I’m in Athens. It’s been a busy past few days and we’ve been on the road for quite a while. The drive from Thessaloniki to Athens spans basically the entire country from north to south, so it was a long one. The stops along the way made it worth it and then some, though.
First up was Meteora, an area that used to be a giant lake but has since drained out and left gigantic stone pillars standing in the middle of a valley. Sprouting up from these pillars are monasteries, some built as early as the 14th century. The architecture is incredible, it looks like the buildings are growing straight out of the rocks. The inside of the monasteries are just as impressive, and standing in them and looking out at the view was nothing short of a humbling experience.
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Next up was Delphi, the site of the ancient Oracle of Delphi. We were told by our enthusiastic tour guide that the Oracle was really just an elaborate con, used by the wisemen of the time to exert their influence over everyone from the average person wondering who they should marry to kings questioning whether they should enter a war with another city-state.
As disappointing as it was to learn that the Oracle couldn’t really tell the future, the fact that Delphi was considered the center of the universe by many ancient Greeks was not a myth. The history of the city was really interesting, as were many of the artifacts on display in the museum(in which I didn’t get yelled at or even scolded…progress). Delphi also boasted some nice views, although they weren’t quite Meteoric.
So now I’m in Athens. I’ve been here once before with my family when I was in middle school, but I’m not recognizing much other than the Acropolis. Thessaloniki was a great city, but Athens is quickly coming for the top spot in my book. It’s bustling, covered in art and filled with shops and restaurants. The combination of modern life with ancient history makes this place truly unique. It’s tough to beat being able to look up and see the Parthenon illuminated on your casual walk to dinner. The view from our hotel rooftop isn’t bad either.