Friday, September 10, 2010

Day 6 - The Oracle

It's a thirty minute twenty-one hundred foot white-knuckle bus ride from the town of Itea on the Gulf of Corinth up to Delphi. You pass through one of the largest olive groves in the world and find yourself struck by the arid climate -- not a drop of water to be seen. Dry creekbeds remind of past rains and the people appear to be inside hiding from the 90 degree heat.

In Delphi, the shops are open because everyone knows there's a cruise ship in port, but the restaurants are empty in early afternoon (Greeks have lunch at 3pm). We step off the bus in town and walk a kilometer to the Oracle, which is hidden behind a bend in the road so that pirates from twenty-seven hundred years ago could not observe it from the sea.

One is immediately impressed by the topography -- to the left of the road the Oracle rises steeply and to the right the gorge of Pleistos Valley drops off preceptisely a thousand feet or so. You climb the zig-zag path by the (new) Roman columns, past the Athenian Treasury, and on to the Temple. Its six columns point to the sky like arrows pointing at Zeus. Above the Temple is the amphitheater and above it the stadium where the Pythian Games were held. The site takes your breath away as you contemplate the Greeks trekking in from the four corners of their country to seek the Oracle's advice.

Why here? Zeus sent out two eagles to find the center (navel) of the earth and they came together here. There is actually a navel stone on the site designating the center of the earth.

1 comment:

Vicky Alvear Shecter said...

Thanks for creating such a strong visual. I've never been there but hope to someday. Until then, I can read about it...