Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Let the Games Begin

Olympia Ὀλυμπία

When we checked into our hotel she asked if we had a nice drive. It was windy I replied. Did you come up the mountains? Mmm. I think so. Ah, there is a highway that is much easier. Well at lest Lindsay had fun. We had a diesel Peugeot 308, an auto which is unusual for Europe as they are usually manual, but he could drive it in manual, which of course he did, zipping along the narrow windy roads. After driving a truck and a 35’ 5th Wheel for the last six months, he loved it. He had asked the people at Avis if the Greeks were polite drivers, they didn’t quite understand him, so he had to rephrase his question. Aggressive they said but the Italians are worse. No problem. We’ve driven in Italy, so it couldn't be any worse.

View from our room
We did wonder why there wasn’t much traffic on the road. Now we knew. There were tour buses galore in the town of Olympia which I couldn’t picture coming up the route we came.

With only one night planned here we needed to grab some lunch and go and see the sights straight away.

Olympic Archeological Site

Tickets are at the gate, cash only and it gets you into the site and the museum. The site where the first Olympic games were held is enormous. Of course now, a few centuries later, most of it is in ruins and the best pieces have been taken into the museum. The buildings here range in time from C1 to C5 BC. Some are made from marble while others seem to be made of a compound that shows sea shells.

There were lots of Plane trees with their huge canopy for shade. They lined our street at home when I was growing up and drop their huge leaves in autumn.

Entrance to the Olympic Track
Just before this entrance, were the bases of Zanes - C1-C4 BC. They used to hold statues of the competitors who had cheated, to discourage anyone thinking of doing the same. Like a wall of shame; maybe it should be reintroduced.

Palaistra C3 BC - Training area for wrestling, boxing and jumping

The Baths had underfloor heating

Sea shells in the building blocks
Not much is left of the Temple of Zeus
Some of the buildings were gyms, baths....
An unusual wall
So should the Olympics be given back to Greece? It would certainly boost their economy and stop the incredible wastage of building new sports centres for a one time event that so very often sends the host country broke.

This shows how they restore pieces, the rail track would be used to move the blocks of marble

Olympia Museum

This museum is absolutely amazing. Obviously they have taken what they found at Olympia and have preserved it by keeping it under cover or we wouldn't be able to see them today.

Did you know that all these buildings were not only decorated with paint, but statues?
These statues adorned the west pediment of the Temple of Zeus
Bronze Corinthian Helmets
Farm tools - hoes, mattocks, hammers, tongs

Related Articles

1. Athens - Greece - The First Democracy
3. Delphi - Ancient Delphi
4. Meteora - The Stone Forest
5. Mykonos - Those famous Windmills
6. Santorini - The Belle of the Islands


  1. I guess our paths crossed in some sense again! We just got back home from a month in Italy with great memories of the Colosseum's in Verona, Rome and Pompeii (may have forgotten some lesser ones :). Oh, and the Spritz's were really great (Prosecco & Aperol) . . .

    1. Sounds like you guys are making your dream of travelling in Europe a reality. We love Italy but are now thinking that Spain is topping the list.