Delphi | Greece

22 June 2020

It was a rainy and gloomy morning. The roads twisted and turned with every new mountain top. We were level with the clouds now. The vast gorges below were no longer visible. I never imagined Greece to be like this: mountainous and tall. The Greece I always imagined was coastal and blue. But here, amongst the clouds, I felt closer to the Greek Myths I so often learned about in my ancient history classes. 

Sergi, our guide, was a wealth of knowledge. He told us we were approaching the center of the world. At least, according to Greek Gods. High on the slope of Mount Parnassus we were about to see one of the most sacred sites of the ancient world: Delphi. 

The myths of Delphi date back some three thousand years ago. Delphi was the location Zeus had chosen as the center of the mortal world. Apollo protected the site with a serpent like dragon. These myths carried across the ancient world, and people flocked to Delphi to worship the gods. 

The site of Delphi consists of a museum with some of the most important statues and pieces of art excavated from the mountainside. However, it is the site itself you want to see. The ruins of Apollo's temple amongst others are still standing. The more I explored the ancient ruins the more I realized why people believed this to be the center of the world. It is a place that brings people together with its beauty and wonder. 

There is no easy way to get to Delphi. It is a two hour car ride from Athens up winding and sometimes sickening roads. But, having said that, if you can make the trip you will not regret it. Walking the slope of the mountain, amongst some of the oldest ruins in the world, is nothing short of incredible. 


Meteora | Greece

10 June 2020

Images of Greece often focus on blue water and white stone. For me, it was hard to image places in Greece other than Athens, Santorini, or even the legendary city-state of Sparta. However, there are parts of Greece that are hidden from the rest fo the world. Parts of Greece that I had never even heard of until I visited for myself.

The trek to Meteora is winding and long. From Athens it is a four hour car ride through mountains and plains. I have to admit, I didn't see what all the fuss was about. Why did our guide want to take us North? Wasn't all the history South? 

Little did I know that our guide was taking us to one of the most magical, best kept secrets in Greece: A place called Meteora. 

The name Meteora means "hovering in air". Here you will find six monasteries built on natural mountainous boulders, an illusion that makes them look like they are "hovering in air". The air here was crisp. Tiny snowflakes fell around us as we stopped on the edge of a boulder to look at the sight in front of us. My doubts about this place drained away, and I was left staring at one of the most magical places on Earth. 

Monks began inhabiting the caves of Meteora in the 11th century. Over time some of the most complex buildings in the world were built on top of these rare rock formations. The only way to reach these buildings up until the 19th century was by ladder and rope. Today only six of the original 24 monasteries still stand. Each one holds unique art and architecture that can only be found in this part of the world. 

Things to Know Before You Visit

How to Get There: Although we took a car to Meteora, you can catch a train and then a bus to the monasteries from Athens. 

High vs. Off Season: We went in March and virtually had all six monasteries to ourselves. However, the summer months are exceptionally busy. Keep that in mind when planning your trip.

Dress Code: There IS a dress code for the monasteries. Everyone must have their shoulders covered. Girls will be provided with a skirt that you can put over your jeans, men must wear long pants. You will be denied entry if you are not dressed appropriately. 


Verona | Italy

04 April 2020

"In fair Verona, where we lay our scene"...

My trip to Italy was full of famous cities; Rome, Florence, Pisa, and Venice to name a few. Each one of those cities I knew what to expect. The sites and scenes of each one of those cities can be found on Instagram or blogs. However, Verona is a city famous for its name but not famous for its sites. I had no idea what to expect from the city that sets the backdrop fro Romeo and Juliet. Was it industrial? Was it touristy? Would it be like Pisa (don't get me started on the tourist trap that is Pisa, Italy). As our bus pulled alongside the flowing waters of the Adige, I caught my breath. No, Verona was something different entirely. 

Verona is a city seeping with history and architecture. As you walk through the quiet streets you may spot the Scaliger Tombs, tall structures marking the burial sites of the lords of Verona from the 13th and 14th centuries. 

Not far from the tombs you can wander through Pizazza Dei Signori, easy to identify from it's Dante statue standing tall in the center.

Walking down the alley further you reach one of the most remarkable piazza's in Italy, Piazza Delle Erbe. Famous for its daily market it is the perfect place to grab lunch or just to watch the locals as they go about their market shopping. 

I knew from the movie "Letters from Juliet" that Verona had a famous arena but I was stunned when I finally visited Arena di Verona. This famous arena is in excellent condition considering it was completed around 30 AD. It is still used today for concerts, which just shows how much the locals appreciate using the history around them as part off their daily lives. 

And lastly, no trip to Verona is complete without visiting some Romeo and Juliet sites. Casa di Romeo (the 14th century home believed to be where the real Montague family lived) and Casa di Giulietta (the 13th century home of the Capello family) are remarkable buildings on their own. The legacy of the two families has lived on for hundreds of years, inspiring people from around the world to leave letters to Juliet and touch Juliet's statue. 

Verona was so unexpected. The city is full of charm and character, making it a must visit when in the region.