Greece 2017: Day 3
Saturday was our day trip to Delphi. This is absolutely a must-do if you are in Athens. It is a bit of a drive, but worth every bit of it. What was worth every bit of it was also hiring a private driver, especially since we had the kids with us. We used John’s Athens Taxi for all of our private drives, and he was amazing. He is Greek, but he was a taxi driver in New York City for 15 years before coming back to Greece to start his driving/tour company.
There are several companies that offer private driving tours. The drivers are not official tour guides so they cannot follow you into a site and guide you through, but they give you really great information along the way, so you are ready to visit the site you are visiting. It was nice because we rode in a nice air-conditioned van, and the kids had car seats. We also got to stop for a quick bite to eat and to use the restrooms on the way. On the road to the sites, John gave us background information and we watched some short videos about the area.
Our first stop was a monastery up in the mountains. We didn’t spend a ton of time here, but even just walking through was worth it.
Our next (and main) stop was Delphi, which was considered the center of the universe at one point, so the Sanctuary of Apollo was constructed on the mountain and this is where the Oracle worked. People embarked on long journeys to get to Delphi and consult with the Oracle about a big decision. Anyone visiting the Oracle was expected to come with an offering, such as a goat, but there was no guarantee that the Oracle would even see you. Of course, there was some speculation about the work of the Oracle, as documents describe the Oracle doing things like speaking in tongues, so the Priest interpreted what she said.
The walk up the mountain begins where it would have begun for people coming to visit the Oracle.
There are a few sites along the way to the Sanctuary of Apollo, and if you keep climbing, you are able to view the theater.
The stadium, which was the site of the Pythian games, is at the very top of the mountain. It was quite a climb, but worth it for the amazing views of the countryside.
After this, we hiked back down and visited the museum on the site. Then, John drove us to the little town and we had lunch at a little restaurant with a similar view.
On the way back, John let us stop and walk down to the Temple of Athena Propena. I’ve seen this site on a lot of pictures but never knew what it was. He offered to let the kids stay in the car so we could walk down quickly and get a picture or two.
We also stopped in Arachova on the way back. Arachova is a little ski resort town with some little shops. He dropped us off on one of the shopping streets and we walked down the street, looking around until we met him at the end of it. We got to try some local honey and ended up buying a jar of it. The honey in Greece tastes so different, but it is so good!
Our drive with John was supposed to get us back at 5 pm, but because we actually took our time and enjoyed the sites, we got back really late. Fortunately, John didn’t mind because he preferred that we enjoy our day. When we got back, we opted to stop by the Theater of Dionysus, which is near the Acropolis. It’s so cool to see these ancient theaters still intact.
On the way to get food, we stopped and watched street performers. We ended up grabbing chicken souvlaki sandwiches and eating them on the rooftop terrace. There is yet another theater near the Acropolis that is still used, and you could hear the music from the opera playing while sitting out on the porch.
The day trip to Delphi is a long one, but certainly doable and worth the time. It was probably one of my favorite things we did while we were in Greece.
Check out what else we did in Greece!