Leaving Camping Ionian Beach late yesterday morning, we said our goodbyes to Julia and Simon, and Katherine, James and Oscar. We’ve had some good fun, so with a bit of luck our paths will cross again at some point.
We drove the short distance to Katakolo, only stopping at Lidl to replenish the fridge. Katakolo is a small town with a port large enough for the huge cruise liners to dock, from where coaches ferry passengers to Olympia and back. Our stop for the night was free parking on the marina, and a rather large cruise liner was preparing to set sail as we arrived. We went for a walk into the town just as the ship set sail to find that most shops were closing for the day or had already closed, so the cruise ship passengers are clearly the town’s raison d’être.
Our satnav had a bit of a benny this morning and wouldn’t give us a route to Ancient Olympia, but fortunately it was well signposted so we didn’t have to get the map out. Olympia is of course where the Olympic games were held in ancient times, and as you’d expect it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site. As well as the archaeological site there’s also a museum displaying many of the exhibits found.
The skies were grey when we arrived so we decided to walk around the site first and avoid the rain. It was a fair bit larger than we were expecting it to be, and there were plenty of information boards explaining everything. They still light the Olympic flame here before each games, and it was interesting to read that athletes cheated way back in ancient times, though more by sabotage or bribery than the performance enhancing drugs we see today.
We then spent a good hour or so in the museum, which was very well laid out with exhibits from as far back as 4300 BC – very humbling indeed. The admission to both sites was just €6 – half price as it’s out of season. Excellent value!
When we got back to the van the heavens opened. There was a big thunderstorm, and the rain running down the street looked like a river, so we sat it out before setting off to tonight’s destination. We’re wild camping again, this time close to the beach at the village of Neochori. It’s out of season, so the place is deserted. Unfortunately it hasn’t stopped raining since getting here, but we’ll hopefully be able to get out for a walk along the shoreline before we set off for Pylos tomorrow.