Monday, July 7, 2008

Delphi, Kalambaka, Greece

After 3 days at sea and visit to 4 Greek islands, we got back to the mainland this morning. The cruise has been great and the organisation generally good except for the disembarkation this morning. There was a queue all eager to get out and it was moving rather slowly. That was because some passengers had not settled their bills earlier (as was advised) and that led to some delays in the checkout. I took some early morning shots of the Piraeus harbour that was very tranquil before the rush of activities later in the morning.

There were several taxis waiting to pick up their passengers to join other coach tours or send them back to their hotels in Athens. We were picked up in one taxi and dropped off at the coach tour terminal in Athens and waited for our 2-day tour coach to Delphi and Meteora. On the way to Delphi, we passed through the picturesque village of Arachova which looked just like a postcard. Below are some views of Arachova.

After a short ride on the mountainous road, we arrived at the ancient site of Delphi and it is breath-taking amidst the mountain setting. In Greek legend, Delphi is the centre of the earth and there is a stone (egg shaped in the photo below) that marked the spot. I marvelled at how those temples and monuments can be constructed at such a location, thousand of years ago without modern machinery.

From Delphi we switched to another bus to join another group (that was on a 4-day tour) to continue our journey to Kalambaka, the town where tourists stay before setting off to Meteora. (The tours in Greece and highly organised and they switch buses to maximised their loading.) We had lunch at a roadside restaurant that is famous for its roast pork. It was good but a bit tough. Just before Kalambaka, we visited a workshop where the gold-framed icons are hand-painted and where the overall process is explained and demonstrated. This was also a big souvenir shop. Anyway, I was more interested in the free drinks and Greek "sweets" samples that were given out.
After checking into the hotel at Kalambaka, we had time to walk around the town before we had our buffet dinner at the hotel. From the town we had a good view of the Meteora rocks and I wondered how are we going to the monasteries sitting at the top?

We found out the next day.

Ronald Kwok

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