The drive from Itea to Delphi whilst short, was exhilarating. The road was steep, narrow with tight turns; the views were amazing. It is sometimes frustrating that there is nowhere suitable to stop and take in the views and a few photographs, so alas, it is a memory I cannot share.
The ancient Greeks, according to mythology, believed that Delphi was the centre of the world. As such, it was renowned for its oracle, whereby people came from all over Greece to seek advice on their actions from the god Apollo through the oracle.
The route through Delphi to the Temple of Apollo follows the Sacred Way, which in ancient times was lined with 3000 statues and a number of treasuries.
The Rock of the Sibyl marks where, according to mythology, the first Oracles of Delphi were pronounced.
The Temple of Apollo was originally built in the 6th century BC, the the remains are from the 4th century BC.
The Theatre was built around 2500 years ago and seats 5000 people.
The Sanctuary of Apollo is the heart of Delphi and includes the Theatre and the Temple of Apollo.
The stadium at 200 foot long is situated above the Sanctuary of Apollo and would have seated 7000 people.
As I reflect on my trip to Greece and specifically visiting its ancient sites, I recognise that remnants of buildings strewn across the landscape seldom resonate with me, I much prefer to visualise what the ancient Greeks would have seen. I think it is inevitable, but also unjust, that I draw comparisons between classical Greek and Roman cultures; particularly as one followed the other. And making further comparisons between their different periods also seems prejudiced.
For me, Greece is abound with marble columns, fortified hilltop cities and fragmented marble statues, beautiful people and beaches, and azure blue and turquoise seas. Italy is teeming with steps, hundreds of steps usually climbing to the top of campaniles (bell towers) or Doumos (cathedrals) the combination of ancient Rome and later periods such as the Renaissance add to the attractions in Italy. As a tourist, I want to see these attractions, but nothing of historical note seems to have happened in Greece in centuries, so my preference leans towards Italy. As a person I crave the warmth of the Greek people, to bask in the warm sun, to swim in the warm sea, to share their beautiful country. And so, I know it will be to Greece that I return to next year.