Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Return to Delphi~ Travelin' Tuesday

Delphi (like Pompeii for me)

was a place I'd heard of all my life

but in the rather limited opportunities of my childhood

never thought I'd truly see.

A couple of years ago,

while touring several of the Greek ruins,

'The Chef' and I made a trip to the small town of Arahova

where I was able to fulfill a lifelong quest

of walking the ancient stones of Delphi.

While the entire ruin is a mesmerizing

portal to the ancient world,

I wasn't quite prepared for its stunning location

and breathtaking surroundings

with its long, expansive mountainous views.

Many of Greece's ruins are on easy-to-reach flatgrounds.

But Delphi, with its standing columns and fluttering wildflowers

of deep, blood red and mischevious yellow,

sleeps on the side of a sacred mountain.

The columns below are the ruins of the

Temple dedicated to Apollo

where it's said the Pythia inhaled vapors from a fissure,

went into a trance and whose prophesies

were most likely translated by priests.

One guess over time

is that the ground fault fissures emanated an ethylene gas

that was responsible for the priestesses altered states.

Carved into the temple walls were 3 phrases

(attributed to a few of the Seven Sages of Greece--

6th Century wise men before Plato's time):

"Know Thyself"

"Nothing to Excess"

And the last: "Make a pledge and mischief is nigh".

One can't help but wonder what the many travelers to its site

must have said to themselves after crossing the world or its oceans

upon finally reaching the foot of Mount Parnassus:

"Really? All this way and now...up there? Really??"

It took me decades to finally make my way here

and while I went by plane, boat and car (the fairly easy, modern way)

it's not hard to see once here why seekers would traverse the world over

for a glimpse into this glorious present (of any century)

and the ever-elusive future.

(All photographs copyright: Kirsten Steen)


  1. ohhhh wow. thanks for these lovely photos. Those Greeks always new the past places to put a temple. Delphi is particularly amazing. I am yet to go but would traverse the world to see it. thanks Carla x

  2. Good morning dearest,
    This is a culture, a fashion, and style that just never dies and always puts me in awe. To even be standing before these great monuments would be the chance of a lifetime for me. I so wish that I had also studied Greek, but I know enough to teach my students the roots of words...it is so fun.

    Again, a lovely tour in the way that only you can do...with much love and care and wonderful writing. Anita

  3. Going to Greece will be my second trip of a lifetime. (The first was Paris.) I think that between you and our friend Michael in Oia I will have expert advice.
    Good to be back with you, Kirsten!

  4. Carla~ Thanks for coming and I agree! I would go again in a heartbeat!

    Kalimera, Anita! Thanks to you and for coming on the tour. I wish I'd learned more Greek as well.

    Catherine~ Welcome home, again. So glad to have you back! Hoping to meet that Michael one of these days, next time I get to Santorini! Maybe we could talk Michael into teaching us some Greek words daily on his blog!!


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