This is where the Olympic Torch is LIT!
This was a greatly anticipated day because we were booked onto a trip (with Cruise Excursions) to Olympia, a sanctuary of ancient Greece, known for having been the site of the Olympic Games in classical times. Like today, the Games were held every 4 years,the very first Olympic Games being held in honour of Zeus.
A combination of earthquakes, floods and vandalism caused so much damage that only ruins remain, however we could see just how impressive this site would have been in ancient times. Plus, we bought the book!
The Gymnasium was the first place we saw.
There would have been changing rooms and areas to train for wrestling and boxing.
Athletes have been exfoliating for years- here athletes rubbed oil the body (eleothession) and then sand and dust to smooth the skin (conisterion)
The Prytaneion had the banqueting room for the victorious athletes...
and would have looked like this...
The Temple of Hera is the oldest temple of the Sanctuary and a good example of Doric architecture, columns are wider at the bottom than the top.
All six columns (short side) by sixteen columns (long side) were different in design and decoration.
This is how it looked...
We then walked through to the stadium itself where the main events took place.
There was room for about 40,000 spectators on the grassy slopes surrounding the track.
Legend has it that Hercules place heel to toe 600 times to measure out the track...200 yards.
The starting line and finishing line were marked out with marble slabs and there was enough room for 20 runners.
Competition was poor the day we went.
As you can see...
I WON :)
And if there was any doubt, this was the photo finish.
The chappie in shorts had conceded victory!
Evidence of an earthquake,sending the pillars tumbling down.
This was me standing in a top VIP hotel.
The colours were stunning, all the different greens against an intense blue sky.
Whoever said "Blue and green should never be seen"?
It may only be a pile of stones and ruins now but the Olympic Torch is lit here to this day.
The guide left us to mozy round the village of Olympia so we bought a couple of teeshirts and a couple of mugs (mugs? Surely not?) and a book of the "Then" and the "Now".
Nike looking victorious.
Katakolon, where the QE was waiting for us, was just a main street with the usual tourist ware, but I managed to get a red Mulberry purse which went down well at dinner time.
The Mulberry purse!
The following day was a sea day, travelling to Naples. We passed through the Messina Straits between Italy and Scicily ...
...famous for its many different currents.
and dinner was hilarious as usual with Alex, Andy, Georgina and Annette,
Nigel and Sheila,
Stewart and Mary.