Bright and early day 2 and a taxi picked me up at my hotel to take me to the Liossion bus station. Athens has 2 bus stations, one generally serving the the area to the north and one the area to the west of Athens. Both are outside of the main tourist areas and both not the easiest to get to by public transport. My research had convinced me that a taxi was my best option. Especially when I was travelling early. My bus was scheduled to leave at 7.30am.
The taxi dropped me right by the station and for less than 10 euro I was glad I had taken that option. The station had a cafe selling a fabulous array of pastries and my relationship with cheese pies began.
This was to be the first of many
cheese pies bus trips over the next three weeks. I spent many hours researching all of the Greece bus services and planning how I would make my way from place to place.
The Greek bus system is broken up into regions, each one running itself and not really talking much to each other. Most without online ticket sales. Fortunately this first trip was on a service that sold tickets online and I was able to start out confident that I had a seat at least for this leg. And blind faith that my research would get me through the rest of it.
The bus was clean and comfortable. I met the most delightful lady from the USA on it and we chatted most of the way to Delphi. The bus stopped at one point and most people got off, being the Greece bus system rookies that we were it took us a moment to realise that is was a scheduled stop where we could toilet and buy food.
The terrain was quite unexpected. The mountains huge and some even snow capped, not what I was expecting to see in Greece in early summer. As Delphi came into view I was glad that I was planning to stay the night and could visit the ancient site at my leisure as it was teeming with tour groups at the time we arrived.
Delphi is a lovely village, set on the slopes of Mt Parnassus. It is a very short walk from the village to the ancient site. The village basically consists of three parallel streets, one above the other, connected, for pedestrians, by lots of steps. Greece has lots of steps, everywhere…
My hotel was on the lower of the three streets and had views over the valley towards the sea. I could see the seaside villages of Itea and Galaxidi from my balcony beyond masses of olive trees.
My hotel was lovely and the staff very friendly. Despite telling me that single rooms, such as I had booked, were not on the side with a view, they directed me to a room on the side with the view. It was clean and comfortable and perfect for my one night there.
While the ancient site beckoned I knew it was hot and the crowds would be at their biggest so I decided to explore the town a bit and get some lunch instead. Once I sat down to eat I realised just how tired I was from all my travels and ended up sitting there for a couple of hours relaxing and enjoying the view. I had my first experience here of Greek generosity and hospitality. A complimentary plate of fruit after I finished eating, and then, when I tried to leave a tip, an insistence that it would only be accepted if I had a shot of their finest liqueur. How could I refuse?!
A bit more Delphi
Later in the afternoon I headed up to the ancient site of Delphi and the museum. I’ll make that my next post.