number sixteen: greece day 5

This post was written on Tuesday, October 15th, 2013. And one day I’ll post pictures…
Today’s port of call was the port of Katakalon peninsula, the “gateway to Olympia”. We did another excursion through the ship’s excursions, and this one was a bus tour to Olympia, the original site of the Olympics, and where they still light the torch each Olympics. The excursion included a guided walking tour of the actual archeological site, and then a stop at a local restaurant for some Greek appies and Greek dancing.

I was really looking forward to this one, to seeing Olympia (not so much looking forward to the Greek dancing). It was not what I expected…although I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting. This was my first trip EVER to an ancient site. I guess one thing I wasn’t expecting was the amount of green space. The Greek have made a point of planting some of the same trees that would have been at the site in ancient times, and they now have a 200 year old grove of Cypress, maple and fur trees. I think I was expecting more concrete. But it was beautiful, and just so hard to fathom how old the structure is.

The guided tour was quite good, and as Mum pointed out, the crowds were fitting with how crowded it would have been during the actual Olympics — up to 45,000 people would come to watch (although we didn’t have nearly that big a crowd).

We spent about an hour at the site, and then left to go to the restaurant. This was a pleasant surprise. It was a beautiful building, with the most inviting pool I’ve ever seen (not part of our tour). We had a few snacks and watched the dancers. I wasn’t looking forward to this part because I thought it would be really hokey, but the dancers did a couple of numbers on their own and then started getting the audience involved (me and Mum included). It turned out to be a lot of fun.

After that it was back to the ship on the bus. We had a couple of hours before we had to leave, so Jan and I went shopping in the little town by the port while Mum went back to the ship to rest. I was able to easily spend another chunk of money. There are a lot of nice things here, and the prices are fairly reasonable. I should probably slow down a bit!

The shore excursions are expensive, but so far I’ve been really impressed with the tour guides. And both have been bus tours and I like how much country you see that way. But mostly it’s easy, which is what Jan wanted to have for Mum.

Jan and I did a run on the treadmill, we hung out on the deck as we left the dock, we’ve all showered and we’ll be heading to dinner soon.

I’m missing my family a lot…I got a texting package but the 10 hour time change makes it difficult to text much. Greg tells me everything is fine. I am definitely having a great time, but I really don’t like to be so far away from them. It’s easier when I’m off the ship and doing something so out of the ordinary as visiting Olympia.

The purchases for today were: Christmas ornaments, a silver bracelet for myself, t-shirts for the kids and Greg, and a hand-painted bowl (which I’ve ended up keeping).