Day Ten (Monday)


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Europe » Greece » Central Greece » Delphi
July 3rd 2006
Published: September 24th 2006
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Kalambaka to Delphi

Even though this map indicates today's trip was around 113 miles it took us about 5 hours of driving to get there.

Snack breakSnack breakSnack break

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
Greek toiletGreek toiletGreek toilet

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
Road BlockRoad BlockRoad Block

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.

What started
The road aheadThe road aheadThe 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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Greek fashion showGreek fashion show
Greek fashion show

After another couple of hours of driving through still more twisting, winding mountain roads (I watched a couple episodes of The Office on my media player) we had to make another stop. After driving through mostly deserted mountain pastures and a smattering of little old villages, we pulled into a big parking lot with a modern building in the middle. There were signs in English, German and French indicating this was the best place in Greece for souvenirs, so of course we were interested. As soon as the bus doors opened all 50 of us headed for the bathrooms. After watching a demonstration on rug-making and listening to a sales spiel which resulted in no rug sales, they turned the group loose in the store. Although the place was probably 2000 sq. ft of sales space, I really couldn't find anything I needed or wanted. They had everything Greek you could possibly want: from olive oil to statues to postcards to pottery. Gail got a couple little things for work colleagues and the dogsitter. We (rightly) assumed that their prices were a bit inflated and that we might find better deals elsewhere. Others in our group loaded up on more junk to stuff into their bulging suitcases. These girls apparently found the fur section of the store but nobody had a spare thousand Euro to spare for these necessities.
LunchtimeLunchtime
Lunchtime

At this point in the trip it dawned on me that Jurgen was almost as much a tourist as we were. In Italy he was as comfortable as a local. He knew the language, culture, cuisine, history and customs and was an excellent tour guide. In Greece he was in less familiar territory. He was less a tour leader and more of a tour organizer. Niko made suggestions and explained many of things we were passing while Jurgen listened to Niko's ideas and made his decisions based on Niko's suggestions. Jurgen was still stuck with the ultimate responsibilities of the tour, namely seeting up dinner, the accomodations and contacting our local tour guides. He still had to listen to the minor complaints and whines of some in the group, but for the most part, he was just enjoying himself. As we left the Best Souvenirs in Greece store, Niko offered to take us to a restaurant he recommended. Even though many in the group ate at our first roadside stop, the kids were hungry again and who was I to argue. Once again I failed to note the name of the place, but it was on the main highway just outside Delphi. It almost felt like we were eating somewhere in the Poconos with all the trees surrounding the restaurant and the overcast, misty weather outside. It was here that I had the best Moussaka of the trip. The key was the honey sauce on top. To top it off I added another Mythos. By now Gail was completely on the Mythos bandwagon so I had no trouble in convincing her that we needed another round. Even though our dinners and breakfasts were covered in the tour package, we were on our own for lunch. We got out of here for under 25 Euro which was pretty reasonable considering the huge portions we got.
Hotel FedriadesHotel Fedriades
Hotel Fedriades

Soon after we finished lunch we continued into Delphi. The whole area is full of ancient columns and statues lining the road. The little town where we stayed hung to the side of a mountain overlooking the Gulf of Corinth. I took this photo just a few seconds after Naked Towel Lady yelled at me for having the audacity to bang my suitcase on the elevator door. Not the biggest room nor the coolest room but it was comfortable enough. And the there was...
...The view...The view
...The view

Stepping out on to my balcony this was the sight that greeted me. Even in a light rain the view was tremendous and I felt like I could see for miles.
Upon further examinationUpon further examination
Upon further examination

Another view from my balcony on Greece.
TylerostanesTylerostanes
Tylerostanes

We entertained ourselves in Delphi by hitting virtually every souvenir stand in town but not buying anything on the first pass through. We shopped and compared, then went back and bargained. Mike Karchner joined our Gang of Five when we entered a shop that not only sold the usual array of statues, music DVDs and jewelry but also featured these 200 Euro reproductions of Ancient Greek helmets. Tyler and I were suitably impressed but the price scared us off. That and the thought of toting one of these monsters through airport security convinced us to look on E-Bay someday when we regained our senses. Not so with Mike. He decided he had to have one. As adults and parents we kind of felt a responsibility to talk him down. We tried but I know I was unconvincing mainly because I was jealous. Mike decided to talk things over with his mom first before undertaking a debt that might take him all summer to repay.
Dinner at the EpikourosDinner at the Epikouros
Dinner at the Epikouros

After reversing our route and picking up a few more trinkets we returned to our hotels. Since we still had a few hours until our 8:00 dinner I took a nap in my steamy room. With the balcony doors and curtains open a nice breeze came through. Dinner was across the street from my hotel at the Epikouros Restaurant. I had some sort of chicken dish which was good, but not great. A couple more Mythos made the meal worthwhile.
One last shot at shopping in DelphiOne last shot at shopping in Delphi
One last shot at shopping in Delphi

After dinner we decided to do a little more window shopping. Along the route we ran into Mike who said his mother had deposited more money in his account and that it was up to him whether he should get the helmet or not. Bad idea, Mom. The money was burning a hole in his pocket as we returned to the other end of town where the helmet store stood. We brought along our Greek interpretor, Jim. Between Jim's BS'ing and Mike's firm refusal to pay no more than 150 Euro, they talked the shopkeeper down almost 50 Euro. I think he threw a little dagger in with the deal too. A pretty good deal for a rather well-made souvenir. The helmet was disaasembled and packed into a specially padded box. It would be a pain to carry around but it seemed pretty safe. At one point Gail asked if I wanted to get one. I said "no", but typing this now, I almost wish I had bought one. It would definitely be a unique conversation piece. Most of our group wanted to go the disco later but I can't handle that so-called music so Mr. Excitement went back to his room, watched a little TV and then tried to sleep.


13th April 2011
Greek toilet

I first saw squatties in Greece. I called them Greek Bombers:-))))

Tot: 2.459s; Tpl: 0.053s; cc: 25; qc: 100; dbt: 0.0853s; 2; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 1; ; mem: 1.6mb