Day 6: Delphi Day!

Denison Conquers Mt Parnassos

by Chiara Burson and Rebecca Van Marter

Our day began with an early morning in Athens! After a quick breakfast at the hotel, we embarked on our trip to Delphi. The bus ride was about three hours with a rest stop in the middle. I and other students took a nap while others listened to music or watched the beautiful scenery Greece has to offer through the window. This rest stop had EVERYTHING from the typical drinks and snacks to scarves and other trinkets. It even had skis! 

Rebecca: At the rest stop I bought mini cream-filled croissants and oregano-flavored potato chips. I had never seen oregano potato chips before but they were tasty!

Chiara: The quick rest stop was definitely a relief from the long drive. I finally got a working adapter and also snagged some Pringles for a taste of home!

After our stop, we were on our way to the Delphi Archaeological Site. In Greek mythology, Delphi is considered the center, or the belly button, of the world. It is also regarded as the dwelling place of both Apollo and the Oracle of Delphi who was a high priestess named Pythia. Many individuals made the pilgrimage to the Oracle to ask for guidance or advice about any issue that plagued them. The mountain and water scenery at Delphi is absolutely breathtaking and we found ourselves constantly stopping to take photos.

We hiked up Mount Parnassus with our first location being the upper site. At the upper site, we first looked at the Athenian Treasury. This building was used as a repository for the wealth and offerings made by the citizens of Athens. The second site we looked at was the Siphnian Treasury. Which, similarly to the Athenian Treasury, was used for the offerings made by citizens of Siphnos. Both of us were intrigued by the Caryatids that would have been part of this building. We later saw the upper torso of one of them in the museum. They reminded us of the caryatids we saw at the Erechtheum. Next, we looked at the Altar of Apollo and the Temple of Apollo. The Temple of Apollo serves as a Panhellenic sanctuary for all Greek settlements. Both of these structures are dedicated to Apollo as he is the god that resides at Delphi.

Rebecca: We continued our physically taxing hike up the mountain to look at the Stadium (seriously, my legs will be stronger than they have ever been by the end of this trip). 

Chiara: As exhausting as the hike was (at least for me because my allergies decided that they hated Delphi), I did find that it was actually easier than several other hikes we’ve done on this trip. It’s like our bodies are adjusting to the time difference and rocky terrain at the same time.

This stadium was used during the Pythian Games for track and field events. Being able to see spectator stands as well as the track was incredibly interesting and I am excited to see the Stadium at Olympia tomorrow! After this structure, we began our procession down the mountain for a lunch break. Most students either ate from the cafe near the museum or something they had purchased from the rest stop. As we sat outside and ate, many of the stray dogs and cats that roam the area wandered over to visit (and beg for food).

Our next stop of the day was the Delphi Archaeological Museum. This museum houses a collection of ancient Greek art objects from the Delphi site, including statues and architectural elements. One of the objects that impressed us the most was the Charioteer of Delphi. We learned earlier during the trip that only about 60 bronze statues still exist today from this period since many were melted down to be repurposed. I was impressed by the immense detail of the object. The pleats of the garments were distinct and the facial features were incredibly detailed. From the eyelashes to the toenails this statue is certainly an impressive artistic feat! A second object that stood out to us was a small bronze depiction of Odysseus under the belly of a ram. Professor Goldman pointed out that this was a reference to the tale of the Cyclops where Odysseus’s only option for escaping the Cyclops is to ride out of the cave on the stomach of a ram. Both of us love to see myths we have read about depicted in art from countless years prior. It serves as a reminder that these stories we have been learning about have been told for centuries.

After sketching our chosen objects, our trip to the museum was wrapped up and we made our way to the Acropole Hotel. The view from many of our hotel rooms features more scenery of those stunning mountains. After checking into the hotel, we split into groups to eat dinner and wander around the charming shops on the main streets of Delphi. 

Rebecca: As an avid lover of mountains, Delphi had been the day that I was most looking forward to on the trip. I will admit I had high expectations, but every single one of them was exceeded. The combination of whimsical water and mountain scenery with the spectacular ancient structures mix together to create a truly magical environment. I am looking forward to returning someday hopefully soon. 

Chiara: I knew Greece was a mountainous country before, but I never could have anticipated the sheer beauty of seeing them in person. The ruins built on or into a mountain sound remarkable just by reference, much less seeing them in person and just realizing how big and intact they truly are.