We flew into Athens, Greece yesterday and spent the afternoon resting. Today we take a bus tour to Delphi, Greece. We head north out of Athens on a multi-lane divided highway winding its way through hills covered with pine trees with occasional white stone outcroppings. We pass the city of Marathon where the idea of a running a marathon came about when a man ran from Olympic??????????
After about 2 hours, we stop for a short break. The snack shop has a lovely setting among pines trees but we will remember them best for the huge donut and cinnamon roll we enjoyed there. As we make our way up into the foothills, we pass orchards of pistachios and olives. It is nice to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. The bus winds through the narrow streets of the town of Delphi, a ski town with quaint shops and restaurants. Finally, we arrive at the ancient Delphi ruins known as the Sanctuary of Apollo.
The Sanctuary of Apollo extends over a series of terraces in the foothills of Mount Parnassos, between two enormous rocks called the Phaidriades. For many centuries, this was the religious and spiritual center of the ancient Greek world. According to tradition, Delphi was the geographical center of the world, the omphalos (naval), meeting point of two eagles dispatched by Zeus from the ends of the universe to find the center of the world. The first traces of inhabitation in the region of Delphi go back to the 14th – 11th century BC. At this period, the main deity worshipped at the small settlement was Ge (Earth). In the 11th – 9th century BC, the cult of Apollo became established at Delphi, when the god installed himself there, having first killed the python snake that guarded the oracle of Ge.
From the 6th century BC – 2nd century AD, the formal procedure for the functioning of the oracle acquired its final form. Worshippers and theopropoi (public messengers sent to inquire of an oracle) flocked from all over the ancient world to seek the advice of the god and an oracle whenever they were about to make a serious decision or take an initiative. They purified themselves in the Kastalia spring, paid the pelanos (a set tribute) and sacrificed an animal on the altar of Apollo. The god’s oracles were uttered by the Pythia, the priestess of the shrine, and were interpreted by the priests of Apollo.
We follow the Sacred Way pass the ruins of various treasuries, the temple of Apollo and the theater. After our visit to the ruins, we stop at a local restaurant for a traditional Greek meal.