Of course, it’s all just myth, but legend has it that long, long ago, this hugely popular God called ‘Zeus’ had two golden Eagles, and in order to find the centre of the world, he sent them both off in opposite directions. Where they met, was to be the ‘official “Centre of the World”, so Zeus sent down a marker for this important spot called an ‘Agrenon’, a bullet shaped lump of rock which nobody knows the current whereabouts of.
There’s a whole lot more to this story, jewel laden oracles & prophetess’s aplenty, but I find all that mythological story-spin a but tedious. What is interesting is what the ancient Greeks achieved, the inventors of philosophy, democracy, trial by jury, geometry and Pythagoras’s theorem …, we’ve loads more to thank them for too, the Ship anchor, Alarm clock, Automatic doors, the catapult, cement, money coins, plumbing, showers, bored of the list yet? Most of this stuff I thought the Romans had invented, silly me, must stop watching QI…well done the Greeks.
Delphi, or what’s left of it, is certainly impressive. But I thought it would have been bigger. I mean, these God characters (Zeus etc.) aren’t small. Whenever we see depictions in granite, they’re huge super-human, monstrous beings, able to command all the powers of the heavens. So why is the centre of the world as we know it at the time, hidden on a hillside in northern Greece miles from anywhere? With such immense power, surely it wouldn’t be too much to ask to flatten off and quell a mildly active volcano & stick the whole sha-bang up there? Somewhere totally fantastic, with a killer view. All you can see from Delphi , is other hills. Call me a blasphemes old sod, but the location of the Acropolis at Athens was more impressive than this.
If you’re early enough, parking in the car park that serves both the Archaeological site & the museum is easy enough, I suspect not too easy in high season or from noon onwards any time of year. At €6 each for a combined ticket, is worth every penny, especially on a sunny day in March with very few people there. Again, best to get a combined ticket, if you only tour the ruins, that’s probably how they’ll be perceived…just ruins. The museum helps join all the bits of broken bits together and adds depth to the history.
Just a few km down the road Hosios, a Unesco listed monastery with some uniquely preserved wall mosaics and Byzantine paintings. The building, though built hundreds of years ago, still looks like it was built recently. A tribute to all those unpaid volunteers who spend so much time renovating. At €4 each, another gem of Greece at twice the price. As a added bonus, we slept over in the car park free of charge, a super quiet, super dark night in the hills, with only the shriek of owls for company.
All in all, a great day out. Heaps of info needed to be absorbed, my head was spinning for hours afterwards. Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines, there’s no wonder the boffins from Ox-bridge spend a lifetime studying it all.
It’s coming to the end of our Greek tour, I can’t express how much I’ve loved all the history. Everywhere you look there’s another piece of the jigsaw. It amazes me how all those people have passed through the same piece of historical land. Some of the new caretakers choosing to enhance what was left to them, some wilfully destroying parts of it. I also worry for the current state of Greece. Today, as you look around, nothings looked after, few things are finished, rubbish everywhere, it seems to be the norm. If someone attempted to tell me there’s no money in here, I’d not believe them. As in every society, there are individuals with a large wedges of the wealth and many with only a tiny piece of it. It’s obvious that successive governments have got it all wrong, therefore have nothing to give to the area councils. So the councils have no money to cut grass or empty bins. Along with all the added complexities of ‘the European mess’, the Greeks have inbuilt generic flaws. Problems so inbuilt it seems it would take the actions of an epic scale to ‘put the train back on the rails’. Successive misuse of public funds (and fraud, allegedly) leads to an apathetic attitude to public spirited contributions towards most collectively beneficial acts, like pay-for-parking and earnings taxation. I don’t claim to understand most of it. I do know that some of the Greeks we’ve spoken with are hoping the Deutsche Bank will be so hard pressed…it will fold. Laughable eh? Thus leaving Greece almost debt-free. Fiction? you decide, but remember…Brexit and Trump? Never say never. The Greeks have hope, a little chink of hope that one day, Greece will lead the world again.
I couldn’t rule it out….Bloody good luck to all of them.
Charlie’s Sleepovers, all our stopovers are listed in Google maps with added pictures too.
Just perfect parking at Delphi. n38.48006 e22.50022
Hosios Monastery, no services. (not even 2g) n38.39544 e224572