Saturday, 2 July 2016

Sat 2 Jul 2016. Around Delphi

Sat 2 Jul 2016. Around Delphi
GirlRob spend a most uncomfortable night from a buildup of insect bites and heat rash, irritable with super-sensitive skin. Scratching (no matter the knowledge that you shouldn't!) has produced dry lumpy red arms, and antihistamines produce only temporary relief. Anyway, had a cold water shower with no soap this morning and on to chores including pulling three-corner jacks out of the front door mat, and the bottom of thongs and sandals (they've got all manner of spiky things here!). So it's breakfast, get in the washing, and off to Delphi. Road followed fascinating outdoor water channel up the mountainside.

So happy to find that by the time we got to the entrance to the Delphi ruins up Rodini mountain it had started to rain, making everything temporarily cooler! Filled our bottles with chilled water from the water cooler at the entrance, and started to climb the multiple terraces. Myth says Zeus sent two eagles to circumnavigate world, one east and one west, and where their paths intersected was centre of world - Delphi. Zeus threw down a conical rock (omphalos) to mark the spot. This was already the site where Apollo was said to have slain Python, the dragon. It became a pan-Hellenic sanctuary, home of the Pythian Games every four years (precursors of modern Olympics). 


Sybil the prophetess is marked by rocks said to have fallen from the sky. One of her oracles foresaw the fall of Troy. 
The Rock of Sybil


The Temple of Apollo (god of music, harmony and light) was purportedly erected over a sacred chasm emitting vapours, inhaled by the Pythia who entered a state of delirium and uttered inarticulate cries which were then turned into oracles by the priests ... hmmm...   
The remarkably well-preserved polygonal retaining wall of the Temple dates back to C6th.

Temple of Apollo

Polygonal retaining wall

Saw Roman Agora with its ornate building patterns, Treasury buildings (one of which once housed one-tenth of income from Siphnos' gold and silver mines), and the Stoa of Athenians (which once housed Athenian's naval trophies). The remarkably intact Theatre has breathtaking views of the valley of the Pleistos River; its walls contain inscriptions of the emancipation of slaves including lists of their names.  

Theatre built into side of hill

Continued walk up the multiple terraces along the Sacred Way, to top of the site to admire the impressive Stadium. After climbing the steep slopes to the 'Top of the Olympian World', we reckoned we deserved to stand on the winner's pedestal to the cheer of an appreciative crowd - unfortunately the guard spent his time telling people otherwise. 

Looked down on ruins of the gymnasium further down mountain. Admired magnificent views of mountains, valleys out to sea, before turning round for the descent.

Ancient carpentry
Water channel? Drainage?

Braille sign!

Back to camp for a cooling cider, talked to proprietor’s son Mike, about sad state of Greece, with 30% now out of work, and diminishing funds in coffers to pay for increasing numbers of folk on pensions and benefits. He said pensions were recently slashed by half (to €300 a month) insufficient to pay rent, food, fuel, electricity etc. 50% of population pay taxes (up to 70% of their income - wha????) for the 50% who live in cash economy and don't pay taxes. Sounded to us like a formula for a disgruntled nation. He said the crunch would come in September, last date for lodgement of income tax. He didn't know what will happen to those who don't submit a return.                                                                  

Checked Australian election results before heading to bed - looks like a hung parliament. If Labour get over the line they'll tax our super, which has already been taxed at highest rate on earning and is paying for our retirement. Blow that for a joke - maybe we should visit tax haven countries next??? In a rebellious mood went to bed...

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