Delphi and Meteora, Greece

   Semester at Sea sent me to the town of Delphi, situated in upper central Greece to capture the beauty of this area. It sits in the valley of Phosis where olive trees are abundant and the busy sounds of the city are nonexistent. The archeological site of Delphi sits facing the Pleistos Valley on multiple terraces, along the slope of Mount Parnassus. Delphi was, at one point, believed to be the center of the earth by Zeus. Delphi is also known for the oracle Pythia. Pythia would sit on a tripod seat over a fissure in the earth, and tell prophesies that people thought were coming from Apollo possessing her spirit. As science advanced, it is theorized that Pythia was actually hallucinating due to the gas coming from the earth, which was high in ethylene. After exploring Delphi, I set off by bus to the monasteries of Meteora.
    I spent the night at the base of Meteora in the town of Kalambaka. I woke up early and upon looking out the window I could see clouds rolling over these massive sandstone columns at the edge of town. These monasteries have their origins with hermit monks seeking refuge in the hollows of the rocks around the 9th century. The first stop was the Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron. This monastery was erected in the 14th century and leaves you in awe of how it must have been built, on top of a cliff. The monasteries opened right as the sun was starting to light these sacred places. The grounds held a church, museum, and homes for all the monks along with numerous stray cats. I spent a few hours wandering around the church and museum while soaking in the 360 views from the terraces surrounding the grounds. I then went to the Holy Monastery of St. Stephen on another plain next to the cliffs. This monastery was inhabited by nuns who kept the grounds clean. This monastery also had the similar church, museum, and homes for the nuns as the Great Meteoron did. As the sun started to rise higher in the sky I departed the cliffs to head back to the ship and excitement to edit the photos I had taken on this visit.  

Students walk along the courtyard towards the columns of the Temple of Apollo.

Students walk along the courtyard towards the columns of the Temple of Apollo.

A view of the valley of Phosis from the grounds of Delphi. 

A view of the valley of Phosis from the grounds of Delphi. 

The theater of Delphi. 

The theater of Delphi. 

Pomegranate trees were abundant throughout the valley of Phosis.  

Pomegranate trees were abundant throughout the valley of Phosis.  

The road toward Meteora winds through the olive groves. 

The road toward Meteora winds through the olive groves. 

The view of Meteora's sandstone columns from the town of Kalambaka.

The view of Meteora's sandstone columns from the town of Kalambaka.

A view of Mammoth Rock as we drive up the access road to the monasteries.

A view of Mammoth Rock as we drive up the access road to the monasteries.

The Holy Monastery of Varlaam.

The Holy Monastery of Varlaam.

Monks and workers bring supplies to the monasteries by cable car high above the valleys below. 

Monks and workers bring supplies to the monasteries by cable car high above the valleys below. 

Skulls of the monks who lived in the Great Meteoron Monastery. 

Skulls of the monks who lived in the Great Meteoron Monastery. 

A smaller church tucked away in the gardens of the monastery. 

A smaller church tucked away in the gardens of the monastery. 

One of the many stray cats around the monastery. 

One of the many stray cats around the monastery. 

The Holy Monastery of St. Stephen perched on its cliff above the town of Kalambaka.

The Holy Monastery of St. Stephen perched on its cliff above the town of Kalambaka.