Room with a View
We got kicked off the boat bright and early, but not before having a last meal with our favorite trio. Then we caught a taxi to the bus station and remembered to ask how much before we got in, definitely an improvement over Patmos. However, I was not pleased to learn that it was going to be €30 when Frommer predicted €10. Our driver was funny though. He talked about the traffic and told us that everyone drives in Athens instead of taking public transportation, which is why the traffic is terrible, and his excuse was that “all Greeks are crazy!”
We arrived at the bus station and bought our tickets for Delphi, but then we had a bit of a wait. I was entertained by the “free smoking” sign in the waiting room and the woman underneath it lighting up.
I was not quite as entertained, however, with the bathroom. I knew that the toilets in Greece weren’t always up to U.S. standards, but I was hoping that since it was a bus station there’d be “acceptable” facilities. Well. FIRST I had to pay for toilet paper. That was annoying because all week I’d been carrying around extra toilet paper for just such an occasion, but then I’d finally thrown it out on the cruise since I hadn’t needed it so far. But - you can't not have toilet paper. So I paid for it and went into the bathroom. And then I saw the hole. The hole in the ground that resembled nothing like the toilets I have grown to know and love, and yet it still managed to have the same function as said toilets. Turning around and leaving, although my initial instinct, was not an option due to the three-hour bus ride ahead of me. I had enough sense to realize that a trip like that would be highly uncomfortable on a full bladder. AND I’d already paid for the toilet paper. So use the hole I did. (TP = €0.50 if you were wondering – a little pricey but it was a decent sized wad.)
When we finally boarded the bus, we decided to sit in the front row so that we’d have the best view during the trip. Margaret then noticed that we were in seats 3 and 4, which happened to be the ones assigned to us on the tickets! We’d completely forgotten that it wasn’t free seating, and we thought the coincidence was hilarious. Maybe you had to be there though.
Towards the end of our journey, we drove through an adorable little town – Arachova. There were a bunch of ski-rental shops, so I have a feeling there’s lots of snow during the winter, and we saw many little shops that sold bags and big fur blankets and Davey Crockett-esque caps. It was so strange driving up to the town because all the buildings are perched on Mt. Parnassus in the way that homes are in Santorini or the Cinque Terre, except that here rather than a view of the sea they are looking at huge and beautiful and very close mountains! It was strange, but very cool.
We finally made it to Delphi, and I was thrilled to see that it looked very similar to the mountain village we’d just passed through. We found our hotel easily (and yes, I did just say hotel and not hostel), and discovered that we had a balcony and an amazing view of the mountains and water below. Nicely done Margaret!
Margaret: Yea… that was an accident. I was actually looking for a hostel online but could not find one in Delphi so I chose this hotel because I was told from more than one site that is was the best value in Delphi. When I booked online they gave me a choice of which room I wanted (numbers 1-9) but failed to say what the difference was between them. I used my best judgment (5 is a pretty number) and booked the room. We received the keys and started to walk down the hall and I realized that room one was on my left (street side) and nine was on my right (the side with the view). I started getting nervous because I wasn’t sure where room five would be so as I slowly approached I was relieved to find that I had picked correctly and ended up with a view!
We went to the Temple of Apollo first, and (because Margaret forgot Frommers’ back at the hotel,) when we didn’t know what something was Margaret made up a use for it and we moved along. The setting was absolutely beautiful – Apollo did good to have his people worship him there. It was very peaceful and I felt somewhat isolated, but in a good way. I loved the fresh air and the quiet, especially after a week of first Athens’ smog and then constantly being surrounded by cruise ship tourists. So it was a nice change. The only damper on the site was the one, stereotypically loud, annoying American family.
After that we went down the road to check out Athena’s temple. It wasn’t extremely exciting, but the pillars made me laugh. They had giant spots on them and reminded me of a cow.
Another thing that amused me was that today, after complaining all week about how many pictures I’d been taking, Margaret finally (and subconsciously) just stopped walking whenever I pulled out my camera and waited for the sound of the lens cap being replaced before moving again. I guess I trained her well! (Pavlov anyone?)
In our hotel I was thrilled, although not surprised, to see a toilet. I was rather confused however about how to flush it. Margaret was actually the one who discovered the secret though – the tank is up high on the wall and there is a chain hanging down from it that you pull to flush – NOT obvious at all. But at least there’s someplace to sit!