Itea 9/12 – 11/12/2015
We have used Itea as our base for visiting Delphi, because Delphi is up a mountain and we are a pair of Southern Wosses and do not like the cold. Itea is a medium sized town on the North Corithian Gulf with a harbour and long wide promenade with taverna after tavern. Behind the sea-front there is not a lot to inspire and the place is coated in a red film of dust from the nearby Bauxite mines. In addition the over-zealous ore-carrying lorry drivers make motoring more eventful than normal. All of this is a great pity as the scenery around this area is breath-taking.
We had only planned to stay here the night after visiting Delphi but on our descent back down the mountain we spotted the motorhome of Declan and Debbie. (We had seen D&D in Monevasia but failed to chat as we were having a meat feast. We did meet and speak whilst visiting Mystras in the rain). Unable to stop on the steep descent we made pointy gestures hoping they would understand we were going to the coast to overnight. Yep, the views from Delphi are immense, but this is mid-December and Tracy has not had a kebab in hours and so we needed a town. We had only been stationary for a few minutes when Declan came bounding over to join us for a pre-dinner drink. Those we had and we were advised to eat in a back-street restaurant, Short Mans, by a friendly Greek-American who had parked himself at the next table. His physique suggested he knew a bit about food so we took his advice. Unfortunately Debbie had flown back to Eire and Declan was on his own for a few days and so it was just the three of us who headed for the home of the recommended Short Man
This was a traditional Greek restaurant where there is no menu and you are shown to the kitchen where you choose your evening’s delights from a selection of pots containing food cooked sometime previously. This may not sound like haute-cuisine to some but what the vertically-challenged chef turned out was excellent. As was the friendliness of the people and the free wine and deserts. In high-ish spirits we headed around the corner to settle in for Olympiacos V Arsenal where I made it my duty to inform everyone Declan was an Arsenal fan. It was also sometime during the second-half I started calling Declan, Brendon, and to be fair still do.
By now we were a little giddy and made the excellent decision to finish the evening off with a bottle of red. The next day was not good. We didn’t do a lot and Declan had a bike ride and mini-trip to Galaxidi. That evening we had a more measured evening in Short Mans and the pub after.
Refreshed the next day we headed for Meteora and Declan towards Diakopto. Here are the photos of us at itea. Till we meet again Declan & Debbie.
Parking at Itea
Declan and me
Delphi according to the ancient Greeks is the centre of the world, personally I thought that was Piccadilly Circus while the Chinese believe it to be in The Temple of Heaven, Beijing. I suppose it doesn’t matter who is right but one thing for sure is Delphi is the most dramatic. Delphi was chosen after the God Zeus aka ‘The Daddy’ released two raptors, one to the east and another to the west, and Delphi was the point at which they met after encircling the world. This fact was represented by the navel, a dome-shaped stone that fell to Earth that stands outside Apollo’s temple and also marked the spot where Apollo killed the Python. My geography may not be the best but if ‘Zuesy’ had done this then surely the birds, being the same breed and blessed with equal flying ability, would have flown roughly the same distance and therefore would have met just off the coast of Hawaii. But as he was in charge then I suppose he could say what he wanted. Here is a picture of me giving a mighty fine impersonation of Usain Bolt at the Navel of the world, Greek style.
Delphi was the location of the Oracle situated within the temple of Apollo. The Oracle was a succession of old hags high as a kite on the noxious gases that escaped form a volcanic fissure who gave dubious advice whilst speaking in tongues. I worked for an American software company of the same name some 2500 years later and it all sounds very familiar so I guess it must be true. Delphi was at its height as a global Gypsy Rosie-Lee from the 6th to the 4th Century BC but carried on in one form or another until its final demise in the 4th Century AD.
Unlike the other ancient sites in Greece, Delphi has a real presence, you can fell the spirit of the place as you walk around. This is living history showing off its inspiring ruins set within a valley of olive and cypress trees on the slopes of Mt Parnassos overlooking from its eagle-nest position, the Gulf of Corinth.
As well as the temple of Apollo you can wander around the Agora, the treasuries of the former Greek States, the theatre and the stadium. Here are a couple of views.
Athenian Treasury and Treasure
Temple of Apollo
Theatre and Temple of Apollo
Delphi Selfie 2
It is a bit of a walk up to the stadium but that ‘special feel’ of the place keeps you going and the views are endless. It is also quite re-assuring to see that mankind has not changed that much in thousands of years as the first thing the ancient pilgrims did on their entry to Delphi was the visit the shops of the Agora to buy gifts and offerings for the Gods before their visit. Nowadays these gifts are called replica football shirts. Yep, the Acropolis maybe far more impressive as a building but as a place they will stay with you for longer, then Delphi tops it, easy.
The Stadium. Delphi rivalled the Olympics in Ancient times
We went next to the associated museum adjacent to the main site. This is a wonderful place housing some quite exquisite objects and a good hour or two can be spent looking at the ancient artefacts.
Bronze -The Charioteer
Our day at Delphi was completed by the short walk along the road to the Gymnasium and the Sanctuary of Athena. This is arguably the most striking of Delphi’s monuments. This graceful circular structure comprised 20 columns on a three stepped podium: three of which have been re-erected.
This was a great day and Delphi is a very special place. Excellent.
Delphi from the Sanctuary of Athena
Sanctuary of Athena
Tracy and Ancient Greek Cat
Love to all