*** Not much food in this one. you can come back tomorrow and hopefully I'll have somthing a bit more delicious for you.....
The Missus really wanted to get to Meteora during our trip to Greece, but there seemed to be only a short two day window to fit a trip. The only way we could make it was to take a bus tour.....as you probably know by now, this really isn't our preferred way of getting to places, but sometimes you just can't avoid it. Which is how we ended up on a pretty long bus ride......for some reason, we find this more exhausting than say.....hiking the Great Wall from Jinshalang to Simitai. The sitting just sucks the energy out of us.
Anyway, we ended up with quite an animated guide....who loved to weave stories and seemed truly excited when we stopped at the site of Delphi, probably most famous for being the home of the Pythia, the priestess of the oracle of Delphi, whose translated prophecies held great power. Of course, there are those in modern times who think it was just, well "gas".
The site itself is quite beautiful as it is located in the mountains.
Delphi was also well known for several other reasons. When the oracles of Delphi were credited with providing advice key to the victory of the Battle of Marathon, the spoils were supposedly used to create the Athenian Treasury, one of the few restored buildings on the site.
If you look past the theatre you'll see the ruins of the Temple of Apollo.
It must have been quite a building in its day......
For me, the most interesting structure was up the hill from the theatre.....
Around the 6th century BC, Delphi held the Pythian Games every four years, between the Olympic Games. Athletes from all over Greece competed in a number of events. Up that hill is the stadium, a long (about 550 ft) and fairly narrow (about 84 feet) track.
The stadium could seat up to 6500 spectators.
It's quite a sight and a worthwhile stop.....
We made our way down from the mountains and onward toward the plains of Thessaly, man the ride was getting me sleepy. Eventually we stopped on what seemed like a parking lot right off the main road. Right next to the parking lot was this monument:
This roadside stop was home to the monument to Leonidas the King of Sparta. Now does that sound familiar to you? Perhaps you've heard of him.....maybe from the movie 300. Indeed, the Battle of Thermopylae occured just a short distance away.
Looking at the topography changed by land reclamation projects and silt, it's hard to imagine what took place here 2500 years ago.
I'm thinking after the movie, most folks know about the 300 Spartans. But this monument to the side of Leonidas's also adds to the story.
It's a monument to the 700 Thespians who died alongside the Spartans in battle.
After a while, the boredom of the bus ride just seemed to be sapping all the energy out of us. Rain had started falling, which left me wondering how manageable the next day's visit to Meteora was going to be. We eventually stopped at our hotel for the night....which was a massive resort-like complex in the middle of nowhere.........
The rooms were nice, but as we figured, dinner was a buffet style chafing dish affair where everyone ate in assigned "shifts".
We actually walked out to the road to see if there was a way we'd be able to avoid this....but it was raining and there was nothing for miles.....
And as brutal as the bus ride seemed, the food was its equal.
Things could be worse.......it could be baloney sandwiches. At least it was sustenance and we knew there'd be another busy day ahead.