June 20 and 21

I'm on the last leg of my journey: Delphi-Athens +Corinth.

A) the Cyclades including Naxos and Santorini with short visits to Delos and Mykonos.

B) the Dodecanese including Rhodes and Symi.

C) the Peloponnese including Nafplio, Mystras/Sparta (+Mycenae and Epidavros), and Ancient Olympia.

D) the Ionian Islands PLUS Lefkada, then Corfu and a day trip to Albania, a day trip to Paxos, and then the amazing Meteora.

E) Delphi-Athens and a day trip to Corinth.
It looks like Greek to me too, but I carry a copy of the Greek alphabet around on my phone and can pretty much pronounce the words now, especially place names because you have an idea of what to expect, and I can say a lot of expressions that get an appropriate response, so that's good.

All this remembering won't last, it never does, but it's Fun while I'm here.
Arriving in Delphi after a particularly long day on the bus...
...and here's the view out my new French doors on my new balcony. Nice!

I'm staying here three nights because it's comfy and my knees are asking nicely, 'please, no more stairs!'.
Oh goodie, another chance to Name That Flag, on the way to the Archeological Museum and the ruins of the great temples of Delphi.

I decided to go to the museum today and wait until tomorrow to see the site when I intend to get out there when they open at 7:30, the best chance for the least hot, least crowded visit possible.
What was cool about the museum was the larger-than-life sculpture in each room.
Here's another one. There are more.
Had to go check out the church but I couldn't get in.
And here's another one. It is a very lovely town.

I had some food before calling it a day - baked eggplant that was mostly sliced and lightly caramelized onions and a little tomato on top of two halves of baked eggplant. These ingredients are very common but I hadn't had this exact preparation before. My plate was clean.
Sunset, from my balcony. Maybe I'll sleep in my clothes as a motivation for getting up and OUT early. It's exciting, I wonder what tomorrow will bring!
June 22

Here's a drawing by A. Tournarie from 1894 featured in the museum and a site map.

Yes, I got up and was at the gate by the 7:30 opening time and I was the only one there for an hour. It was awesome!
LP opens their chapter on Delphi: "If the ancient Greeks hadn't chosen Delphi as their navel of the earth and built the Sanctuary of Apollo here, someone else would have thought of a good reason to make this eagle's nest village a tourist attraction."
The place where the Oracle sat on the tripod and breathed the steam of the intoxicating water is in a crevice up in the surrounding mountains somewhere. I asked a couple of people and no one knew for sure.

She would then come down and give her prophecies in this Sanctuary of Apollo, answering the questions posed to her by the powers of the time, her sentiments being interpreted by the priests at hand.
I overheard a guide telling her group how even in ancient times this was a tourist town because once here the pilgrims would have to spend the night before returning home.
Delphi is about 2,000 feet above sea level with beautiful views to the valleys and mountains.

Who will live to see our conversion to the Oh So Sensible metric system? Not me. My kids? Their kids?
Ahh, cool, fresh morning air.
The great theater looking to the Sanctuary of Apollo.
A surprisingly not too distorted pano of the athletic stadium where, every four years, the Greek world would participate in the Pythian Games, second only in importance to the games at Olympia.

In the drawings you can't see the stadium because it is further up and behind the theater.
Another view.
Some of the other buildings on the terraces that make up the complex.
Down the hill from the main site this is another temple complex, the Sanctuary of Athena Pronea. There were originally four large buildings and a gymnasium, according to the illustration there.

It's in there, hidden among the trees, scan along the top edge of the lower third.
The Tholos, a marble rotunda set in this site but it seems no one is quite sure of its purpose. Those blotches are a result of the restoration.

I had a dinner tonight that I'm going to miss when I'm gone. They do these giGANtic beans baked in a flavorful sauce. I got a wild mushroom omelet (all the omelets are 'open face') and ate it with the beans on top.

The beans are called 'gigantes', which means giant in Greek. Google images knows all about them. I looked at a recipe...you can use ouzo in there.

It's a direct shot to Athens from here. I was going to spend the next night in Corinth and then go on to Athens but now it feels sensible to go to Athens a day early, and visit Corinth on a tour. Off to the Big City.
June 23

This morning I went to the café in Delphi that sells bus tickets to get a ticket for my onward journey to Athens.

Oh no! Sold out! What?! The next bus wouldn't be there for another five hours! That has never happened but then we are closer and closer to In Season of July-August.

This guy wanted to go too and also couldn't get a ticket so he went off to arrange a taxi to a bigger town where buses to Athens ran every hour. We shared the taxi ride, we stepped out of the taxi and onto the bus, and were at our destination at the same time as we would have had we got the first bus. Sweet!
The view from my room.

Honestly. And the location is perfect and the price is unbelievable.

But then not so unbelievable because I 1) have to Walk Up six flights to get here 2) share a bathroom with the rest of the walkers 3) the room is reeeeally small, but not the smallest I've ever stayed in and I've shared bathrooms before and the stars are good for me, so all together, no problem.
Emerging from the subway this is my transportation hub, Monastriaki. What looks like a water feature is glass covering archeological remains of the old city.

Oh boy, fresh coconut. There was also a grilled corn cart and...
...many fruit stands, and ruins like everywhere, and a view of the Acropolis.
I wandered around for a while looking for grilled fresh fish with no luck so I went back to my hotel and the woman there sent me off to this place.

It was gooood. And I am weak and this guy is the Up Sell King. I was just going to get the fish. 'Let me bring you a little salad, just a little something while you wait.' ok. 'You'll want some bread with that, sure.' ok. 'How about some nice wine. We have delicious house wine. I'll bring you a little pitcher.' ok.
Walking back from the restaurant...
Street Art Tour Wednesday night. I'm excited about that. A nice side-by-side example of what I like and what I don't.
June 24

Today I went to the highly regarded Acropolis Museum. Check out that entrance. Look familiar? A US architect got the commission to do the project in 1999.
There's another huge excavation going on under the museum visible here and most of the patio leading to the entrance is made of glass to reveal the work below.
That little girl in the grey dress is touching one of the glass panels, likely testing to see if she'll fall through.
Inside it's a no-photo zone except for the top floor. I really did not see the sign. A sweet guard let me get this shot off, she was standing right there, before she gave me the no-photo look.
This is all set up, built to scale, waiting for the return of the Elgin Marbles.

The collection held in the British Museum includes the following material from the Acropolis: Parthenon: 247 ft (75 m) of the original 524 ft (160 m) frieze, 15 of the 92 metopes, 17 pedimental figures; various pieces of architecture. Erechtheion: a Caryatid, a column and other architectural members. Propylaia: Architectural members. Temple of Athena Nike: 4 slabs of the frieze and architectural members.
I ate lunch here and it was lovely, the menu and setting perfect for Ladies Who Lunch.
Arch of Hadrian and the Temple of Olympian Zeus.
This is a view from a balcony for the use of we 6th floor walk-up folks. On the right is Agia Irini. I had previously gone in search of the main church, Metropolis. Once there I discovered it was covered in scaffolding and the inside was empty.

So I decided, because why not, to go into this church right across the walkway from my hotel. It was particularly surprising in there especially with how they used stained glass reflecting in super deep-set windows.

from AthensGuide: "If you stand in the square you will see that you are surrounded by impressive old buildings, some of which were historic hotels. That is because in the mid 19th century Platia Agia Irini was one of the most important squares in Athens, back in the days when the church of Agia Irini was the main cathedral of the city before they built the large (and unstable) Metropolis a few blocks away ... To some Athenians Agia Irini is still the first cathedral and have never accepted its displacement. ... inside you will find one of the most beautiful examples of a Greek Orthodox Church based on the Byzantine style. ("Sorry: No Photo")."
June 25

Thank you Maria for the street art identifications (I quotes by the numbers)! The tour company website is atathens.org.

You can find these carts with baked circles in many of the squares (ha! circles in the squares...). I got one of the smaller, darker, crunchier ones with nuts and seeds, and it was delicious.
1) "AEK is the team of Greek refugees from Turkey that were chased from there in 1922"

What I remember of the story - the teenager on the far left was killed by the police for no reason and large demonstrations ensued. The teenager next to him was killed by the police in another country so they put his picture up here too.

On the right side of the wall are images representing the Greek refugees from Turkey. Their football team flies the flag of the church, which you might remember from earlier in the trip.

Most of the political images we saw were related to immigration and I've got another couple further down.
2) "next to the dog it's written: "the bad thing with people is that they learn how to love their chains.""

Walkin' the dog?
3) "Cacao rocks on the left, 114 nda apparently on the top"
4) WD

The artist who goes by WD is very prolific in the neighborhoods we visited. Also notice that 6 at the beginning of the lettering.
5) ??
6) "WD left, Klark right"

The large image on the left is WD again, but I don't remember about the others.
7) "Alexandros Vasmoulakis or ZAP"

Two full building illustrations. The one on the left is on a fire station.

I don't remember about the one on the right except that it is another project of Carpe Diem (because it says so up in the corner) and the name same84 was associated with it.
8) "Same 84 correct"

I found a reference to Blaqk: Greg Papagrigoriou & Simek attached to this image. I think there are two guys involved, one who does the lettering and one who does the geometrics.
9) "1UP is crew from Berlin"
10) "mapet"

Images representing life in the immigration camps, a very sorry situation for all concerned.
We had an excellent rest stop here with tastes of some of his meats and a little shot of raki for the road.
11) "scarrone (right), dyo (left)"

These characters tell a true story. They're gangsters of a certain time (I forget...) and then the idolization of them that followed.
12) "Alexandros Vasmoulakis"
13) ??

That letter that looks like a six is a b, and maybe related to the other 6 looking letter above?
14) ??

Another Carpe Diem project and I found the name dimitris-taxis associated with this wall.
15) "Yiakou"

Me and the maker of these two works. I don't remember his name! He told us what he was thinking about when he made them and it was so cool to see his enthusiasm.
16) "Dimitris Dokos, Exit, Billy gee"
17) "proletkulture/fotizontas"

My favorite kind, where the building is an integral part of the picture.
We're done with the tour and the guide says she'll walk back to my square with me where she likes to get "the Best Souvlaki in Athens".

So we got in the line and YUM it was!
June 26

From the top of the Acropolis the arrow points to my hotel. I put it first so you can get some perspective of my morning walk.

I should mention that, as an aside, it was 104 degrees the day I climbed up the Acropolis. I got up early and was at the ticket booth before they opened at 8am and it was already in the 80s. Wow.
Up up up...
...to a first pow view of the Parthenon.
The Acropolis is the name of this rocky outcrop upon which the Athenians built their temples.

There is evidence of buildings from as far back as the late Bronze Age through what we see now are the constructions of Pericles in the 5th century BC, the Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Erechtheion and the temple of Athena Nike.
This is the Erechtheion, the same as the building above. The originals of the statues are in the Acropolis Museum.
Down there are the Arch of Hadrian and the Temple of Olympian Zeus that I made a collage of a few days ago.

The Arch is hard to see. Look at the big road at the bottom of the picture and follow it up. The Arch is right at the end of the road.
Back to the Parthenon and ME.
A view of The Areopagus, or Mars Hill.
Built into the hill, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus Ampitheatre in the Acropolis. With another day or two I might have made it to one of these shows.
Coming into the Agora site this woman is snagging herself some of the large capers that grace many a Greek salad.
They're all over the place...
Some college interns I'm guessing, cleaning excavated finds in a bucket of water .. with a toothbrush.
There are sites like this scattered throughout the areas of Athens that I've been visiting, all with names and stories. So many.
The awesome night view out my window.

(I climb six flights of stairs, I share a bathroom, and my room is itty-bity, but would'ja look at that view.)
June 27

I took a bus tour today to the ruins of Corinth. We passed the Arch of Hadrian on the way out...
...and took a quick stop here at the Corinth Canal separating the peninsula of the Peloponnese from the Greek mainland. The guide had told us on the bus that the amazing thing about it was how deep they built the walls. We were expecting deep walls but everyone gasped anyway.

Begun in 1881, completed in 1893, plagued by technical and financial difficulties, and far too narrow for modern use, it never was a commercial success.
Next stop the ancient port of Corinth called Cenchrea. We had to walk a good distance to...
...arrive at the ruins. The area had been in continual use as a port since prehistory so there is a lot to tell but all anyone on the tour wanted to hear about was its connection to Saint Paul.

According to Acts in the Bible it would have been here that he arrived and departed Corinth.
At the site of Ancient Corinth our guide talked some about history and a lot about Saint Paul. The guide said Saint Paul and also Paul the Apostle. I'm not sure which is preferred by the Orthodox church.

It's not like I didn't know .. I should have realized what I was getting in for when I signed up for a tour to Corinth!
There was plenty to look at in the museum.
A temple to Apollo.

This temple is unique in that the columns, instead of being disks placed one on top of the other to form the column as is common elsewhere, are one single piece.
This is where Jason and Medea lived, and where Saint Paul lived and preached for two years. I'm standing on the podium where Saint Paul is said to have been interrogated (by whom I don't remember now) but like the Romans not collecting taxes in December, interrogations did not happen in such places.

But everyone on the tour got up there and took a picture!
Ruins of a theater, olive trees, a town, and down to the sea.
18) "Sonke"

The tour bus dropped me off closest to the National Archaeological Museum as their route would bring them and I walked the rest of the way.

I remember from the Street Art tour that the artist who puts up these black and white girls does them whenever he breaks up with a girlfriend.
This is a giant urn depicting a funeral. The dead person is prone and the other people are holding their hands to their heads in the 'oh no oh no' pose.
Another handsome profile.
He is drawing the woman with the hat. She was the wife of Trajan, the Roman Emperor around 100AD.

It took about 30 minutes to walk home from here and I went straight to my room to luxuriate in the a/c. At one point during the day I saw a thermometer and it said 41 degrees which is 106. It was 104 yesterday. Tomorrow it will be cooler though!
June 28

19) "Inkhead"

Fond as I am of street art don't get me wrong .. it is not that I want this in my neighborhood. I asked the artist I met on the Street Art tour how he felt when his work was defaced and he said 'I can't complain'.
20) ??
21) "GPO (top) , Big horror athens, mora, fors, WD (left to right)"

What a great day! Maria from the Street Art tour invited me to join a project she was putting together in concert with the Slow Festival.

The Slow Festival was going on this weekend to call attention to the Slow Movement in Athens and elsewhere.
21 close-up)

wiki: "The Slow Movement advocates a cultural shift toward slowing down life's pace."

Professor Guttorm Fløistad: "The only thing for certain is that everything changes. The rate of change increases. If you want to hang on you better speed up. That is the message of today.

"It could however be useful to remind everyone that our basic needs never change. The need to be seen and appreciated! It is the need to belong. The need for nearness and care, and for a little love! This is given only through slowness in human relations. In order to master changes, we have to recover slowness, reflection and togetherness. There we will find real renewal."
During the tour we visited many places where they practice the idea of doing what you do slowly and well. Check out this haircutter.

At one point we had twelve people crammed in there and they all started singing a Greek folk song (was it?) and at the end I got two lovely kisses from the cutie-pie cutter.
22) ??

Continuing our walk...
...we visited this shop where no money ever changes hands. They get donations and anyone can come here and take what they'd like.

I went nuts over that picture up there so I took its picture. I actually like it in its setting. At first I wanted the thing itself but now I'm quite happy with the photo. I might have to do something with this.
Photo Op! Photo Op! The boys were swinging so I kind'a made them gather, 3 or 4 held out, but I have to tell you this was a crowd of amazingly delightful young people ... charming, friendly, interested and interesting - I had a blast.

This park is part of a larger plot of land that was their version of People's Park in Berkeley. A similar story and a similar outcome.
I was sitting on the end of the teeter-totter deep in blank-stare-faced thought about what I was going to do next and these two were up in that tree taking pictures of me.

I'm sure their pictures are a riot.
Another member of Maria's tour business, ATA-Alternative Tours of Athens, is a photographer, Dimitris. He was great fun too and he gave me a Metro ticket so I wouldn't have to break a 50.
Oh Maria, you will always be my Athena.

They had planned a Slow Picnic for after the walk. I wanted to let them relax in their own language so I took the Metro home.

I went home and straight into the foot massage place on my street! A little feather-light, like getting massage from a butterfly, but nice nonetheless. And then I had an early dinner of flatbread deliciousness at a Greek/Armenian place.
My hotel, Hotel Tempi. I've talked about it a lot already but in summary weighing all the +es and -es, I was very happy there.
June 29

Adeeo Athens, Adeeo Greece, EFKHARISTO!

A) the Cyclades including Naxos and Santorini with short visits to Delos and Mykonos.

B) the Dodecanese including Rhodes and Symi.

C) the Peloponnese including Nafplio, Mystras/Sparta (+Mycenae and Epidavros), and Ancient Olympia.

D) the Ionian Islands PLUS Lefkada, then Corfu and a day trip to Albania, and then the amazing Meteora.

E) Delphi-Athens and a day trip to Corinth.
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