Since Jun 2017
Historic Sites, Ancient Ruins, Sacred & Religious Sites
Ancient Ruins, Points of Interest & Landmarks, Historic Sites, Arenas & Stadiums
Piers & Boardwalks
The Temple of Apollo at ancient Delphi is arguably the most important historical site in Greece. It dates back to as early as 548 B.C. and was home to the Oracle, a High Priestess known as Pythia who prophesized the will of the god to the people. The most interesting part of the learning experience for me was hearing from our guide. She told us that prophets would collect information for hours from the individual about their homeland, job, current situation in their region, and so on. Then they would collate all of this data and ultimately they created a large database, which enabled them to make informed decisions. After exploring the Temple of Apollo for several hours we wandered into the museum. Here the finer details of the temples have been preserved. The intricate ornaments that once adorned the temples can be seen on the walls of the museum. I struggled to wrap my head around the good condition of some of the relics, which are thousands of years old.
I had also used TripAdvisor to book a day tour to Delphi from Athens. It took just over two hours to get to Delphi, and along the way we enjoyed a guided tour through the bus windows thanks to our knowledgeable guide.
Our final stop was a short drive to Tholos of Delphi, a structure that has perplexed historians for years due to its circular shape. I remember looking up at this temple in disbelief. How was this constructed thousands of years ago in such great detail? It made me feel like a speck on an incredibly long timeline of our existence. Delphi is a historian’s paradise and a mind-blowing experience. Unlike a standard museum, you are able to walk the same paths people used thousands of years ago. That is special and a feeling I will never forget.
For the next part of my trip, I stayed at the Pallas Athena Grecotel Boutique, which I booked on TripAdvisor. I stayed in one of the “graffiti rooms,” and as I opened my door a sea of red walls enveloped me before I noticed the details. Trees and woodlands covered the walls in a forest wonderland. A small balcony looked out over the neighboring buildings and streets, a perfect spot for me to people watch. Despite the graffiti style of the room, the amenities and bed were still luxurious.
For the next day, I’d booked a day cruise on TripAdvisor to the islands of Hydra, Poros, and Aegina, each unique in their own way, which I was about to discover. After stepping off the boat in Hydra, my senses were overwhelmed. The car-less island uses donkeys to transport people and goods throughout the town. Dogs lay sleeping in doorways, and cats prowl throughout the winding alleys leading up the hills. It was lucky I wasn’t heading in any particular direction because it truly was a maze. The white buildings and orange roofs paint a beautiful sight from the scenic points atop the hill. After a long climb in the sun I finally made it to a small clearing, which overlooked a church on one side and the entire town and port on the other. Hydra was my favorite of the three islands. Running through the maze of alleys, streets and stairs led to new discoveries around each corner. I think the absence of cars added to the historic atmosphere in the town, which from the very first moment felt peaceful and slow-paced. This was an amazing way to get a small taste of some of the Greek islands. In one day we covered so much ground with ample time to relax on the boat in between stops. I could have spent a week on Hydra and maybe someday I will return.
After a brisk jog down the hill to make it back before the ship left we were on our way to the second destination of the day, Poros. My favorite part about Poros was cruising to the port while on the ship, admiring the town from the water. I’ve never experienced towns quite like those in Greece that seem to scale the entire hillside. It is probably not quite extraordinary for many Europeans, but having grown up in flat urban areas the tiered layout of the towns was something to marvel at. We had 45 minutes to explore the island so I set off into the maze of alleys once again. My favorite little scene from the adventure was a small blue car parked in the middle of nowhere, with no one around. It was a world away from the hustle of a big city.
Arriving at Aegina, we had the option to buy a bus tour of the island scenery or a tour to the Temple of Aphaia and the monastery.
I decided to head to the Temple of Aphaia, which was the inspiration for the Parthenon. I’ve never stood in front of a structure in so much awe. The temple was built in 500 B.C. It is truly remarkable and makes you feel like a tiny dot on an incredibly long timeline.