For a special tour during these next two days with Joanna from Los Angeles, she will take the national highway and lead north from Athens to Delphi where she will see farmland consisting of cotton, tomato and watermelon fields. Approximately 45 minutes later, she makes a quick stop to see the reservoir of Athens and continue to travel through a livadi (meadow) which is surrounded by mountains on both sides.
After Joanna arrives at Delphi, she learns that worshipers believed that they could hear the prose of the god Apollo, spoken through a priestess, or Pythia (over the age of 50 years old). Questioners paid a levy called a pelanos and sacrificed an animal on the altar. The questions were then put to the Pythia by a male priest and she would answer in a trance (unfortunately, the answers were often ambiguous), perhaps induced by vapors from a crack in the ground under her feet. Joanna says that individuals from all over the ancient world visited Delphi to consult the god on what course of action to take, both in private and public life. The site and museum are open from April-October Mon-Fri 7:30 am-3:00 pm and Sat-Sun-8:30 am-3:00 pm Saturday and Sunday.
Next, Joanna and her driver drive travels through the mountains and the Thessaliko Valley. “A wonderful night’s sleep, we will see six phenomenal monasteries, which were built on top of gigantic rocks in the 14th century.” Joanna says that Meteora was used as a religious retreat when, in 985, a hermit named Barnabas occupied a cave here. Rousanou is perched precariously on the very tip of a narrow spire of rock and is he most spectacular of monasteries. Did you know that the church of the Metamorphosis is renowned for its frescoes painted in 1560?
The hours of operation for the monasteries are as follows: Megalo Meteora is open on Monday, Wednesday-Sunday. Rousanou is open daily. Agia Triada is open daily. Agios Stefanos is open Tuesday-Sunday. Varlam is open Monday-Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Agiou Nikolaou is open April-October daily. All monasteries are shut from 1:00-3:00 pm.
Join Joanna on her return to Athens after you have enjoyed lunch along the way. What did you think of Delphi and Meteora? Did you hear the oracle of Delphi? Did you explore Meteora by walking up those countless stairs? “Meteora is my favorite location. Was it yours?