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Michael’s Travel Diary

Monday, 17 Apr 2006

Location: Delphi, Greece

MapEntry 24 - Delphi (13th April)

Note, this is the 3rd entry in the last few days (22A, 23 and now 24) and I have added a few photo pages, including Mt. Sinai, which is further down the photo list. Just saying this as many people wouldn't have seen this in a few days (Happy Easter Looooong Weekend), cause I know you only use it to keep yourselves occupied at work - Richie.

Woke up on the morning intending on leaving Athens again and heading to Delphi and staying the night, then heading to Thessaloniki the following day. However, the harder I tried, the less info I could get from anyone as to weather there were any busses that went from Delphi to Thessaloniki, and the last thing that I wanted to have to do was lug all of my stuff to Delphi, only to find that I had to drag it all back to Athens. Instead I decided to make a day trip of it to Delphi, and head back to Athens to make the journey to Thessaloniki the following day.

Well the 3 hour bus ride from Terminal A (not B like Olympus) was crowded and probably the least enjoyable bus ride to date (in Greece). As we drove to Delphi I got a great understanding as to why people said it is one of the most picturesque sites in Greece.
At one stage the bus was driving thru a one-lane wide town on the side of a mountain, and I saw a bunch of ski shops. Looking up out of the window I saw a bunch of mountain tops still with snow on them... wow.

Finally we pulled into Delphi, after driving past all of the ruins, and back down hill. The first thing I see getting out of the bus is a sign saying that busses to Thessaloniki leave at 1030am every morning. Oh well. As I walked back to the ruins I quickly figured why they said it was so beautiful. The site is built into the side of a mountain, and looks over the bright blue waters of the Bay of Corinth. It was really was awesome.

I walked to the main site, and started heding up the main pathway, and for the first time I was disapointed in the site. All of the information signs were in Greek and what looked like Spanish? Why do I think spanish, well there were three spanish girls there that could read it, but they were no help to me cos they couldn't speak English, so I was going in blind. Man, that made it difficult.

The first building that you come across is the relatively well preserved/re-built Treasury of the Athenians. It's a sqaure building with a couple of columns, and still looks in good nick. Then as you continue up the path you pass other more common 'ruins' like that of the Athenian Stoa (which basically means roof supported by colums as best as I can figure).

As you continue further up the path, away from the road, follow the bend in the path and come to the Temple of Apollo. It is essentially a ruin, with only half a dozen standing colums in a corner, on a large rock slab again. But from that plateau, you can see down into the valley below. Very nice. The Pillar of Prusias II is also there, almost looking over the temple.

Continuing further up the hill and you reach the theatre (what's a Greek ruin without a theatre) that again provide a great vantage point to look over the ruins below and into the valley. The theatre itself isn't that impressive after seeing those in Athens, but the flowers that are growing behind the theatre were in bloom and gave a beautiful coloured background.

Finally, you continue the march upwards, following the signs to the Stadium. The Stadium is completely hidden from the rest of the ruins by big trees. When you get to the top, you find a flat area, about 30m wide and 150 meters long, with bench seating on both sides (one in good nick, the others in ruins) and curved bench seating at the far end. Again the surrounds are what makes it most impressive, with mountains towering over the area, and just to see it in winter, with snow capped mountains everywhere would be incredible.

After exploring the Stadium, I headed back down the path towards the two free ruins, The Gymnasium, and The SAnctuary of Aphrodite. They are a little further down the road, and the Gymnasium can bee seen from the road. Going down into the Gymnasium proves to be more effort than it is worth, with the best views by far from above. Once down low, the ruins are hard to see, as the grass is allowed to grow uncontrolled and covers most of the blocks.

Moving from the Gymnasium to the Sanctuary, you again find some incredible ruins. The Tholos is a circular temple that is again in ruins, but three of the columns have been re-created with new marble to hold part of the top section back up. It is actually quite a pretty ruin, even if it is so small. From there I headed back up the street to the museum to see, yep you guessed it, more pottery and marble statues. The one that did take my fancy was a statue of what looks like a winged dog with a womans head. It was a really big piece, and different to most of the stuff I had seen. What it meant? Dunno, don't speak Greek or Spanish!

That rounded out the day at Delphi and I headed back to Athens by bus for my last night in Athens. Back in Athens I met Matt and Corey a Brit/NY couple and they were headed out to some club and asked if I was interested in coming along. Yeah why not? Well, club was empty and we headed instead to The Rock. The views of the Acropolis at night are still amazing, even if you've been looking at it for the last week, and the atmosphere is cool. About 30-40 people sitting up on the top of the rock, most of them with a handful of beers, and someone was thoughtful enough to bring a guitar and play for everyone up there. It was a cool way to spend my last night in Athens.

The follwoing morning I headed to Thessaloniki... that in Entry 25! Hope everyone is having a great Easter Weekend.

Michael