Delphi

By comparison, even the most rabid Greek-hating non-historian (think humorless Northern Eurozone bureaucrat) knows about our next destination, another World Heritage Site some three quarters of an hour up the road. Many consider Delphi to be the spiritual home of Ancient Greece. Visitors to Delphi have the option of buying a discounted entry to both the main archaeological site and the superb Delphi Archaeological Museum.

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Make sure you select this option. The museum’s collection includes some outstanding pieces (the internationally-renowned Bronze Charioteer, votive offerings throughout the centuries, classical sculptures, etc.). Most importantly, however, it puts everything you see on the broader site into context. Delphi is perhaps most famous for its long tradition of priestesses serving as oracles. These oracles were consulted on virtually everything of importance. Were they alive today, each of the oracles would be millionaire males with fake Brooklyn accents holding forth at excessive decibel levels on “paid-for” programming about their economic and financial prognostications with a virtuoso lack of specificity (you will recall the need for vague forecasting).

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The priestesses were said to prognosticate in a trance-like state induced by emissions from the depths of Mount Parnassus and the chewing of oleander leaves. Two and a half millennia of technological advances, of course, have taught modern economic and financial professional that the necessary trance-like state is more effectively induced through the use of only the highest quality Colombian cocaine, imbibing only Bollingers champagne and focusing upon the pelvic regions of only the most skilled Moldovan lap dancers. Much like the modern doyens of modern Wall Street and the City of London, ancient Delphi was convinced it was the navel (or omphalos) of the world.

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Fully aware of the intellectually-challenged condition of mere mortals, Zeus lobbed a boulder exquisitely carved in the shape of said navel down on Delphi in order that the inhabitants not forget their special location on earth. In my experience Zeus needn’t have bothered. Encephalocolitis (the peculiarly human condition of getting one’s own head trapped up one’s own rear end) is, by the way, a Greek tours.

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