50mm ISO400 1/160 f/14
More from the blog at http://greecefeb08.blogspot.com ….
Thursday already, and we’ve now moved along the coast to the port of Itea. It looks pleasant enough, but there’s no time to explore, as we’re heading straight off to Delphi. A half-hour drive took us through planted fields and farmlands sprinkled with pigs and sheep until we started climbing and arrived at Delphi about 10:00 am.
We started in the museum, viewing wonderful marble statues (the winged sphinx was particularly impressive) and other artefacts in gold. Our guide Elektra (I’m beginning to detect a pattern here) was amusing, articulate and informed in her presentations. She gave us a fascinating explanation of how the burial process had allowed these artefacts to escape the looting which has bedevilled so many archaeological sites. However, the museum could do with more seats – it’s difficult to be a culture vulture when your legs are aching!
Armed with loads of information, myths and tall tales, we set off along the base of the mound that acts a plinth for the shrine of Delphi. An impressive, if somewhat steep climb took us past the walls where long-gone statues of thanks were once left after successful consultations with the Oracle. We passed empty treasury boxes before arriving at a fine reconstruction of a treasury, mostly done by French archaeologists in the 19th century.
The amazing vistas from the hillside make it clear why the ancients chose this site as to holy of holies. According to legend, Zeus sent two eagles flying round the world, one heading East and the other heading West. The place where they met was Delphi (meaning “from the womb”), which was therefore considered to be the centre of the world and the womb of civilisation, from which the Greek people emerged. We didn’t manage the final climb up to the theatre, but we didn’t feel that we’d missed out because of the wonderful visit we’d had. Our view seemed to be more than shared by our travelling companions.
I realise that words like wonderful, amazing and fabulous keep cropping up in these posts, but there as so many situations where they seem deserved. The guides on these trips have been informed and enthusiastic about their subjects, making the sites come alive. The awareness-raising process gives one an added zest for living in general an not just for the moment.
On our return to Itea we went along with a dozen or so of our companions for a family-type meal at one of the seafront tavernas. We shared a wonderful selection of typical dishes and enjoyed chatting about our experiences so far. (Karmanie)