Sunday, 5 June 2016

Katakolon Was The Destination For Today,

we are going to visit Olympia and Kourouta beach,

after breakfast we watch as the ship docks,

 in what seems like a quiet port with only one other vessel here,

 a panorama of the port,

 into the coaches,

 and we are away,

 under the bow of the Ventura,

 after a 40 minuet drive we arrived at the historic site, above the museum,

 we walked over one of the two rivers in the area, 

 deciding not to take the horse and coach,

 after a massive earthquake some 2,000 years ago the site was left devastated,

 then the second of the two rivers in the area flooded the site many times, leaving increasing levels of silt and mud until it was no longer possible to see any of the ruins, above you can see that the excavation had to remove several meters of mud to find the long lost ruins,

 around 100 years ago it was decided to try to find the ruins and excavate the site, over 750 local villagers helped once the site had been found,

 luckily many writers had left detailed accounts of where the arena, gymnasium and other buildings were when they visited the site in its heyday, for instance the site was known to be situated between 2 rivers, also it was at the base of a hill, above looking at ground level towards the entrance of the site,

 where Diana is now walking is at the side of the main entrance,

 as we are now lower another look at the amount of mud that had to be removed to expose the site,

 some of the columns,

 have been replaced as they were,

 of great help to archaeologist is the amount of writing in stone that had survived, being buried in mud the effects of wind and rain had not eroded them,

 again one has to marvel,

 at the amount of work that must have gone into this undertaking,

 using only hand tools,

 and no modern machinery is amazing,

 we continued our guided tour,

 taking pictures as we went,

 I am not sure what this bird is, but it looked nice as it flew past,

 this is a panorama of the main temple,

 it was decided to leave it as it was after the earthquake struck, having said that,

 these four lions with open mouths have been placed together, they were at the top of the building, when it rain water would flow out of their open mouths,

 everywhere we looked,

 there were stones with inscriptions on them,

 a few thoughts on the Olympic games and Gods in that time, only Gods could be immortal, but there was a way that mere man could become immortal, win at the games, there was no prizes for winning, just a olive wreath, which in a land of millions of olive trees is worthless,

 but if you won your statue would be placed on a plinth like this one, your face, figure and achievement would become immortal, as would the name of your father and his father be immortalized, all three generations, along a hall of fame,

 at the other extreme, the rouges gallery, cheating was not uncommon, firstly to bribe the judges, secondly to take performance enhancing drugs, namely bulls blood, the red blood of a bull contained a performance enhancing chemical, if you were caught doing either of these your name was carved for the world to see on these plinths, not only would you be named and banned from ever competing again, so would your children and your childeren's children be banned, the shame that lasts for three generations,

 at this point using existing pieces of column this one is being rebuilt to give visitors some idea of the scale of the buildings,

 the entrance to the arena,

 this is where the main field events would take place,

 races would start at the far end, the line you can see,

 is the finishing line,

 it was a hard race, but at least I finished it!

 we continued to the Nymphaion, built in the 2nd century AD,it is a fountain/aqueduct donated by Herodes Atticus and his wife Regilla,

there is still much of it left, although the second floor has been damaged by the earthquake and is now no longer there, 

an impression of what it would have looked like,

we made our way towards Hera's altar,

 and this is it, since the 1936 Berlin Olympics the flame has been lit here and transport around the world at the start of each of the Olympic Games,

 what stories this stone column could tell,

 we continued our walk,

 finishing here,

 I have left out so much that the guide told us about the history of this fascinating site, but there are so many books about this site, so off to the library on board ship for me! next on to the coach,

 for a stop for refreshments,

  and to look at souvenirs,

 back on the coach for Kourouta beach,

 we wandered along the beach side restaurants, 

 and settled on this one,

 which looked nice, 

 but after 30 minuets of waiting still no waiter appeared anywhere near us,

 so inside I went  to order two drinks, as I returned next thing huge loudspeakers start pumping out a disco beat, everyone looked around and most made a move for a quieter restaurant,

 like this one, service immediately,

 the restaurant looked nice,

 good service, so we decided we would asked for a menu as the last time we were on the beach we enjoyed the local cuisine so much,

 I took a few pictures,

 as we waited for the waiter,

 the menu was far from extensive, in fact there were just a few choices,

 toasted cheese and ham sandwiches or a club sandwich,

 no local or Greek food at all,

 we went to the next restaurant, 

 and asked for their menu, guess what? the menu consisted of toasted cheese and ham sandwiches or a club sandwich as well!

 we  were fast running out of restaurants and time,

 on to the last restaurant on the beach, success! not only did they have toasted cheese and ham sandwiches or a club sandwich on the menu, as a bonus they also offered, a beefburger! I have to say we were a tad disappointed that the sum total of three of the restaurants culinary dishes,

 consisted of  toasted cheese and ham sandwiches, a club sandwich,

 or a beefburger,

 it looked so nice,

 but our hopes of a last Greek meal were dashed,

 by now we had been on the beach for 3 hours,

 and it was time to go,

 on the way back to the coach we noticed this bush/tree, it had green leaves,

 that then changed into mini blossoms,

 I do not have a clue what it is called, we have never seen it before,

 back on board tonight's them for evening wear was to be tropical, so colorful shirts on,

Diana started the meal with oak smoked chicken with peach an pecorino cheese,

 for myself poachers crusted game and poultry pie, with vegetables and beetroot relish,

main course for Diana, scaloppine milanaise, a bread-crumbed pork escalope with spaghetti in tomato sauce,

for myself roast moorland grouse with game chips parsnip clapshot, green beans and a sloe gin jus, 

 on to desserts, we both chose dulce de leche tart, with a gooseberry compote, 

 next a walk on deck,

 as the sun went down,

 then inside,

 to the arena for to nights show,

The Opera Boys,

 the clue to the duos act is in the title,

as they both sung popular opera numbers, and were very good indeed, we are both hoping they will perform again before the end of our trip, we decided against a nightcap, so for us we were off to bed.

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