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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Delphi (Δελφοί), old and new.

9:38 pm EET

Today was yet one more long day on the road. I took another day tour (with the same company), but to Delphi this time. The two state representatives (Kenny and Jay) from yesterday were on this tour, too, so it was good to see some familiar faces.

We drove for a couple hours before stopping at a café in a small town near Thebes (so many Oedipus jokes; holy crap) where I got some coffee and a couple pieces of baklava for later. We continued onward in the rain, hoping that it would clear before we got to Delphi. The rain stopped, but then the fog rolled in; driving through the mountains toward Mount Parnassus (I was thoroughly excited; so much mythology surrounds the mountain!!) was absolutely terrifying--I could barely see the road in front of the bus!

When we finally arrived, we got our tickets for the museum and archaeological site and went off to explore. The location itself high in the mountains was beautiful enough, but coupling that with the aura of history that permeates the site was almost overwhelming. The remnants of the Treasury of the Athenians, the Temple of Apollo, and the amphitheatre were gorgeous, and it was incredible to think that everyone from common, everyday pilgrims to the most powerful of kings came to this very place to consult the Oracle (or, "virgin tripping on ethylene and bay leaves babbling complete and utter nonsense").

After hanging around the ruins for a while, we moved on to the Delphi museum. All of the statues and relics discovered at the site are kept at the museum. The stuff they had was amazing! Most of what the tour guide was describing I already knew, but actually seeing the sculptures and friezes that I'd only before seen in books was an awesome experience.

From the museum we drove into the modern mountain town of Delphi for lunch at a hotel for skiers visiting Mount Parnassus. It seemed as though no one else was there; the only people in the dining room was our tour group. Lunch was good; pretty much the same as what we had on the tour yesterday. I sat with Kenny and Jay and we had a nice time chatting over lunch. Once we'd finished, we drove to the tiny town of Arachova in the mountains to do a little shopping. I bought a rather inexpensive woven bag with the Parthenon on it (I needed a small bag, haha); the shop owner said that it was locally made, so I'm happy.

Driving back wasn't so bad. It didn't take nearly as long as the trip yesterday, but that's because most of the traffic was gone or managed. I've had dinner and eaten my baklava (so delicious!!) and now I'm just hanging out in the hostel's kitchen/social room watching a movie. I still feel awful, but not as bad as yesterday or this afternoon. I certainly hope I'll feel better tomorrow... at least I get to sleep in for the first time in days. I don't really have a plan for tomorrow, but I'm thinking the Temple of Zeus (it's right across the street) and taking a walk around Syntagma Square. But plans can change, of course. If it rains again, maybe I'll just spend a day inside recuperating! There's nothing wrong with taking a day off to sleep all day... right?

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