he hotel in Olympia had a great breakfast buffet. Between that and the WiFi in the lobby, everyone was up and at it bright and early. Once checked out of the hotel and loaded onto the bus, we took a quick drive to UNESCO World Heritage Site, home of the original Olympic groups.
We were met by our tour guide and shown some of the amazing sculptures in the museum. The storytelling that came from these sculptures was more than I expected. Each creature in the sets added to the mythology and the craftsmanship of each element was beautiful. It was very impressive to see how the detail had been preserved after all that time.
After we were done indoors at the museum we headed outdoors and down the road to the actually grounds.
Going to places like this takes imagination. The structures are not still standing but they have taken the remnants that they’ve been able to find and put it back together like a puzzle with missing pieces. Having seen the museum first it gave us a better idea about what we were looking at and what was completely gone.
One of the coolest parts for me was to see where the Olympic torch is lit every 4 years. The altar dedicated to Athena, next to the temple of Athena is where they use mirrors and the sun to light the torch before it is transported to the upcoming location of the games.
It doesn’t look like much when the games are going on or over but I imagine it is a cool experience to witness.
The Olympic stadium has grass embankments around it that people would have watched from (image near the top). They even used this ground for some of the events at the games that were most recently in Athens.
I imagine that it was much more spectacular that it is now. The Olympics were the best athletes from all the different areas coming together to compete for the top spot. They were warriors and great rewards were given to those who won.
It was taken so seriously that if you were caught cheating it was documented on the wall of shame to forever be disgraced.
We took some time wandering around the grounds, seeing what was left, what was built on top when the Romans ruled and how much higher the ground is today. The amount of ground that was deterred to uncover this site is huge. I can only imagine how exciting it must have been for archeologists who first came across some of what has been found.
After the site we grabbed lunch alfresco and hit the road for Delphi. Along the way we crossed an enormous suspension bridge and made a stop off at a small town beach.
The beach was not what I expected. It was gravel. People were laying out sunbathing on gravel. Since I was in Greece I did as the Greeks did, stretched out my towel and enjoyed my book while soaking up some UVs.
From this town we could see the mountain where Delphi is perched. It looked much closer than it actually was to drive. Back in the bus we drove along the mountainous coast, through the largest kalamata olive orchard and zigzagged up a mountain to the scenic Delphi.
The view from my hotel balcony was breath taking. The mountain range, olive orchard below and out onto the sea. I would have been happy to have stayed there for a few more days.
That evening we went out to a local bar. As it was the middle of the week our tour group were the only people there. Not to worry, we still had a lot of fun. It probably helped that they free pour their liquor and we were busting a move on the dance floor. I also discovered that I am not the only one who prefers to bust out the shopping cart and sprinkler over grinding against someone. Thank goodness for that!
It was a very late night full of laughter which I hope to remember for a long time to come.