Greece Day 2: For the 2nd and 3rd days of Greece we booked a tour through Astoria Travels/ G.O. Tours. It would take us to Delphi and Meteora with a few stops along the way!
The tour picked us up around 8 AM and we were off with a few rest stops and got to Delphi around 10:30/11.
To the left: The Mountain of the Muses (as seen/ photographer from a moving bus. sorry for the terrible quality)
The bus ride to Delphi took us through so many gorgeous mountain passes! One of the most scenic bus rides you can take.
To the right: the town Arachova (again as seen from bus) This town is referred to as the Mykonos of Winter as it is a huge skiing town with great night life in the winter. It is also the gateway to Delphi so our bus drove us right down the middle of the VERY narrow town.
The Stadium is at the top of all the Delphi ruins and is about at 15 min. (avg) hike up from the theater. It is well worth it as I can’t imagine a stadium as scenic anywhere else! The pines surrounding as well added to the wild ambiance.
Left: Looking down from the temple onto the Athenian treasury (no roof). Unfortunately it was a super hazy day. Our guide told us the reason for the haze was from a lot of dust and sand blowing up from North Africa.
Brief history of Delphi’s origin: Zeus determined the spot when he sought to find the center of his “Grandmother Earth” (Gaia). He sent two eagles flying from the eastern and western extremities and the path of the eagles crossed over Delphi where the navel of Gaia was found. This is how Delphi came to be known as the center of worship, or even the center of the world.
(There is an actual navel stone at Delphi that is known as the navel of the world)
How the Sanctuary became dedicated to Apollo: Apollo, as an infant of only 4 days old, set off to find a place to call home which in this case he decided would be the location of Delphi. HOWEVER this spot was a sanctuary to Gaia so he shot his first arrow to slay the serpent Python, the son of Gaia, who guarded the spot. This effectively made this Apollo’s sanctuary however to atone the murder of Gaia’s son, Apollo was forced to fly and spend eight years in menial service before he could return forgiven.
Information about the Oracle: You couldn’t actually see the rooms the Oracle would’ve occupied as they were in the back of the temple below ground. The Oracle had to be older woman of blameless life chosen from among the peasants of the area. Alone in an enclosed inner sanctum she sat on a tripod seat over an opening in the earth (a chasm) where according to legend the body of Python body fell after he was slain and fumes arose from its decomposing body. Intoxicated by the vapors, the oracle would fall into a trance, allowing Apollo to possess her spirit. Priests of the temple would interpret her ravings as she prophesied.
After Delphi we stopped for lunch (at a very expensive restaurant so I only got a coke) and continued on our way toward Kalambaka. We made one more stop in Thermopyles to see the “300” monument erected there.
We got into Kalambaka for the night around 6:30.
Included in our tour price was a triple room at
the worst hotel of our trip the Kosta Famissi hotel. The beds were terrible with comforters none of us would even sit on as they just felt so grimy and unwashed and we spent the first 30-40 minutes in the room inspecting every inch of the mattress for bed bugs. None found we inspected the rest of the room where there were used Q-tips from previous occupants on the heater and some hair in the bathroom. Apart from the cleanliness issues and terrible uncomfortable mattresses, it did have a balcony with a pretty spectacular view and AC (which in Europe is always a plus) so considering the 3.5 star review.. you get what you get haha.
Kalambaka I will say is a very charming and affordable town. For dinner we went exploring and ended up at this Nom Nom place with EXCELLENT burgers and even more delicious crepes which was only $5 for both! WIN!
So budget in review:
Breakfast from a bakery in Athens: 3 euros
Lunch: 2 euros for a coke and extending the life of my snacks from home
Dinner: 5 euros
Tour cost pp including all bus transportation, AMAZING guide, entry to Delphi & Meteora, and hotel 125 euros pp
Total cost for day: 135