Thursday, May 23, 2013

Katakolon, Greece

original Olympic Games were held here...
The Temple of Zeus...
The Ancient City of Olympia...

Ride up the hill,  2 euro
Zorba Dancing
Zorba Dancing
The handsome group...great show
Zorba the Geek does the "Chicken Dance"... the man can still make me laugh...

We arrived in Katakolon Greece, Thursday, May 23, 2013. First morning photo 7:10AM. It was very foggy and windy as well. A chance of rain was in the forecast, however, warm enough for a light jacket. 

My first observation of the port was that it was smaller by comparison to others, no industry. The landscape hilly, not mountainous, or at least in this area. Now in the Adriatic Sea, the water more of a Caribbean blue.
We booked a tour through Holland America to The Ancient City of Olympia & Zorba. Katakolon is the Gateway to the Ancient City of Olympia, the birth place of the original Olympic Games in 776 B.C.
Our tour was ahead of schedule, we left port at 8:20AM. Our guides name was Maria Helena and our driver Alexis. 
Maria was extremely knowledgeable and very understandable. She spoke non stop for about two hours, it was evident how proud she is of her heritage. 
Driving though the countryside it was noticeable that this was an impoverished area. The people here rely heavily on tourism, Maria said. Homes were sporadic and in disarray. Old cars were laid to rest in open fields and in run down concrete structures. No livestock insight, we passed many olive trees and vegetable gardens during our forty minute ride. Depressing, I thought. 
The hills were growing into mountains the further east we drove. There are ten million people in Greece and five million live in Athens. This is typical Greece, outside of Athens, she said. 
Obviously, Olympia is the main attraction here. There were at least thirty tour buses visiting the site.  A very large area, where you really had to use your imagination to visualize, what had been. We visited the Temple of Zeus, Maria explained volumes of information and mythology associated with the games. I expected to see a large colosseum where the games were held, however it was a large sandy area with grassy slopes. As many as forty thousand spectators could enjoy the games, held here every four years. She said athletes came to win, not to participate. The site was preserved very well and a beautiful place to visit and learn.
We then drove to a rest area with water closets, coffee and pastries. The usual gifty, touristy type of items available. A bobble headed statue of Zeus was not on my souvenir list. 
We then drove to a restaurant for a light lunch and some Zorba dancing. This was a highlight for me, as I love to drink in the culture of the people. The dancers and the music were incredible. We enjoyed every minute of it and you know who did the chicken dance!!!
We were dropped off at the town square, a ten minute walk from the ship. Many passengers, from now two ships, were enjoying the shops, cafes and restaurants.
The residents were very friendly and warm. We never saw a police officer. Maria said people were very honest here. There were several wifi cafes with no purchase necessary to use it, along the main street. We have to keep reminding ourselves that we are now seven hours ahead of EST. Certainly don’t want to wake anyone back home in the US. We did anyway! Sorry kids!
We enjoyed our day and mostly the people of Katakolon. 
So happy to inform you... they have gelato here too! YUM!!!

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1 comment:

TexWisGirl said...

as soon as i saw dancing, i thought of your hubby doing the chicken dance. glad he did not disappoint!

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