I am blessed to be of Greek heritage and have the opportunity to spend a few weeks in Greece every year. Both sides of my family originated in a small village in the Peloponnese, near Sparta.
After a three hour drive south from Athens, my heartstrings are singing as I arrive in my beloved family village! In the embrace of the Lakonian valley, with the Taygetos mountain range surrounding the olive groves, I am home.
A short drive takes me to the seaside town of Gytheio, a small port community where the ferries leave daily for Crete and smaller islands, where I stay in a lovely beach house.
Day tripping….Majestic Temple of Poseidon in Sounion.
A beautiful coastal drive from Athens, approximately an hour and a half , I arrive at Cape Sounion; where I first visited as a young girl.
Sitting high on a cliff overlooking the Aegean Sea, on the “Sacred Cape”, is the Temple of Poseidon, built around 440BC and constructed of marble found four miles away. The site is renowned for it’s breathtaking sunsets.
The temple was built as a dedication to Poseidon, God of the Sea. A nearby beach bears my family name and of course, I have to spend a day swimming in the aqua blue waters!
A particularly memorable road trip was a pilgrimage to Delphi and the origin of the the Oracle; a six hour journey from my seaside retreat, located north west of Athens.
The Pythia, name of the High Priestess of the Temple of Apollo, served as the Oracle, commonly known as the Oracle of Delphi. Given that the last 30 years I have served as an intuitive reader, this was an epic event for me.
The Pythia was established in the 8th century BC, and was widely known for her prophecies inspired by the spirit of the god Apollo. A tribute to Pythia is seen in the film “300”, the story of the Spartans’ epic battle.
I was not prepared for the magical energy and stunning views of this sacred place. Tucked high up on Mount Parnassus, Delphi is a tiered town, with many shoppes, delightful tavernas and cafés.
My day started early, before the high heat of the sun. First, the Delphi museum highlighting the Temples of Apollo and Athena, an ancient theatre and the oldest, intact stadium in Greece. Numerous artifacts depict life in Delphi are on exhibit.
The marble and stone path up the steep mountain leads you past the various ruins to the top where the ancient stadium still stands. A slow and steady climb takes approximately an hour; taking care when walking on the slippery marble.
A triumphant feeling arises when I reach the summit!
The lower walkways take you to the Temple of Athena, where women have travelled to honour Gaia, the goddess of the Earth, for centuries.
I look forward to returning to Delphi and invite others to join me on a magical sojourn!
More musings of my time in Greece to come….