Wednesday, 18 May 2011

On the road to Athens - via Delpi

While walking home from dinner last night we came across a photographer and a few more in the entourage taking photos of a gorgeous very long legged young model. Brent's guess was that she was well over 6 ft. and most of that was legs! We exchanged pleasantries and as we turned into the hotel one of the woman in the group introduced herself as Chrisoula, the owner of our hotel. Jeffery (the Rough Guide man) had told us she was a lovely woman and so she was. She said she would see us at breakfast and then told us that her husband makes the bread that we would be served (they also own the village bakery) and she makes all the preserves that we would have at breakfast.

 We were keen to get an early start the next day as we wanted to make sure we had plenty of time to stop in Delphi, get to Athens and negotiate the traffic to find the rental car company drop off. Our confidence in GPS lady was not high and as it turned out our cautiousness was justified.

Breakfast was a gastronomical delight. Brent even had olive paste on lemon cake! We were served fresh fruit and freshly squeezed orange juice. The 8 different types of bread was freshly baked and deliciously warm and crusty. There was lemon cake, ham, cheese and plates of apricot chutney, hummus, olive paste, lemon curd, plum jam, fig jam and marmalade.

Over breakfast Chrisoula told us that the model being photographed was Miss Sweden and that they were staying in our hotel.The bread at breakfast was to die for and we stopped at the bakery on the way out of Galaxidi to get some morsels for lunch.

As we left for Delphi the GPS lady was stumped as even in this little village of Galaxidi one way streets rule. We guess that is because they are so tiny, mostly alley ways and two vehicles just would not fit. The exceptions of course are scooters ....they seem to go every which way, footpaths helmets....just crazy.

Delphi perches high up on a mountain side and the 30 mins drive from Galaxidi was stunning as we wound our way up the mountain side. We had planned to stay in Delphi and were pleased that we had run into Jeffery as Galaxidi was a little gem and much much nicer than Delphi.

The Archaeological Museum with its displays of both local and national antiquities did not open till 11 am (Monday is the day when most museums go dark!))

This gave us enough time to explore the archaeological site right next door as it has considerable significance as an ancient Greek religious site.  Like many of the must see things in Greece they involve significant climbs up hillsides and steps, usually many of them. The steps and ramps were particularly slippery probably due to the significant amount of tourists that have climbed these slopes. It was quite hard work in the blazing sun but well worth the effort and I was thankful I am doing this trip in my 50's and not my 60's or 70's.

At the very top is the Stadium (200 metres track) where the Pythian Games (predecessor to Olympic Games) were held in honour of the Greek God Apollo and this dates back to 6th Cent. BC.

I have to continually pinch myself when I am standing amidst such historically significant places as we walk back down past the Temple of Apollo and another large amphitheatre.

The Temple of Apollo and its oracle became the reason why the ancients would visit to seek divine advice on matters of relative importance depending on their rank, from Kings with their questions regarding wars and other matters of state to commoners with their domestic problems. The sanctuary was built up by votive offerings from those seeking guidance. There are numerous treasuries on the path leading to the Temple, the most impressive of these being the Treasury of the Athenians.

Onwards to Athens and 3 tolls at bridges later and twice around a roundabout GPS lady directed us to the address of the car rental company.....only it wasn't. Brent had done an amazing job of driving on the roads ...stressful for him but I think he secretly enjoys it. When he asked me where we were and I said I did not know....that was not the right answer! ......but it was the truth.  By this time was ticking by and we needed to get to the drop off by 4pm. It took us another 30 mins to finally work out that the map we had and the GPS maps called the same street, ave, or road two different things... hence the confusion. We were only 13km off course! Very stressful....but probably less than 10 blasts on the car horn the whole 5 days we were away was pretty good. I think Brent practised the Greek language when that happened.

The rental people kindly dropped us back to our hotel and unfortunately this hotel is on a busy street and is very noisy. We decided to do a reconnaissance for our travel via metro for our international flight tomorrow to Turkey. Athens have done well out of the 2004 Games and the train service is relatively cheap at 14 E for us both one way to the airport. We need to get the first metro train of the morning at 5.37am! And then a connecting one to the airport hence the practice runs to the connecting station. Hopefully Athens traffic is still asleep then.

Once we sorted the various platforms, escalators and more displays of the finds following the metro excavations we   wandered around Syntagma Square. There is still a huge police presence here following the recent unrest and right by our hotel is the shell of a freshly burnt out street vendors stall.

We dined in the Plaka area and took some amazing photos of the Acropolis.....again. It’s hard to resist this awesome structure.

1 comment:

  1. I can tell you are having a marvellous time. Make the most of everything that is there to see. I'm sure you will want to travel to Europe again.
    Just a thought, when you insert the pictures, click them and you can place them left or right. That way the words will wrap arround them