This weekend was spent mostly in transit, going from one beautiful historic and cultural location to the next as we travelled to Athens. Not having access to Wi-Fi was hard on some of the team, but I was very content being disconnected from everything and able to only think about the spectacular sights we were taking in.
Our first stop was Meteora, home of the floating monasteries from the 14th century. We walked through the churches, and looked over the beautiful peaks. The monasteries are special in that they were built around a lake on top of rocks. Now, the lake is gone and they are left standing in the air hundreds of meters up on precarious heights. As we walked through, I understood why the monks and nuns had been using these monasteries for hundreds of years to feel close to God.
After leaving Meteora, we went down to the town at the base of the rocky cliffs. There, we stayed in a hotel, had fun swimming, and walked through the small tourist town for dinner.
The next morning, we woke and hopped back on the bus to get to ancient Delphi, the temple of Apollo that housed the ancient Greek prophets, for whom people traveled from all over the country to hear their fortune told. We walked through the museum of artifacts that had been returned, or unearthed from the priests burying the artifacts to save them from looters. Many of the artifacts were once gifts or offerings to Apollo sent to Delphi in thanks for fortunes that came true.
We climbed the hill above the museum and saw the ruins of the city-state banks that people used to pay to hear their fortune, the temple where the priests and the prophetess would be, and then further up to where the amphitheater and sports arena still stand.
We hopped back on the bus, stopping quickly for ice cream in a small town nearby, and then we arrived at our hotel in Athens.
I’m excited to be in Athens now, and I’m excited to go to the acropolis and the museum and the pantheon tomorrow afternoon. But so far, I’m somewhat overwhelmed by Athens. We’re here for a shorter amount of time in a larger city, and we have so many more outlets for our work but also so much to see and do.
I hope we will have time to explore and see this city, but I don’t think we will be able to gain as good of an understanding of it as we could in Thessaloniki. Everyone is already hitting the ground running with their stories and interviews, and I’m hoping to do the same in the next few days.