We spent the afternoon of March 16 in Delphi, where we took a guided tour of the excavations.
Delphi flowered most brilliantly in the 6th Century B.C., when its civilization—and influence—peaked.
Located at the base of Mount Parnassus, Delphi is situated both upon the lower portion of the mountain as well as in a large and beautiful valley surrounded by mountains of the Parnassus Range. The topography of Delphi is inherently much more beautiful and much more dramatic than the topography of Corinth, Mycenae, Epidaurus and Olympia.
However, there are only so many ruins (“piles of rocks”, in the terminology my brother had adopted by the third day of our tour) that one may explore before fatigue sets in—and we were already suffering ruins fatigue by the time we reached Delphi.
“I think we should have gone to Paris” was a refrain one or the other of us had been muttering since the previous afternoon, and this sentiment reached a near-boiling point shortly after we began our guided tour of Delphi, when “I think we should have gone to Paris” became a veritable nonstop chant on our part.
We were, simply put, visiting too many ancient ruined cities in too short a time—we had by this point already visited the ruins of Corinth, Mycenae, Epidaurus and Olympia—and we were no longer enjoying it.
We were duly escorted through the extensive excavations at Delphi, and we genuinely tried to pay attention to the guide’s chatter while demonstrating a modicum of enthusiasm. This became more difficult when Joshua announced, “I think I’m going to take up smoking”—and my brother responded, “And I think I’m going to take up drinking.”
I believe we successfully maintained the illusion that we were paying attention to the guide, but I doubt that more than twenty per cent of his words registered with us after half an hour. The guided tour lasted almost two hours—and, for us, it seemed an eternity.
Delphi is, perhaps, most famous for its Temple Of Apollo.
Other prominent remnants at Delphi include the Treasury Of The Athenians
And the Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia.
Delphi, like Olympia, also sported a stadium, a gymnasium, a theater and a palestra. It also featured a series of extensive and massive stone walls that carried religious and political significance and at which votive offerings were made.
I wish Delphi were an hour’s drive from Boston. If so, Josh and I would be happy to return any Saturday to enjoy a day’s explorations. However, given that our appetite for ancient Greek ruins had become satiated prior to the afternoon of March 16, our enjoyment of Delphi was, regrettably, limited.
At the conclusion of our escorted tour of the ruins, we visited Delphi’s archeological museum. Delphi’s archeological museum was very much like Olympia’s archeological museum, which we had visited the previous afternoon.
No doubt the museum is of vast importance, but we were not captivated by the artifacts on display—and wished we had been visiting the Louvre, which has a far finer collection of antiquities from Greece than those on display in Delphi.
After walking through Delphi’s archeological museum, we located and checked into our hotel, which was very close to the excavations site.
Our hotel was situated at the base of one of the mountains and afforded a view of the entire valley—and our rooms offered views of the valley all the way to the port city of Itea and the Corinthian Gulf.
The views were remarkable.
We were almost too crabby to enjoy them.
But not quite.