March 27, 2008
Olympia, Greece - Day Four
Plentiful chipper birdsong, bountiful multi-colored wildflowers, pink flowering trees, and a whole lot of enormous, ruined, marble column fragments: there you have Ancient Olympia on the western side of the Greek Peloponnesus. Having seen Delphi yesterday, I can now agree with Frommers.com, which recommends:
"Try to visit both Olympia, where the Olympic Games began, and Delphi, home of the Delphic Oracle. That's the only way you'll be able to decide whether Olympia, with its massive temples and shady groves of trees, or Delphi, perched on mountain slopes overlooking olive trees and the sea, is the most beautiful ancient site in Greece."
The verdict? Too hard to decide. Both are stunning.
You can see our Olympia photos in my flickr collection. You probably have to sign in, but it's free and quick. I'm experimenting with different ways to get photos online and share them. Do you like Flickr or Picasa better? The thing about Flickr is that I can share certain photos with friends and family only (if you're one of those, someone I know face to face, you can see more photos on Flickr, with our faces; if not, let me know and I'll make sure you're added to my friends/family list there).
Olympia encompasses the ruins of the Palaestra (athletic training centre), the Studio of Pheidias (the 5th century BC sculptor who made one of the seven wonders of the Ancient World which used to be here, but was "lost"), the Temples of Zeus and Hera, various treasuries, and, most importantly, the stadium where the Olympic Games began and continued non-stop for 1000 years! Of course I'm skipping a lot of stuff.
Best features of Olympia: abundant and happy birdsong, plethora of wildflowers, and opportunity for all visitors to get all their kids' energy out via footraces on the original Olympian 200 metre stadium race track (made of unmarked dirt with marble start and finish lines).
Travel Notes for Today:
1. Greek Foods at least one of us has tried since the last food update:
Ouzo (that would be David)
Cretan Salad (barley rusk croutons, tomatoes, feta, parsley, olives, onions)
Greek Coffee (grounds served WITH the coffee...that would be David again)
Pork Souvlaki (like shish kebab)
Briam (soft eggplant, zucchini, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes in oily sauce)
Spinach square with crispy cheese on top
Fried Zucchini Balls
Cardamom Poppyseed Cake (at breakfast this morning)
To my delight, there is freshly squeezed orange juice available at every restaurant. Today at lunch the kids tried out the "freshly squeezed lemon juice" and had to add three packets of sugar to each of their glasses before they smiled about it! We loved eating lunch outside (we're not nearly there in England yet!).
2. Having fun learning Greek letters and their corresponding sounds. We've added the F sound (a circle with a vertical line through it) and the upside down capital L, which is Gamma (g or y sound). It was weird for me to realize that although I knew the name of the first four letters of the Greek alphabet in order:
alpha beta gamma delta
I didn't know the appearance nor the sound associated with gamma. Delta I remember from math. So last night at dinner I wrote encoded messages for the kids to figure out while waiting for the food to arrive. They had to use the guidebook's Greek alphabet page to decipher the English message (with approximate sounds for the English words). Then they wrote Greek messages back to me and David for deciphering. Fun!
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Oh, I like both Greek Coffee and ouzo. Yay David!
Posted by: Mimi | Mar 27, 2008 9:05:55 PM
So that's where the Olympics were held.
Posted by: Martin LaBar | Mar 27, 2008 10:47:03 PM
I appear not to be added to your flikr 'family and friends' list because I can see lots of peoples backs (I was going to say 'backsides' and decided not to ;) but no faces. Personally I prefer Picasa because it is a google program and therefore integrates well with my other accounts, including Blogger (certainly not much of a reason for you), and I can mark albums as either public or private. I don't mark any as 'public' though as I don't see the point. I just upload those that I want to be public to my blog and e-mail links to albums to friends and family. I'm still experimenting with it too though. I would be happy to send you the links to those if you are interested.
Posted by: randall | Mar 28, 2008 3:25:51 PM
I am so reminded of your childhood times with all of the fun distractions your father used when we were awaiting the delivery of our restaurant meals. We were very blessed to be able to travel to so many places with you and your brothers. I loved those family times. And I love all of my children, all of whom now are parents themselves with young ones to teach and treat!
Posted by: Patricia Taylor | Mar 29, 2008 8:18:44 PM