|Subject: Trip Report Part 2 Delphi|
We were finally in a taxi, scarce on the rain slicked streets and thanks to
Don and Linda's very informative trip report from 1997 we were actually
going to the right bus station. There are two and the Adam's Family as we
affectionately referred to them, had very confidently advised us to go to
the wrong one. As the timetable they printed from the KTEL website was
dated Dec 2000, we also allowed ourselves an extra hour. The weather made
the Traffic horrendous and the bus left 35 minutes 'early' so we only just
made it in time.
The four hour drive up into the mountains is very scenic and we spent our time chatting to a fellow passenger who told us a little of the history of the area. When we stopped for the scheduled break he very discreetly pointed us in the direction of the ladies room. From the tiny bus station in Delphi we wheeled our suitcases the short distance to the Hermes Hotel. It is exactly as I imagined it from Linda's description. We made our booking via fax, as they have no e mail. A certified cheque or money order is required for the deposit at they do not accept visa. All arrangements were made with the very personable Toula Droseros and she was at the reception desk to greet us when we arrived.
The Hermes is an excellent little family owned hotel, but you would need to book ahead as they fill up every afternoon with the tour group of the day. These groups swarm in around 4.00 p.m. and depart very early the following morning. If you like to lie in on vacation, this is probably not the hotel for you, I defy anyone to sleep through the noisy excited departure of dozens of tourists their guides and their luggage. As a photographer, I don't want to lie abed on vacation and miss the early morning light, so our fellow guests were our wake up call. They serve a good continental buffet breakfast with a bottomless coffee/tea pot in a dining room deserted by 7.00am. What nicer way to start the day than to sit on the terrace and gaze down the valley to the ocean and the seaside town of Itea glinting in the distance.
After breakfast we walked to the Sanctuary of Athena and the striking tholos which must be one of the most famous scenes in all of Europe. There is no entrance fee and we wandered around until it was time for the main site to open. Situated across the road in the direction of Delphi, we were at the gate as they opened. If you are happy to explore with a guide book there is no need to take a tour. The entrance fee to the site and museum is 2000 Grd. If you are eligible for a senior's discount be sure to carry you passport.
We walked up and around the site several times, the weather was changeable the sun elusive, rain always threatening. Coach parties ebbed and flowed but it was possible to find quiet moments to sit and contemplate the glories of ancient Greece or to grab a few shots of the theatre, stadium. Temple of Apollo etc. without intruders from 21st century. During one such lull we visited the museum, which like the Acropolis Museum is very informal. I can hardly believe such treasures are displayed with little apparent security and with no high tech presentations. Young guards had their work cut out to prevent visitors touching the exhibits, so I wonder how long it will be before everything is behind bullet proof glass. The star of the museum is undoubtedly the life-size Bronze Charioteer.
By mid day parties of school children were staging an invasion and we left to further explore the very pleasant town of modern Delphi. Most tour buses visit the site and leave without ever going into town, which is a shame both for their passengers and the local people who rely on the tourist trade for a living. Late in the afternoon we took a short bus ride to the quaint town of Arahova with it's little alleys and tiny houses clinging to the sides of Mt. Parnassos.
For dinner we chose a restaurant on the main street in Delphi and planned our itinerary for the next few days. Meteora has been on both our wish lists for a number of years, it isn't easy to get to from Delphi without a car but it is possible. We toyed with the idea of taking a taxi but finally decided to take the adventure option which involved 5 buses and many hours of travel. A decision which we came to regret!