The morning was devoted to the Olympics. We started in the Olympia Archaeological Museum. Once again it was nice to see the artifacts and here the stories before heading off to the site. Our guide is full of so much information that it is easy to be overwhelmed. She explained the significance behind all of the big findings. This site and the collection date back to 480-450 BC. The excavation started in the last 30 years of the 1800s but continues on today. It finally became clear why it is so confusing as each God has two names - a Greek name and a Roman name! Many of the artifacts are carved from marble from the surrounding islands.
Christians and earthquakes destroyed much of the temple and site. Over the years it was covered in 5 metres of sand, silt and vines. Most of it was flat on the ground.
The stadium where the first games was held is behind the arched entrance. There were no seats but people sat on the hillsides. The Athletics only did foot races and the first games lasted only 1 day but eventually expanded to 5 days. The first games were recorded in 776BC.
Since Zeus was the God of the Olympians, this Sanctuary is dedicated to him. The temple is the second largest behind the Parthenon in Athens at 64 metres by 28 metres and 20 metres tall. Some columns have been restored but much is still lying at the base of the temple or other buildings. We realized how fortunate we were to pick this time of year as the temple looked spectacular with all the beautiful Judas tree blossoms around the area.
As we wandered onto the actual sight of the Temple of Zeus, we learned more about the ancient Olympic Games. I think the one spot that seemed the most interesting was a small site of rocks that we would have walked by but our guide pointed out that this is known as the Altar of Hera and is where the flame is lit from the sun for each Olympic Games and then relayed through a Greece, ending up in Athens and then to the host country.
After leaving the site we stopped for lunch at a lovely setting. Part of the restaurant decorations included 2 Olympic torches that the owner had carried in past relays. As if lunch wasn't enough we had a quick stop to sample local products including wine, olives and of course olive oil.
We had a long drive ahead of us as we drove through the plains of Ilia and Achaia and crossed the cable stayed bridge over the Corinth Bay from Rion to Antirion. We passed through some beautiful country - mountains, plains and an unbelievable olive grove. At one point we were lucky enough to put our feet into the refreshing waters of the Gulf of Corinth. The road to Delphi was interesting with many twists and turns. Finally after a long day we arrived at our next stop, a pretty hotel overlooking Delphi.