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Published: October 7th 2010
Total days: 25 Day 1: Athens - Malakanda via Kymi
Total distance: 3672 km's
Campsites stayed at: 12
Longest day: Korinthos to Thessaloniki -> 715km
Sept.7 Drove 320km
We picked our car up at noon from Avis. We got lucky and they bumped us up from the Toyota Yaris to the Ford Focus level (extra trunk space) for free. We wound up with a lovely Opel Astra. After a quick check of the car and dumping our bags in the back we were off.
Driving through Athens wasn't too bad; we hopped onto one of the highways that run through the city and headed for our first destination, the island of Evia, just east of Athens. Our plan for Evia was to head for the east coast in search of a small town called Kymi, the man at our reception desk in Athens told us there was beautiful camping there, most likely free.
Of course we got lost!! We wound up in some small shanty town by the beach after driving down a teeny hair-pin turn road along some death defyingly steep cliffs. We took a dirt road to nowhere, turned around
after much discussion about the positives and negatives of turning around and headed back to the first campground we had seen on the other side of the island. We then got lost again trying to find the other side of the island and wound up getting in at 11 and setting our new tent up for the first time in the dark. Day 2: Malakanda - Rovies (the long way)
Sept.8 Drove 206km
We drove around the northern part of the island in 4 hours. We actually prepared this time and bought some food stuff in Halkida so we wouldn't starve if we got lost, unlike the night before. The drive was beautiful on some very windy roads, with views of the ocean, fields and some quaint little towns all mixed together. We camped just outside the teeny town of Rovies right by the water. We set up and still had some daylight left so we decided to check out Limni, the 'big' town nearby. It turns out it was a holiday in town, celebrating the patron saint of the city, so pretty much everything was closed; we did manage to find a small cafe and
stocked up on wine and pastries for the night. Day 3: Rovies
Sept.9 Drove 31km
We decided to spend a day relaxing by the water and swimming in the beautiful Mediterranean Sea. Morning dip in the ocean and a quick visit to Limni, where everything was open, we stocked up and found a little cooler to store meats and cheeses in. We spent the rest of the day soaking up the sun, swimming and reading. Day 4: Rovies - Delphi
Sept.10 Drove 250km
We left Rovies relatively early as we weren't sure how long it would take to get to Delphi, and wanted to have extra time in case we got lost again, which we did. The drive to Delphi felt very unique with the dramatic mountains and quaint little villages hanging off the sides of the steep cliffs. Delphi was a beautiful little town perched on the cliffs of Mt. Parnassus overlooking miles of Olive groves and the Gulf of Korinthos. We had a rather noisy night as the restaurant at our campground seemed like party central. Day 5: Ancient Delphi - Olympia
Sept.11 Drove 252km
packed up early the next morning and headed back through town to ancient Delphi which was amazing. There was a sanctuary of Apollo which housed a very important Oracle in ancient times. There was also a theatre and a stadium on the hills behind the temple, across the street was a gymnasium where sprinters would practice, as well as a very impressive museum housing many sculptures and carvings found in the area.
It was interesting to visit what was once such an important town. Delphi was once thought to be the "Naval of the world", in other words the center of the world. If was said that Zeus released two eagles at opposite ends of the earth, and they met in ancient Delphi.
The oracle in Delphi was the reason the city was famous so long ago. There were many oracles in Ancient Greece, but the Delphic oracle was the most powerful. When consulted for advice she would inhale the intoxicating fumes near the entrance to a chasm and go into a trance like state where she would give answers of the future translated into verse by a priest.
We watched a show on 5 of the
quaint town of Arahova
just outside of Delphi
great wonders of Greece a few days after seeing the ancient city, where they explained the oracle at Delphi and how they were able to have visions of what the future would hold. It went like this, a long time ago when the area of the temples was nothing more than a field for grazing sheep, a Sheppard had an experience in which his sheep started talking about mystical things, the ancients caught on and realized this must be a special spot with which paying customers could receive advise on the future. To go to war, get married or begin a great journey, all were able to find their answers here. In modern times a study was done to explore how the ancients were able to receive these visions and it was found that an intoxicating gas was being emitted from a stream, and when one inhaled this gas they were put into a hallucinogenic state. What was such a grand city and grounds of worship came from someone getting high off some gas in a stream.
After a quick lunch we headed off on the very scenic drive to Olympia, although we both missed most of the views
as Scott was driving and I was busy planning out the next few days for maximum coverage in a short amount of time. We found a cute little camp site where most of the tent spots were accessible only by foot and went on forever. Tomorrow, the amazing ruins of Olympus!!
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