I’d like so much to linger in the charm of the unseen gates of Delphi. But there are other place to mark… Originally we did not know what. A. gets to chat to the all-ointment greased Greek and we find out with great amazement that he has a full bunch of travel options around Delphi. Under the nicely polished desk there is a huge file organized in pockets, with detailed maps for each destination. Still obsessing with caves, A. comes triumphantly with the information. There is a cave of Pan there, we will go, we will go…
And there we go. Crossing the huge, massive mountain, we enter the ski area. The view is incredible, but the entire place looks like someone threw an atomic bomb. I guess during the winter it comes to life, but now it looks like one of those Western ghost towns, where the only moving thing is the tumbleweed. We have pretty clear instructions, what is the bed and breakfast that we need to find to turn left, follow the signs and climb the endless series of tight curves, until there is little space between the gap and the left wheel of the car. I am tightening my grip onto the door handle. As I am thinking it would be better to turn the car in the first place that allows for it, we get to a small widened – or rounded – portion. Sneakers on, and we continue on the rocky path that leads to the much desired cave… not so touristic, but for sure full of potential .
Entering a huge hall, we see a narrowing portion to the back. It is a gigantic exhibition of weird shapes looking like beings crystallized in the calcite mass, and the sensation of Presence is overwhelming. We plant small offerings here and there, approaching the end of the hall – it looks like an enormous altar, and I feel I need to stop there, this is the place we need to light the candles. I set nicely the whole array to be set, including myself, as I. and A., adventurous as usual, want to explore more and head towards the end of this natural temple. They want to climb the slippery ropes and go beyond, of course. Beyond, the cave continues with other treasures. I open the space, take the first photos with my tiny camera and on its small screen I see the first light beings, crystalline, shining, round or oval. They make the camera focus on them and not on what I am trying to take. Orbs of light, halucinating and so diverse.
The daring ones come back quickly from their exploration trip, less muddy than expected. They join me, the triangle seems to mirror the three side entrance of the cave and we plunge into the sense beyond understanding of this place, in that something that called us from thousands of kilometers. Light floods us, loaded with all sort of information. It feels like a zip folder, we will have to decompress them and digest them later. Also, upgrades, to keep the informatics analogy. t One clear fact is that our subsequent photos, after this phase show us all surrounded by light. The auras are captured on my tiny camera. Two Greek women enter the space with their partners, see us meditating, tiptoe and whisper. When they see us packing, they are excusing for the interruption. No, they did not interrupt anything. Something has just opened here, and they are the first ones to take advantage of this new Gate.
The road back to the valley is much more spectacular than the road up. We have completely crossed the Parnassus and and we are descending, descending, descending towards the sea. On the side of the road, ripe cherry plum trees wave at us, so we stop and taste the rather sour fruit, yellow, refreshing, compensating the lack of water. We ran out of water in the cave. MOuntain landscape, with the fierce and massive rocks, continue until we approach the highway that brought us from Katerini to Athens.
A brief recharging brake in Lamia brings us to a city that looks dead. There is an advantage about Sundays: less road tax, we saved a lot of euros, but when it comes to looking for a restaurant…. dificult.
Facem o scurtă oprire în Lamia, pentru redresare. Oraşul pare mort. Duminicile au avantajul că nu plăteşti taxe de autostradă, am scăpat de o grămadă de euro aruncaţi pe asfalt, dar şi când e să cauţi un restaurant…. greu, greu.
Downtown, we park and find a street that is packed with restaurants, but… God… only grill. We manage to find a hidden one and if my little Greek works, the translation of the name would be The Street of Dreams. Good inspiration, we had wonderful vegetarian Greek specials. And, clearly, we are made for good restaurants .
We linger for another break in Thermopile, to please our warrior in the group. Greeks take advantage of everything when it comes to tourism. Not much here, except a monument and a board depicting the sea level at that time – now it is withdrawn -. The nearby hills are resonating the wailing and crying of the dead beneath the apparent silence. Far away, a vertical wall, like a limit of the trap of the butchery Greeks applied to the Persians holds a perfect, absolutely perfect, round hole, like a Window of the Ogres. Beneath it, the hill where the 300 died, bait for the Persian army of one million fighters, that got the worst beat in its history.
In the dusty parking lot, a fruit laden fig tree seems to wink at us. A. ignores the drunk Greek, asleep on the bench, under the generous shadow of the tre that hosts a wealth of violet, sweet fruit. She takes her slippers off and climbs, cat-like, searching for the much desired pray. The Greek kind of wakes up from his drunken meditation and points to her where to step and how to pick . They seem to get along wonderfully.
Driving down, on the road to the sea side, on the right and left side there are two options – two villages. We choose randomly the one on the right, Stomio, and drive into a wonderful seaside slope, crammed with tiny hotels and bed-and-breakfasts. A typical Greek woman sits in the door of one of those, dressed in black, really serious. She waves, we come and there we go: 25 euro per night, a step way from where the waves break.
We need our Metaxa, quick, quick, and then the evening swim. The sea is incredible, soft and silent and silky, and we float like jellyfish until or fingers get crumpled, and the sun slips behind the mountains.
Another sip of brandy stirs the appetite and we descend to the terrace built above the singing waves. We are surrounded by cats and dogs. We choose a humongous fish, two kilos, it will be expensive, and ask for grilled vegetables. The Greek does not know how to do that and we end with plain fisherman’s food, everything grilled, no oil, no salt, nothing. I. gets annoyed by the basic food, but us, girls, have a great time with the wonderful dorada, and dress the plain veggies with an ad hoc potion made of lemon, oil, salt and pepper… it is really tasty.
Tomorrow, big day. Up on Olympus. And our Greek adventure is getting close to its end. For now.