My first stop in Greece was ancient Delphi. To paraphrase my Lonely Planet guide, if the Greeks hadn’t put the Sanctuary of Apollo on this spot, someone else would have found a reason to make it a tourist destination. They are quite right. The lonely mountainside location has amazing vistas out to the ocean in one direction and across wide valleys in the other. Sanctuary of Apollo and smaller one dedicated to Athena were completely buried by time and a small local village actually had to be relocated to unearth them but there is a surprising amount remaining, parts of which have been delicately reconstructed to give a sense of the place. What struck me the most of the entire site was actually one remaining Ionic column capital which completely blew me away. I’ve been accustomed to thinking of Ionic and Doric columns as inferior predecessors of the Corinthian but here in Greece I’ve seen that it is a beautiful thing in its own right.
The excellent museum was filled with artifacts and more delicate statuary recovered from the site. It was deliciously un-filled with tourists. A few buses came and went while I wandered but for the most part the whole area was decidedly un populated. Oh the joys of winter time travel.