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Published: September 24th 2006
Greece doesn't seem to have the same pit stop requirements for bus drivers that Italy has, but after a few hours Niko did pull over at a nice roadside service station/restaurant. Little Billy and Bob chowed down on some cafeteria sandwiches while off to the right Mike does what he does best - eat mass quantities. I had a Coke. I spent a long time trying to decide what food item I might want to take for the road but settled on pistachios because Gail wouldn't allow me to buy the local honey to take home. She maintained that their honey was the same as ours. Oh well, one less thing to lug home.
It looks like the Greeks know a little something about breakfast. I was one of the first to go down for breakfast this morning. I got up a little earlier than our 7:30 wake-up call because I planned on being at Lidl at 8:00 when they opened. We were expected on the bus at 8:00. Our hotel breakfast had the usual cereals, milk and fruit, but today we had real orange juice, yoghurt, rolls and cold cuts. Best of all, there were hard-boiled eggs. Being one of the first at breakfast I was able to enjoy two eggs and two rolls stuffed with salami and cheese.
Gail and her mother weren't at breakfast yet so I prepared to go to Lidl with Tyler. As I was leaving the hotel Jimbo decided to tag along. We got to Lidl just as they opened. I was almost overwhelmed with all the choices I had to make. My primary concern was getting stuff that wouldn't spoil during the next week and in finding room for it in my suitcase. I was already way over the weight limit with my bag. Fortunately I had packed an extra duffel for my dirty clothes. I could
Thank God I didn't have to use the convenience. I've seen these same toilets in some of the more rustic areas of Italy. It certainly doesn't look like it would be very sanitary or comfortable.
fill that with souvenirs.
My favorite Lidl item is their "Mini Cocos" candy. It's basically a miniature Almond Joy without the almond - delicious. I bought 4 bags of them for less than two Euro a bag. I also bought a big jar of Nutella, a bottle of local olive oil, sandwich meat for the next hotel offering a crummy breakfast, and a bottle of cherry liquer. Tyler found a block of Feta cheese that he eventually smuggled back home. Jimbo bought a couple bottles of olive oil.
We made it back to the hotel and Niko's awaiting bus with plenty of time to spare. We then began a rather lengthy drive to Delphi. The scenery leaving Kalambaka was pretty interesting at first. There was a lot of green pastures and small towns. The road started off as a rather straight two lane highway. At one point we passed through a town where we spotted a couple huge nests on top of some of the chimneys. It seems this was a nesting area for storks. Shortly after passing this town we found ourselves on another narrow twisting road up into the mountains.
When we eventually reached Delphi
After lunch at the service area we left the two lane highway and took a narrow mountain road through some rustic villages. At one point Niko made Jurgen get off the bus to make sure our long bus could negotiate a rather tight turn that then led to a much steeper incline. As soon as Jurgen reboarded and had gone just a few hundred yards we ran into construction vehicles blocking our way. After sitting there a few minutes Niko got out and began arguing with the construction workers. These Greeks must not have been descndents of Socrates, Plato or Aristotle because they had a heck of a time figuring out how to move their equipment to let us pass. Instead of moving that big red truck out of the way, we had to sit on the bus while the backhoe operator removed a pile of gravel just to the left.
Also note the sign just above the bus door - this was the list of items banned on the bus.
it was mid-afternoon. We checked into our hotel, Hotel Parnassos
. The other guys and I were given rooms in a smaller hotel a couple doors down from the Parnassos. This was the Hotel Fedriades
. We had to take an elevator up to our rooms. I was the only one getting off on the third floor. As I exited the elevator I had to struggle with my suitcase which now weighed close to 80 lbs. Then I fumbled around for my key. Suddenly some woman in a towel, just a towel, comes toward me and starts yelling at me for making too much noise. And this is at 3:00 in the afternoon! I learned that she also went down to the second floor and yelled at roommates Jim and Bob for the same thing. Once I walked into my room I forgot all about that wackjob Greek lady. On the opposite side of my room was a sliding glass door that led to a balcony. On the balcony I could look out over the mountainside to the valley and Gulf of Corinth far below. The view was spectacular. Of course my room was hot and stuffy again with no a/c.
The road ahead
Once again we were headed through the mountains on a serpentine roadway. In order to reach Delphi we would have to go up this series of switchbacks.
as a partly cloudy morning turned to an overcast noon and finally into a misting late afternoon. We were given free time to explore Delphi's two streets. It was absolutely perfect for souvenir shopping. Our usual Gang of Five strolled up Frederikis Street checking out the merchants' wares. Virtually every store in town catered to the tourists and there was plenty to explore. Because of the abundance of tacky souvenir shops and the lack of other tourists that day we were able to shop and compare prices for similar items at different shops. Again Gail was able to negotiate better prices on a couple of the things she bought.
Check our route for the day: July 3rd
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