Keen to take in one more ‘must see’ site before going to ground for a while we spent a night just outside Delphi. Once the sun was up and about we revved up and motored on down to beat the crowds to the site of the ancient city that was built around the Temple of Apollo a good long time ago (disclaimer – I didn’t even get an O-level in History, so don’t expect any historical accuracies from me). First things first, we thought, so we cut away to get to the top end of the site before the view could be spoiled by all the other tourists.
Mission accomplished! On the way back down you couldn’t help but notice how the whole area was littered with old bits of ancient Greek buildings. Some had been piled back on top of each other, giving a rough idea of how parts of the city might perhaps have looked, but there was still a long way to go.
None the less, we found the whole thing quite entrancing and spent the best part of the morning peering at bits and pieces. No sign of any Oracular activity, though, which was a shame. We could have done with some useful insights, such as the probability of snow at Christmas for example, but it was not to be. Maybe next time… And in case you’re wondering what the Temple of Apollo looks like these days, here’s a quick shot of what’s left of it:
The old sports stadium, on the other hand, was very much still a viable concern, even if the turnstiles and directors’ boxes had long since vanished. The length of the running area was, we were told, about 178 yards – they used to race up to 18 blokes at a time over that distance, which must have made the finishes hard to sort out.
Longer races were run as well, the longest being something like 22 laps, or just over 3,000 metres – but looking at the width of the area, there was no real way to set out the oval running track that we use to day, so they must have had to perform some sort of monstrous shuttle run race. Rather them than us, we felt, as we climbed back down to the road, ready to resume our rootless vagabond-like existence.
Back on the road we headed towards one of the relatively few campsites that stayed open all year round. Pausing for a late lunch we couldn’t help noticing how the dog decided to shun the comfort and shade of our vehicle for the arid dust of the wilderness.
Keeping half an eye on her in case the local carrion decided that she was actually roadkill, we made a couple of notes to self regarding the money to be saved in future by buying a sack of gravel instead of all those non-allergenic, vet-approved, washable, E-Z-Sleep designer dog beds. Having recovered the corpse-like dog and suffered a bit more taunting from the supercilious satnav
we drove on for a couple of hours along totally deserted roads until we turned up at the gates of Ionion Beach Camping, where we were to hole up for a bit. It was the work of a moment to deploy the awning, shove the chairs and table outside and grab a towel and head for the beach, which was all of 80 yards away:
The pace of life since then has been agreeably slack. The weather has been constantly fine without being too hot and the sea has been behaving itself. So far so good, then. And to add a little excitement to what might otherwise be a rather predictable bout of lotus-eating, the local tectonic plates have been rather active and most days have seen some early morning minor earthquakes. Nothing overly dramatic yet – no gigantic fissures in the earth devouring campervans and campers alike; toppling buildings have been notably absent from the day’s events; and the sea level has remained pretty much where it always has been. We’ve disproved a piece of folklore too; animals, we’d always thought, were able to detect earthquakes and would flee the area well ahead of the event. Not so.
Our creature has, if anything, spent more time than usual kipping and has been a total and utter failure as an earthquake predicting dog. Probably just as well, since neither of us rate our chances very highly at catching a fleeing lurcher, even one as portly as ours. On the other hand, if there is going to be a sizeable tectonic event any time soon, perhaps we’d better conduct some pre-emptive evacuation; also, after five days in the same place we are starting to get itchy feet again. So we’ll do a little post-breakfast planning on the morrow, stick a pin in the map and work out how to get there. Stay tuned…