So I dropped the ball on posting every day… but when in Greece!
First to set the scene. It’s just past midnight and I’m currently sitting on the roof of my Delphi hotel. (Above picture is from about 5 hours earlier.) I climbed out of my fifth floor window —you know one of those old, thick wooden windows that swing open and have white, billowy curtains, that in Disney movies always seem to house a signing princess?— and I’m looking out across a large valley and to the cove beyond, and everything is surrounded by mountains. I can see four separate bunches of twinkling lights representing four different small towns and there’s an acoustic concert somewhere below with what sounds like a large crowd applauding between songs. This seems like a movie and trust me I’m having a hard time believing it either, but this is very very real. I’ve been sitting, listening, and breathing it all in from this rooftop ledge for 15 minutes now and I feel like no amount of time will be enough. But okay, time to climb in so I don’t mistakenly drop my phone five stories. My bed is just right inside from the window and the moonlight shines through the skylight. This is just incredible.
So yesterday (Wednesday) we went first to Plato’s Academy which was actually more like strategically placed rocks in a field in a park where locals walk their dogs. The intention was there but the execution more just reflected my expectation in coming here that every blade of grass/rock/tree would somehow be considered holy and touched by Socrates.
After, though, we hiked the Hill of the Muses to get an incredible panoramic view of Athens. Full 360 view.
After grabbing a quick gyro for lunch (I sound like such a local, ah!) we all got on a bus and ventured down the coast to Sounio and the Temple of Poseidon. Unlike most of the temples located in Athens, the Temple of Poseidon sits at the southern-most tip of the peninsula.Just before sunset, the sun shown through the clouds and reflected on the Aegean Sea in the most spectacular way. I’m not a very religious person but there simply had to have been something going on there.
After sunset, we drove back to Athens and had another long ten-course dinner and afterwards, our professors treated us all to a beer at a trendy new bar called Six Dogs. Mason jars, canopy lights, and good vibes all around. It was the perfect way to end our last night in Athens.
Thursday – This morning we got up and immediately got on the bus to drive to Delphi. It’s a 5 hour drive so we stopped along the way in an adorable little town whose name I can’t pronounce to get coffee. The bus could only drive to the outskirts of the city so we had to walk most of the way to the city center. Locals stood out on their balconies and came out of their shops to watch us 20-something Americans take over their little town. After about 15 minutes of walking the cobblestones and occasionally having to make room for a motorcycle to go by, we came upon a gorgeous river that clearly was the backbone of the small community. With large trees whose roots intertwined with its old brick walls, thin bridges made completely out of stone, and clear blue-green water leading to small waterfalls and water mills, this town really was amazing. And to think how easy it would have been to just drive right by.
Then we got back on the bus and continued our drive to Delphi. We made one more stop along the way to have a picnic lunch where the ancient roads to Thebes and Delphi intersected. Bagels with turkey, tomatoes, and feta and white wine and olives with the mountains as a backdrop.
When we finally made it to Delphi, the only thing the town really had going for it was the landscape. Each of the little balconies and cafes was tucked into the mountain side and had an absolutely gorgeous view of the valley and water below. The Temple of Apollo, which put Delphi on the map as “the center of the earth” was no exception.
Our museum tour was led by an elderly Greek woman whose chrome sunglasses and a bedazzled sun visor somehow perfectly complemented her deep raspy voice brought on from years of smoking. In true Greek fashion, she was a wonderful storyteller, but the tour lasted nearly 3 hours. By the end, we were all struggling to remain standing. Even our professors had to take a break afterwards.
Dinner was another experience entirely. We had an entire event center to ourselves and a DJ who couldn’t speak English was playing 90s and early 2000s top 50. We were all laughing so hard that we ended the night middle school dance style, dropping low to Apple Bottom Jeans. Delphi was quite the trip.
Getting up early tomorrow to drive back towards Athens to the towns of Mycenae and Napflio.