Embarking on a 1997 bus tour of Greece, itself a novel experience for us inveterate drive-yourself travellers, proved interesting and unexpectedly pleasant. It was a nicely compatible group, mostly from the United States, plus seven Canadians, four Australians, a family from India, and a few young people from Malaysia. Our hostess guide was Stella, a vivacious Greek lady with a unique background as a teacher with degrees in architectural history and English literature. From her we gained a whole new appreciation for the incredibly diverse impact of Greek culture upon modern civilization.
The spectacular Corinth Canal, one of our first highlights, allows shipping between the Peloponnese peninsula and the Greek mainland.
Another destination was the imposing base of the ancient Mycenae civilization dating from about the 15th century BC.
Other notable sites visited along the way included Olympia where the first Olympic Games were held. One of our tour group insisted on walking the entire course while most of us clustered close to the entrance way.
Of all the historically important sites we visited, one of the most awesome to behold was Delphi, revered by the ancients as the centre of the world and home of the supreme oracle to which both the mighty and the multitudes flocked for enigmatic guidance.
Perched high among the crags of Mount Parnassos, the site is inspiring in its lofty grandeur.
Proud remnants of the Temples of Apollo and Athena stir the soul with imaginings of the thousands who journeyed to this remote and frightening mountainside to worship ancient deities.
This is classic earthquake country. It is said the messages of the Delphic Oracle were expressed in the garbled mouthings of maidens swooning from volcanic vapours rising in mountainside caverns.
It took a council of elders to analyze what these meant and they, like so many modern committees, usually produced an interpretation capable of supporting opposite views on any particular issue.
Fans of public speaking venues had to be overwhelmed at Epidaurus where phenomenal acoustics rendered the softest whispers to be heard throughout this huge amphitheatre.