Olympia

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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 van at Katakolo marina

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!

Temple of Zeus

The site is vast

I love the design of this wall

This must have been a very impressive sight with all those columns

It’s all Greek to me

Stadium entrance

The stadium running track

Getting in the mode!

Where the Olympic flame has been lit ahead of each modern games since Berlin in 1936

Vases in excellent condition

Bronze and clay offerings found in the Temple of Zeus

A close up

Big Willy

The Greek god Zeus

Another bronze sculpture

Two lions taking out a stag

A statue of Emperor Hadrian in amazing condition

The phone was thought to be a Nokia 3110

Sculptures from the pediment (the triangular bit on top of the columns) of the Temple of Zeus

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.

Mike

2 thoughts on “Olympia

  1. Katherine clune

    We are a day behind you at Katakolo! No cruise ships though, but still a few bars and restaurants open only. Will head to Olympia today as the Aged P’s have been there before so we don’t have to save it for their visit.

    Reply

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