Dates: 09/10/09 – 09/14/09
Distance: 40 nm
Sailed from: Patras
Both of us are having a hard time imagining that we are actually here in the Gulf of Corinth in Galaxidi, a small harbor just a short distance from Delphi, the place the ancient Greeks considered the center of the world. After departing Patras this morning, we passed under the Rion Bridge and out of the Gulf of Patras. We were not sorry to leave that stormy body of water.
We found a space alongside the town quay which has recently been refurbished and is looking quite spiffy against the backdrop of a quaint Greek town that reminded us a little of an Italian village. Tommy, the harbormaster and colorful local character, greeted us at the dock and called us by our first names thereafter. The more entrepreneurial Andreas, the man you see about hooking up water and electricity and taking on fuel, was more gruff but also helpful to the crews on visiting yachts. An excellent bakery was just a five minute walk away.
We picked the busiest taverna for dinner that night and found ourselves in the company of all the other yachties in town, however, no one interacted much with each other. Like many places we have been, people of different nationalities and on different types of boats (charter vs. cruising and power vs. sail) don’t seem to interact as much as we would have expected. We shared a carafe of house wine, Lisa had a delicious baked fish, and David finished off a grilled pork chop without much trouble before we retired for the night.
Early the next morning, the winds picked up, blowing straight into the small harbor. Although the fetch of open water across to the north side of the bay was not large, it was still enough to create a one-foot chop in the harbor. For awhile, we enjoyed a small amount of protection from being in the lee of a large sailing yacht, but as soon as it left, we felt the full force of the wind and chop. It wasn’t very comfortable but at least it wasn’t dangerous, so we decided to stay until the bad weather cleared which took two more days. For the worst of it, we barely left the boat which was secured to the dock with a spider web of lines. Just as our nerves were completely frazzled, the wind abated a bit, so we rented a bright yellow car for the day and drove to Delphi on Saturday.
In Delphi, we visited the archeological museum and admired the awesome collection of Greek art. The highlight was the head of a large statue of Apollo with forged gold ornamentation. We were also amazed by the friezes recovered from the temples in Ancient Delphi, including one of the labors of Hercules. We found a few pieces of Phoenician art and one piece depicting a story from Homer’s Odyssey.
We took a break from history tourism and enjoyed lunch in a taverna with a spectacular view of the Gulf of Corinth. Here we could appreciate the incredible geography of Delphi which was built high on the slopes of a deep ravine. On the seaward side, the settlement flattened onto an alluvial plain planted with thousands of acres of olive groves. The view up the valley from Ancient Delphi was equally spectacular, looking like a scene from an antique painting. We spent the afternoon visiting the Temple of Athena and the Temple of Apollo. We didn’t find any signs of the Oracle of Delphi despite our great interest in seeking Apollo’s predictions as the ancients did.