Another early start saw us having a breakfast at our hotel before setting off through the village and down the hill towards the world-famous UNESCO World Heritage Site of Delphi, our second in two days after Meteora, and soon to be followed by a third the next day.
Delphi is most famous of course as being the site of the Delphic Oracle, where the god Apollo would speak through the Pythia, or priestess, chosen from among the people of the area: his oracle. The site of the first oracle is marked to this day by a large stone and the site of Delphi itself was most closely associated with Apollo and the Pythian Games held every four years at the large stadium overlooking the whole site.
Most of the ruins still visible today date from the 6th century BCE including the Temple of Apollo although this was rebuilt in the 4th century BCE. Among the more intact buildings are the Treasury of the Athenians and the stadium although remains of most of the historically significant buildings are everywhere.
Various shots of the stunning ruins of ancient Delphi.
After this we went down to another site slightly further down the hill from the main site dedicated to Athena Pronoia which travellers approaching Delphi would have encountered first on their way to Delphi. This site also contains some remains of the gymnasium, used by the young people of Delphi and from which the Temple of Apollo can be seen standing out on the hillside above.
Having visited both sites it was time to return to the village. We spotted a small restaurant seemingly frequented by locals and stashing this in the memory banks went for a wander around some of the back streets of the village coming across a lovely Orthodox church before returning to the restaurant for some late lunch.
Having had the best food of our entire holiday – a local chicken and bean speciality for me and a lamb dish for Mrs M – it was, sadly, time to leave Delphi and head to the Greek capital, Athens. Our bus arrived on time and we were soon winding through the mountains again, through the next village before descending into some gentler, hilly country before hitting the main motorway into the city.
Coming into the city through a mixture of affluent suburbs, industrial areas and nondescript apartment blocks we arrived at a bus station seemingly randomly located nowhere special at all. Taxi time again. A fairly short journey of around two kilometres brought us to our hotel which turned out to be the worst of the entire trip. Dingy and dirty it wasn’t exactly what we were looking for but it was fairly central even though it was located in a run-down, graffiti-strewn district which didn’t give us a good impression of Athens.
Getting out again as quickly as possible we walked through some dingy, grafittied streets before finding a bank and hitting a bar located in a square around a kilometre from the hotel. Although quite expensive the place itself was lovely and we enjoyed a couple of drinks there before deciding to go back to the hotel for an early night which turned into a late night for me as I purchased several bottles of Mythos and found an English language movie on the hotel TV. Tomorrow we would be exploring Athens and heading for the Acropolis and our third World Heritage Site in as many days.