Saturday, June 6, 2009

My Big Fat Greek Odyssey: Delphi

If you're going to be staying in Athens for a few days, then you have time to visit Delphi. It was one of the places that I was determined to see while in Greece. Delphi is the most sacred site in all of ancient Greece. There are many myths relating to Delphi as the center of the universe. The god Apollo took over Delphi after slaying the guardian Python that once chased the god's mother, Leto, while she was in labor with Apollo and Artemis. During winter, the god Dionysus rules over Delphi.

Delphi is the site of the famous Oracle. The Pythia priestess was possessed by the god Apollo to give out prophecies and advice to the many who sought out the counsel of the gods. Spartan King Leonidas, Alexander the Great, and some Roman emperors learned of their destiny from the Pythia. All matters of great importance in ancient Greece necessitated the consultation of the Oracle. The Pythian Games were held every four years at the site, to honor the gods and a peace was enacted across the Hellenic (Greek) world to assure the athletes would be safe and protected during the games.

Delphi is located on Mt Parnassus, a most sacred mountain in ancient Greece. It is a three hour drive west of Athens. You can take a tour bus or rent a car or use a taxi to get there. Or you can just do what the locals do and take the regional bus. That's what we did. We took the public bus from Athens to Delphi, and it was a lot easier and less expensive than the other options.

Greece Travel Tip #4

Visit the metro and bus stations to get maps and schedules of the public transport system. The public transport workers are friendly and can help you find your way to your destination. And you'll see some incredible archaeological and geological exhibits in the metro stations themselves.

To get from the Acropolis to Delphi, catch the number 24 bus across from Syntagma Square, at the National Garden (about a ten minute walk northeast of the Acropolis metro station). Ask the bus driver to take you to Terminal B at 260 Liossion Street; the drivers will let you know when you reach Terminal B, which is hidden at the end of a small street, a very short walk from where the bus will drop you off. At Terminal B, go in and buy a ticket to Delphi. Note the bus schedules. Then just wait for the next bus to Delphi. Buy your return ticket in Delphi.

The ride to Delphi is three hours, complete with a rest stop about halfway. The bus will make stops in small towns if people are getting on or off at those places. At the rest stop, I thought it was funny how everyone rushed off to smoke a cigarette, rather than use the restroom--or wash closets, as the Europeans call them.

Along the way, we passed through Boeotia, land of Thebes, Plataea, and Thespiae, ancient cities that were crucial in the history and development of Greek civilization. Narcissus is said to be from Thespiae, where the god Eros was the main deity. The Muses were said to reside there on Mt Helicon. The Sphinx of Thebes lived here as did Oedipus. Luke the Evangelist (of the New Testament) is buried at Boeotia.

The ride itself was comfortable, and I enjoyed the scenery. In fact, the scenery really became breathtaking when the bus started the climb up towards Mt Parnassus. And when we reached Delphi, the views were incredible.

You can see as far as the Gulf of Corinth.

The nymph Echo was said to have lived here. The mountain was also sacred to the god Pan. The Muses and Eros often visited the mountain.

Since the Pythia wasn't available, I thought I'd fill in for her. Who wants to know about the future? How about lucky lotto numbers? Step right up, ladies and gentlemen!

All that prophesying and advising done worn me out. Luckily, there were plenty of trees offering me shady, cool place to rest.

After a nice rest, I did some more exploring of Delphi. The site is huge! There were temples and stadiums and ruins everywhere. I spent hours hiking up the many trails, enjoying the incredible views. Some of the ancient stone paths were very slippery though, so wear comfortable shoes with good soles.

The weather was very nice--mild, cool, and dry. It wasn't quite summer yet, so no humidity. I didn't get to see all of Delphi, because the site is enormous! It was an ancient city after all. But what I did see left me very impressed, and I felt a sense of wonder and serenity, awed at the majesty of the mountain and the ruins. I could almost hear and feel the gods still walking amongst us.

I also met some nice tourists from New Zealand, Israel, and Japan. Now, the tour buses didn't arrive til after we got there using the regional buses.

I was glad we didn't take the tour bus for several reasons. One, it wasn't cost effective. A tour bus charged about 100 euros to see Delphi, and that included a boxed lunch--a sandwich, a bag of chips, a fruit, and water. Two, their time was very restricted. The tour bus arrived later and the guided tours were on a very limited schedule. The tour group only moves as fast as the slowest members, and I saw plenty of elderly people with canes lumbering along the tour. I worried they would slip and fall on the paths and break a hip or worse. Then of course, the tour guide gives a short sentence of information regarding the site, and that sentence is translated into Greek, English, Italian, French, German, Japanese, and etc til it becomes a ten minute speech! By the time the tour guide finishes talking, you only have but a very few minutes to go out on your own and explore the sight. That's not enough time to enjoy the majesty and appreciate the experience! Then, the tour bus leaves early, too!

On the other hand, if you take the regional bus, you pay less than 28 euros for a round trip, and you have a lot more time to explore at your own leisure. There are information sign posts all over Delphi to tell you about the points of interest and history. Like the Parthenon, you do pay a small entrance fee. But you also have more time to explore the modern town of Delphi and do some shopping. My favorite part, however, is finding the local restaurants that offered huge plates of delicious Greek cuisine for less than 7 euros! We found a great place that offered souvlaki--mixed grilled meat on skewers--salads and drinks. So, for about 1/3 of the price of a tour bus, you get more time to enjoy the sites and have a chance to venture into town for shopping and dining on fine cuisine.

It was quite nice looking around town, going into the shops, seeing the sights and the locals. Oh, my god! Is that Tom Cruise!?! Tom? What are you doing here?

Well, duh, he's cruising the bus station, probably Looking for a Few Good Men, with All the Right Moves, for a little Risky Business.

Tom offered me a ride in his car, but he said he'd have to sit on my lap for the both of us to fit in.

I kid! I kid! But man, is that a tiny car or what? These Greeks luv the tiny cars. I'm not saying that they're a tiny people. They're not Hobbits, that's for sure, but I was taller than most of them. I'd say they were a medium size people. Make that very well dressed, good looking, friendly medium size people.

They are very laid back. True, I've seen them yell at each other during traffic rush hour, but then they immediately settle back into easy going, friendly people. I mean, look at this girl on the bus ride back to Athens. She's just kicking back, carefree while her pussy is out on display for everyone to see!

I enjoyed the day trip to Delphi. It was a great, fun adventure figuring out the mass transit system. It was dark when we got back, but it made Athens seem so interesting with the big city lights and skyscrapers next to ancient ruins. The walk back to the hotel was quite pleasing, and we stopped at an art festival in the park on the way back to the hotel. A lot of Greeks seemed to like hanging out by the ruins, singing songs or playing their guitars, just mingling amongst friends.

I took this picture of Hadrian's Arch. I liked how the ruins seem timeless as the blur of modern cars speed by in the cool night. They say that the Oracle of Delphi no longer gives out prophecies. But I'm not so sure. I think if you pay attention, you'll notice the signs all around Greece. Looking around Athens, I saw many signs. Athens is an ancient living city, and there are monuments to it's history and signs of a great future everywhere.


  1. this gets better and better, sugar! one day, i'll get to greece. xoxox

  2. You stroked her pussy, didn't you?

    This is better than the Discovery Channel.

  3. Savannah, Greece was a fun experience, and I was really glad that I went. I'd definitely go back.

    MJ, Well, it was a very cute, playful pussy that made the bus ride enjoyable ;)

  4. I have a hankering to go back to Greece after reading that :-) Its a fantastic country for a holiday , so much history and excellent food and atmosphere . There are loads of those silly little smart cars here as well , I would fel embarrassed to drive around in one to be honest altho the smart two seater sports car looks fun. I have to say I have never seen a pussy on open display on a bus.....but I am just an innocent :-)

  5. Beast, I, too, was taken aback by her blatant display on the bus! But such is the laid back, easy going disposition of the Greeks (and most of the Europeans) I saw.

    The food was unbelievably delicious! And I was truly amazed at all the wonderful sights. I'd definitely go back to experience more of that Greek hospitality!

  6. Ah yes, the food. Gorgeous! I miss that. Mmmmmm.

    I like the small cars, they are a lot easier driving around in big cities in and they are probably more Eco friendly.

    The Greek men are pretty hot too, especially in the summer.

  7. CP, Greece spoiled me; now when we go out to what used to be my fave restaurants, I complain about how food in Greece was sooo much better--while my companions roll their eyes :)

    I like having a car big enough to sleep in; I've done that a few times on road trips.

    And of course the Greek men are hot in the summer; it's the sun! It's very hot that time of year ;) The women get hot, too.

  8. Congrats on figuring me out. There. THAT was your prize, lol !

  9. Heff, Ha! Well, that pic was awesome!