Published: November 21st 2011July 31st 2011
Today the plan is to head straight to Delphi before it gets too hot out and then make our way north to Mikrokastro. Got up at 8am, packed up the few things we brought in and had some breakfast at the hotel. The ancient site of Delphi was literally just around the corner from the village of Delphi and we were there in just a few minutes. It was still very early but the parking in from of the museum was already full so we grabbed a spot on the edge of the road.
We decided we should see the site first and then see the museum while it was still relatively cool out. We tried to buy water, but all they had was sparkling water at the snack bar. Luckily we had some water in the car and Steve ran back to get it. There were several cute cats lounging around in the shade by the museum that I noticed while we waited for Steve. The site is big and goes straight up the mountainside of Mount Parnassus.
We got our tickets and began the climb up the steep hill. First you walk up past some of the
treasury buildings the city states built. The Athenian Treasury has been reconstructed to give an idea what a building might have looked like back in the day. Apparently a city would bring offerings to Delphi and keep them in their treasury; statues, pottery, gold. Just past the first treasuries is the rock of the Sybil, where the first Oracle made her prophecies, which started the tradition of Delphi as a place to go to be in the know.
The legend of Delphi is that Zeus wanted to locate the center of the world so he released two doves, and their paths crossed at Delphi, which made it the center of the world. The way it worked later was that a priestess would sit on a tripod over a crack in the earth from which some sort of vapor wafted and would go into a trance. According to accounts, she would speak gibberish in the trance which the priests would "translate" into enigmatical verse for the asker of the question. A tripod, as we discovered in the museum, basically looks like a cauldron set on a three sticks, and does not look comfortable for sitting.
We walked by the Polygonal
Wall that supports the Temple of Apollo. The temple of Apollo is the most important building in the sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi and it dominates the site from its central position. This is where the statues and other offerings to the god were kept, and where the cult rituals took place. We passed by the theater, which holds 5,000 spectators, and wanted to take some photos there, but some tour guides had decided that it was a great place to have a long conversation amongst themselves. Eventually made our way up to the Roman Stadium and discovered that they changed it since the last time we were here. Before you could enter the stadium and walk around and now you can only look in from the pathway alongside it. I’m glad Steve and I were here before and had the chance to walk around inside. It was much, much easier going down the hill than coming up!! But still it took some time because of how steep it is.
We went in the museum next and it was a bit crowded with tour groups and what looked like groups of high school kids but it was nice and
cool inside which was awesome after sweltering climbing up the mountain. After 3 or 4 rooms, Steve decided to go out to the car and get the wide angle lens for my dSLR and went back around and took photos of pretty much all of the exhibits! Photography is allowed at this museum but not with a flash. The museum people had to keep yelling at tourists to stop using their flashes. And it was the same offenders over and over.
Rachel and I finished looking around the museum and went out to the snack shop to get slushies and some pitas for a snack while we waited for Steve who was still inside taking photos. The museum kitties immediately spotted our food and came over to check out the situation. I held out a piece of my ham and cheese and one of the cars ripped it out of my hand with its ninja sharp claws, ouch!! I decided I should wash my wounds quickly with lots of soap. There was also a very pregnant momma kitty we made sure got something to eat too.
We got going around 1-1:30pm to Mikrokastro. The GPS wanted us to
turn off in Parnassus and I missed the turn, but Steve wanted to try to go back to the main highway anyway so we kept going against the GPS’s orders. Eventually however we gave in to the GPS’s demands and turned off. We ended up on some of the steepest and twistiest roads I’ve ever seen! Steve and I switched off driving somewhere around Trikala and he drove all the way from there to the village. We passed through Grevena along the way and waved to Papous.
We got to Mikrokastro between 6:30-7:00pm. It’s very different now that the highway is completed and the exit brings you pretty much straight into the village. It’s so much easier! We met the woman who had the key to Theo Taki’s house and she came over with us and showed us all the renovations. This house used to be Steve’s maternal Papous and Yiayia’s. It was strange since the last time we were here in 2007 they were both still alive. Yiayia passed away in August 2007 about 2 months after we were here and Papous passed away in January 2009.
So Theo Taki (who is the eldest of their children)
owns the house now and has done extensive renovations to the first floor. He installed a spiral staircase to the second floor so now you don’t have to go outside to go downstairs to use the bathroom from the upstairs bedrooms. He also installed a completely new kitchen, appliances and a water heater and all new plumbing and electrical. It came out beautiful. There are new front and back doors and windows with screens downstairs. He also did a lot of clean up in the yard too Oh and he added A/C upstairs!!
We went over to Theo Thanasi’s and Thea Dina’s house, they are the parents of Stergios, Steve’s cousin, who passed away suddenly at the age of 31 on September 2, 2010. I met Stergios in 2007 when we stayed in Pefkohori with Alice, Magda, Susie and Steve B. Dina and her daughter Roula made us grilled cheese and pizza as we were starving. Steve talked with his uncle and aunt about Stergios and we looked at photos of him. It was pretty emotional.
Papadia and Papa (Steve’s aunt and uncle who are Magda’s sister and her husband who is a priest) also came by and
Steve’s cousin Gioulis (a nickname, I think his real name is also Steve). It started to pour and thunder and lightning. Papadia and Papa left and we all crowded under the awning but eventually we went back to the house. I transferred some more photos and Gioulis came by to visit more with Steve. Then sleep!!
There are more photos below