Last time off the boat today and first off we have a change. Stephanie woke up with a big headache and just tired (probably worn down from the last 3 days of tours) and decided she was staying on the ship and not taking the tour. So it was me flying solo, but with a group of other SU members. I am thankful to some of them who included me when they realized I was single for the day.
Katakolon was far different than the other three Greek ports we had visited. Santorini-a big beautiful island with a million scenic views. Mykonos-an island that had the cool winds off the water and had a little island vibe. And Athens-obviously a major size city (more than half the total population of Greece lives in Athens). In the port there seemed to be little to see off the ship. All I needed was the sound of crickets. Outside the gate of the port there was a small street with many tourist type shops (for those who have been there think of the main street of Mackinac Island). We would learn from the guide that this was actually a very rural community where they grow many things, not for selling but for their own use thru the year.
After a half hour bus ride we arrived at Olympia, home of the ancient Olympics. This is NOT the Olympics that we have today and that most of us have grown up with, but dating back to BC (before Christ). The only athletes were Greek citizens. No other countries were represented. This, like the island of Delos, were ruins that they have tried to put back together as much as possible. Unlike yesterday's tour at the Acropolis where it was big-time crowded with people, the area of Olympia is very spread out. Also thankful there are many trees there, as the guide would bring us into the shade when she would share tour information.
After touring the ruins and also the museum at Olympia, we boarded the bus to the city of Pyrgos. It was a nice town but not very big. Maybe I was unfairly comparing it to Athens? It just seemed like "Here it is this is our big city" which I guess for this port it was. That's not intended as a slam, just very different than the other 3 ports. The guide took us to the city center to show us some of the beautiful architecture and to let us have time to grab some lunch before we would head off to the ship. The other interesting thing to see in person is that most of the shops in town close from 2:30-6:00.
I also am not sure the restaurants were expecting a couple groups of tourists, as the food was slow and the workers seemed a bit frazzled. We had to be back to meet our guide at 2:30. I had gone to the restaurant maybe a little later than everyone else because I was "off in my element" taking pictures in the city square. Bottom line is that I never got the small pizza I had ordered. Fortunately for me back at the meeting spot another SU member had extra pizza which she gave to me when she heard I hadn't gotten lunch. I DID get some gelato though while I was waiting for my pizza order, so I went with the dessert first theory (up in Heaven my Mom may have rolled her eyes).
The good news to report is that Stephanie enjoyed 2 naps before getting up, showering, and going up to the ship cafeteria to grab some food and finding a shady spot out on the deck. I'm glad she got the rest she needed. I have to say this port was my least favorite port, so I don't think she missed a ton staying back on the ship. Maybe I was running on fumes and wasn't feeling the ruins as much. That being said I do have some pictures to share.
If I remember right this was part of the main gymnasium at Olympia.
This is all that is left of the main temple on the grounds.
This is the arch that the athletes would have gone thru to enter the Olympic Stadium.
This is the Olympic Stadium. We were told it would have held 40,000 spectators. The field seemed about the size of a football field. Maybe hard to tell in the picture but the hill does slope up on all 4 sides.
A weekend warrior has now entered the arena. The dirt field was as hard as some of the softball fields we play on.
Another shot of the arch as you exit the stadium.
More columns and marble.
A Church in the city square of Pyrgos.
This was also randomly in the middle of the city square. An old softball buddy thinks it was probably for a 3 X 3 tournament. Sadly there was not a ball around to get up a couple shots.
This was the dessert counter in the shop where I got gelato. I wanted one of everything. I actually briefly thought about buying some to bring back to Steph on the ship. Glad I didn't because when you got back on the ship security did not allow any food to come on.
So of course I had to choose a gelato flavor. Actually wish I could have a re-do on this day, because the one I chose wasn't as good as it looked.
I think I have one more blog to go. We did something cool on the last sea date on the ship to share.
Note: Less than 1% of all demonstrators earn the incentive trip each year.