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Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Katakolon and Olympia, Greece.


Everyone else had booked the organised tour today, and Suzanne wasn't interested in coming ashore so I decided to make my own way to Olympia. I found a bus operator at the port who ran a service to Olympus for only 20 Euro. On the positive side, I saved about $100 AUD and saw more than the organised tour did. On the minus side, if I'd walked another twenty yards I could have got a bus for the same trip for only 10 Euro. Oh well, I was still a mile (or 1.609344 kilometres) in front.

The bus ride to Olympia wasn't very exciting but once we got to the site it was amazing. Olympia is the home of the Olympics. The flame for the Olympic torch is lit here for each Olympic games. 

The ruins here cover a very, very large area and a lot still have a substantial amount of material intact. I wandered around here for hours. I even found some guys excavating an area and finding new bits and pieces as they did. It's amazing to realise that after all these years they are still uncovering more artifacts. The only thing that bothered me was I wondered what happened to all the ornate decorations that had been on the tops of the columns and buildings. I found out later...

This is the first thing you see when you walk in the gate.

 Another small section of the area.

 There was the odd column or two there.

 These signs were found at each building explaining what they were. This combined with the information leaflet told me everything I needed to know about the site. I did eavesdrop a few tour guides along the way but I didn't need to.

 I resisted the urge to find out my 100 meter time here, although a lot of other people were running around. It's the athletics field.

 This house was built on top of another house.
I'm sure the archaeologists loved that.

A giant jigsaw puzzle. Every chip of stone they dig up is numbered and cataloged. Then when they have enough pieces they start assembling them into a piece of history.

Can your brickie lay bricks that will  last this long? 

 After a bit of work I could live in this.

When you look at the illustrations of these buildings you get an impression of the sheer size of them. I'd love to have seen this place when it was in full swing.

Then it was time to visit the museum. I must get myself a thesaurus because all I could say when I walked in the front door was "Wow!" This was the best museum I've been in. I love the V&A in London, but this was special. Remember at the start of today's blog I wondered what happened to the decorative pieces from the buildings. Well, they were in this museum. It really was a wow moment when I walked in the door.

 This was the sight that greets you as you walk in the door.
Both sides of the hall are dominated by these huge displays.

Horses represented freedom. You could travel to other areas if you had a horse. Much like a lot of us think of our bikes today.

 I can't imagine the hours of work it took to carve these.

A close up of part of the wall display. 

I might replace my Shoei with one of these. On second thought it's most likely a little out of my price range.

 Some displays were assembled with parts missing. The missing parts were replaced with new stone and this was done to show how the complete piece would look. It was obvious what was original and what was new and it worked really well.

 Each case held a selection of historical pieces that someone made all those years ago.

 Parts of a roof facade pieced together.

 The number of helmets and shields was impressive.
I'm sure they have many more in storage as well.

 Every room had a large selection of pieces to view.

There was the odd piece of metal work as well.
These were probably kid's toys.

 I lost count of the number of statues there were in here.

This is one marble statue that has been polished back to it's original condition. I stood and looked at it in awe.

The sad thing is that the organised tour didn't visit the museum. The went somewhere for lunch instead. Seriously, I was happy to go without food to have the opportunity to visit this beautiful museum. Even the website is worth a look:

I then boarded the bus to go back to the ship feeling very calm and serene. I had enjoyed today, probably more than any other day on the cruise. It was just stunning.

From one extreme to another. 

After a day of cultural enrichment, it was time for another pub crawl. : ) Kev, Annie, Suzanne and I approached tonight a little differently to last time.  We all agreed that it would be wise to stick to only one cocktail per bar and just have a bit of fun. So that's what we did. There are no photos of the pub crawl because what happens on pub crawl stays on pub crawl. There were two youngsters in the group who had just turned twenty one so they were given a lot of attention as the night went on. I have no idea how the guy was next day, but he was having one hell of a good time that night. There was also a Canadian lady who was very short, and wearing a very, very short dress. She was a live wire from the start and was out to have some fun. In the piano bar she climbed up onto the piano at one stage. All I can say is she certainly wasn't shy. It was a very funny night. 

Once again we finished at the Northern Lights Nightclub. Our last drink was called "Brain Damage" and was a shot of Baileys in a red alcoholic liquid of some sort. What happened was it sort of curdled the Baileys so it floated in the red liquid, and looked like a brain. It tasted OK, but the texture was a little disturbing...

There was no champagne or dancing this time, we all called it a night and headed for our cabins. In the morning we'll be in Santorini. This is one place that Suzanne is really looking forward to seeing.

1 comment:

  1. I've been to Olympia and I loved it! That's one of the places I'd love to go back as an adult, the most notable and historic parts of Greece, I went there when I was 16... Memories! (We ran the Olympic field!!!)