Monday, March 30, 2009

Ancient Delphi & Meteora

Another road trip had us heading deeper into the mainland of Greece this weekend. Our destinations were ancient Delphi and Meteora.

We left Athens on Friday after the team got off work and arrived at Arahova in a few hours. Arahova is a skiing village very close to Delphi and promised to have nicer hotels and a better choice of restaurants and bars. Our hotel was really cute and the owners couldn't have been nicer. The one who spoke English made us reservations at his favorite restaurant and gave us some late night recommendations. The restaurant was wonderful (see food blog) and the bar, well we could have skipped the bar. It was a late night.

Morning arrived a little too early for me but it was a beautiful day out and we drove the short distance to ancient Delphi after breakfast.

Delphi was of incredible spiritual importance in ancient Greece. It was thought that when Zeus released the two eagles from opposite sides of the world it was here that they met, thus the center of the world. It was here that Apollo defeated the python that guarded the Oracle and where the python's body was said to send up vapors as it decayed. These vapors were used by the Oracles to speak the word of Apollo. These Oracles (women over the age of 50, usually peasants picked from local areas) were consulted by all leaders on all matters.

It was also here that every 4 years athletic games were held here to celebrate Apollo's victory over the python. These Pythian Games predated the ancient Olympics Games.

The ruins were really impressive and we spent about 4 hours hiking up and down the flower covered hills.

After this we had a long and very curvy drive to Meteora. Tired from the 3 hour drive we had an early dinner with hoards of senior citizens on a tour group at the hotel's restaurant and headed to bed for an early morning of sight-seeing.

Meteora has 6 or so monasteries that were built on top of isolated rock formations. Not only are they impressive from the outside but also held incredible treasures and paintings from the Greek Orthodox monks that lived there. Truly amazing...

Our drive back on Sunday was long but completely worth it. Once again, Greece dazzled us with its rugged natural beauty and drew us in with its long and rich history.

Next weekend we hit the islands!


ablackwelder said...

that's awesome and beautiful! Thanks, too, for the history.....really, that makes the pictures more meaningful!

MAV said...

i need to do a post just on meteora...i kinda got lazy and it is really an amazing place.