It is of lit­tle won­der that the Greeks cross them­selves so often. With tree-cov­ered moun­tains con­vers­ing with deep val­leys and streams that gur­gle their way to the sea, one half expects God to step down from the clouds to say hel­lo. Del­phi is Aslan coun­try, and I imag­ine the Great Lion leap­ing over moun­tains with an ease that the wheez­ing, groan­ing tour coach­es can only eye with jeal­ousy. I often stop and think of Edward Lear, walk­ing through the same ter­rain, but with­out the ben­e­fit of mod­ern ameni­ties. Epilep­tic, near-sight­ed and so afflict­ed by depres­sion, Lear felt at his best when he was on the move. Del­phi is a land­scape painter’s par­adise, each change of the light illu­mi­nat­ing unno­ticed detail. I imag­ine he would have been in heav­en here.

As reward­ing as my first two weeks in Greece had been, it was in Del­phi that I final­ly ‘found myself’, the one per­son I am ago­nis­ing­ly stuck with for the dura­tion of my trav­els. I am no Alexan­der the Great, but I can under­stand why peo­ple who come to Del­phi leave with a clear­er sense of the future mapped out (how­ev­er cryp­ti­cal­ly by the pythia) before them. There is clar­i­ty in the shad­ow of Parnassus.

The next morn­ing I left that calm behind for the island run into Turkey, pray­ing that I could take some of it with me.