After leaving the monasteries in Meteora, my guide said, “So you’re interested in archaeology… do you want to to go to a cave with 130,000 year old footprints?”
Yes… yes was the answer.
He said it’s not a place he normally takes people but thought I’d be interested. It was really cool and not far from Meteora. It’s still an active dig, but they’ve built metal pathways to let you look down into it. Sure enough, there are fossolised footprints, seemingly made by children playing in the cave, along with numerous hearths.
The footprints were too deep for a photograph, but this is what the cave looks like from the back corner.
The photo below shows what is left of the temple of Apollo at Delphi. This temple was home to the Pythia who sat upon a tripod and provided messages from the gods in answer to pilgrims’ questions. Unfortunately the answers were always worded as a riddle and could often be interpreted to align with the results, whichever way they fell!
I didn’t know this before visiting, but it turns out that Delphi means dolphin. Sure enough, while enjoying lunch at a restaurant on the sea not far away three dolphins appeared and spent quite a while playing in the water in front of us.
In my post about Delphi I mentioned that I had made a return to Greece last February to tick a couple spots off the list that I’d missed, while inter-railing across Europe, due to an extended stay in Thessaloniki. The other place that I’ve been wanting to get back to is Meteora, where monasteries perch atop rock pinnacles. They used to be cut off from civilization with no roads leading to them. The method used for entry by most was formerly a rope net basket that the monks would climb into, to be hoisted up by the monks above turning a wooden winch. Standing on the edge of these and looking down was pretty terrifying.
I mentioned yesterday that I finally made it to the Cinque Terre after three attempts. This photo is from another place I once planned to visit but failed. After I finished university, I did a six week European tour from Amsterdam to Athens. The plan was to stop at Delphi and Meteora towards the end of the trip as we made our way from Thessaloniki in Northern Greece to Athens in the South.
Our problem was, we had a really good night out in Thessaloniki and decided we wanted another one. As a result we cancelled our stop in Meteora to stay in Thessaloniki another night. That decision was complicated the next morning when we were summarily kicked out of our hotel, due to some boisterous behaviour, and were left to wander the city in search of accommodation.
We still planned on stopping in Delphi for a night, but following two consecutive big nights out in Thessaloniki we weren’t at our sharpest. As a result, we got off the train at the wrong stop and would have to wait hours for another one to take us back. Instead, we decided to get on the next train to Athens.
So, I failed to make it to both Delphi and Meteora on that trip and have wanted to go back. At the end of March 2016 I had an opportunity to go back to Greece but only had a few days. Still, I managed to visit both Delphi and Meteora in a whirlwind tour.
The following is a photo of the Athenian Treasury at Delphi, a monument I saw often in text books. I did my best to take a photo that’s a little more interesting than the standard straight on textbook shot.