I didn’t decide by myself to head to Crete, Greece’s largest island in the southern Aegean, to MedTrek for two months. First I went to pay tribute to, and get some guidance from, the iconic Oracle at Delphi. Circe told me the renowned seer would inform me how to approach the Peloponnese and circumnavigate Europe’s southernmost isle of Crete.
Circe’s seventh labor embodies the physical and spiritual direction that she suggested I obtain from time to time. “Visit the Oracle of Delphi – who ‘knew what was, what had been, what would be’ – and let her lead you to the cave of Zeus’ birth, the world’s greatest travel writer, and the end of an historic footrace in Sparta.” Not everyone likes the advice that they get from soothsayers like the Delphic Oracle: “You visionary of hell, never have I had fair play in your forecasts,” Agamémnon complained in The Iliad when he was displeased with another clairvoyant’s prediction – but I plan to listen and obey.
I stop in the picturesque village of Arachova, perched on the flank of Mount Parnonas, the home of Apollo and the nine Muses, on my way to consult the Oracle. When I reach Delphi, I’m flabbergasted that some ornate hand-carved walking sticks in a shop cost €60, but not surprised to see hotels named Apollo, Oracle, Zeus, Kouros, and Sybilla near restaurants called Dionysus and Vesuvio.