Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Delphi: The Navel of the Earth

This past weekend, the study abroad students traveled to Delphi and Athens. I'll write about Delphi first and return to write about Athens later. Delphi was a quiet little mountain town. Perhaps it's more hustle and bustle during the high-tourist-season-of-summer, but for us, the town was tranquil. There was one other large group of visitors, 90 high school students from Belgium. But other than that, we had the town to ourselves. 

After an 8 hour bus ride to Delphi, we wandered around the town, leisurely shopping and grabbing coffee and just passing the time. I met a handful of the Belgium's in a store when I went in to grab a bottle of water and they were all picking up snacks/beers and were in line in front of me. Being me (aka friendly) I just asked them: "So where are you guys from?" They stared at me like I had four eyes and I said: "Wait, do you not speak English?" Then they all gushed to say: "Yes, yes we do. We're from Beligium. Where are you from? Etc." And so our conversation began. After our purchases we headed outside to the sunshine and talked about various sundry topics. They were all 17-18 but there was one 20 year old amongst them. I get along just fine with younger people, so I didn't scorn their youth like a bunch of my fellow American study abroad students. They were all so excited to speak to an American. When some of their other friends walked by they shouted: "HEY! WE FOUND AN AMERICAN!" Then their other friends joined the conversation. Basically, we had a great conversation and on of my favorite moments when I asked what the 20 year old, Bran, where he he wanted to live after school and he said: "Norway." I asked why and he said: "Norway, now that's a country." 

After a 15 minute conversation or so, I rejoined my group of Americans and we continued to we grabbed a coffee. Tianna decided to do the "Cinnamon Challenge" where you try to swallow a teaspoon full of cinnamon. I've only watched one other person, Dustin Bork, attempt such a feat and it ended the same way for Tianna that it did for Bork...badly. Tianna ended up exhaling clouds of cinnamon and having to run to the trashcan and gargle and spit up cinnamon. Yuck. 

A group of 10 of us went to dinner together and had a traditional dinner of Mousaka and other Greek dishes. Then we all decided to go out to a club with the whole group and wouldn't you know that it was the same club that all the Belgium students decided to go to as well. 

my darling Belgium buddy, Steena!
We were at the club from 10 until 1:30 am (which was more on the American schedule of things but since we had to wake up at 7 am for our day, we were happy to go back early). Steena, a senior in high school, because my "twin" as she liked to say and we spent most of the night dancing and laughing together. She was a sweetheart and enjoyed copying my goofy dance moves. It was a very, very fun night.

When us Americans returned to the hotel we decided to play "Dare or Dare." Things didn't get too out of hand (not like it does with my Camp Foster friends), but it still was hilarious. And what happens in Dare or Dare, stays in Dare or Dare.

In the morning, we wok up at 7 am and had a huge breakfast buffet and then we went off to see the Delphi museum and hike up to where the Oracle of Delphi used to give her advice and guidance. We also saw the stadium and theatre of Delphi. The scenery was STUNNING. I mean, absolutely breathtaking.

I mean, look at those pictures! Everything in Delphi was so green and so vibrant, positively swimming with life! It was a glorious days and the flowers were blooming and everything was glowing. I finally got the "picture of my dreams"--myself laying in a bed of flowers. Not only did I love Delphi because of it's natural beauty, but I also love it's historical significance. The fact that people would travel from all over to consult the oracles for advice and guidance, people as famous as Alexander the Great. The profound words that were inscribed on the temple's front was: Know Thyself and Nothing in Excess. Delphi was a cultural hub, a place where people from all around the world gathered and shared knowledge and ideas. 

Our tour guide described Delphi as: "The Navel of the Earth."

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