is terraced. Those people must all be in great shape.
We started to walk up stairs until we found a path. Then we started to walk up the path. The path turned into a winding trail and we kept going up and up and up. The view was breathtaking, the exercise was amazing, and we were some dumb tourists climbing a mountain on a whim. We talked a lot on our hike. We talked about home, we talked about friends, we talked about lord of the rings because molly couldn’t get it out of her head that the trail resembled the trip Frodo and Sam took. I had to agree. Although I don’t think ours was as steep. Then we started talking about how poor Sam had to climb all the way back down because Frodo thought he ate that bread. In my opinion Frodo is a bit of a dick. Anywho, we passed a couple guys on the way. They were dressed in excercise clothes, hiking boots, a backpack in which they were eating oranges out of, and they had hiking poles. We must have been a site to see. Eventually we made it to the top. We were on top of a mountain, in a little shack that had a sign with the layout of what we were looking at which felt like the entire of Greece.
We sat up there for a while taking pictures, staring out at the view, laughing that we’d just hiked up this mountain with our side slung bags and not exactly appropriate shoes. We’d survived on a couple bottles of water and it had taken a couple of hours. It was the perfect way to have spent the day.
The hike back down was a bit more dangerous as we decided to forgo the roundabout trail and just head straight down. It turns out the trail is roundabout for good reasons and at a couple points we did a small bit of rock climbing. Honestly one of us could of cracked our head open on a rock but everything was fine besides a few stabs from the thorny bushes. We ended up back on the trail about half way down and took it from there. Somewhere we missed a turn and ended up a little ways out of town right above the upper site. There was a beautiful view of their stadium so we took a few snap shots and were on our way. We were all exhausted afterwards. We were all sweating and our feet were a bit messed up. Thankfully we had an hour or so before dinner.
We all got back to our hotel rooms, showered and changed and then met everyone in the lobby for dinner.
Dinner was at a tavern that of course was about 50 stairs away. We all shared appetizers, had some wine, and then ordered our own dishes. Steph and I were going to get Deer but they said they didn’t have it at the moment so I ended up with “Sausage in Charcoal”. It was really good, although I didn’t eat too much of it because I was stuffed from the appetizers. We had Greek salad, stuffed peppers, zucchini pie things, and spicy cheese on bread. It was all so good! Then at the end of the meal they gave us a small spread of deserts. It was honestly a dream come true. One was cheesecake which actually tasted like cheese. It was delicious. Then there was a sweet whipped kind of cream on top of the shredded sweet philo doe stuff. There were a couple other deserts and they were all delicious. I thought I was stuffed already but how could I pass that up? I went to bed fat and worn out.
The next day we got up early, checked out, and headed for the upper site. The upper site was much bigger. There was a street that wound its way up the slope called the sacred way and all along it were buildings. A few were small temples, most were treasuries, and then about half was up was a large temple to Apollo. The temple would have been enormous and grandiose in its hay day. Now it’s a collapsing foundation with a couple towering pillars. Close to the top of the site there was a large theater. There were a couple archaeologists working on taking measurements while we were there. Then after another steep hike up for about five or ten minutes, we found our way to the stadium. Michael described in detail a lot of the events that would have happened there and it sounds like they were pretty brutal. All in all it was a pretty interesting site trip and I learned a lot. I also managed to find a random water spigot about half way up that was the fresh water from the mountain. Delicious!
After that we headed to the museum. We had a small break sitting out at the café where we got kicked out for not ordering anything even though there were a million open chairs and it was the only place to sit outside. Dumb! Then we went into the museum and pretty much covered the whole thing. It was a pretty small museum but it had a lot of cool statues and things found on the site.
After the museum we had time for lunch. A few of us, including Michael ended up at a small tavern where I got a ham and cheese omelet. And I hear you say, that’s not very Greek, and I say, Exactly! Michael helped us talk to the waiter and also let us know you have to ask for your check because they will only give it to you if they want your table. That’s something nobody told us and we’ve felt like jerks every time we have to get their attention for the check. Oh well!
Then was the bus ride home which was four hours. Or at least it was supposed to be. I literally was asleep for all but like fifteen minutes of it so it could have been an hour for all I knew.
The last couple of days have been all about hw and catching up on sleep. The nights have been about having fun. I’ve learned a lot about Greek culture in the last couple of days just sitting on a bar stool and watching. The conversations are always interesting too. They aren’t scared to talk about anything, every subject is an open subject, and they are always eager to share or answer questions.
The highlight of my day was talking to eve on Skype. I informally met Rob over a computer screen and we talked for about an hour about anything and everything. She noticed I’ve lost weight which is always nice. We talked about the baby that is soon to be part of the family and I realized a lot is changing. Going home is going to be a bumpy ride and I only have a couple of months left here.
Craving, Chicken Bonez. Shout out to my Eugene peeps.