Last night we pulled into port in Kyllini because it had good protection from southerly winds. The forecast for today had a good chance of rain, but by the time we finished breakfast and were loading the bus at 8 AM, the sky was starting to clear. We had an hour bus ride inland to Olympia, the site of the first Olympic Games over 2,800 years ago! I didn’t expect much but a field. I was surprised to learn it developed into quite a complex with an indoor arena, horse stables, numerous temples, altars to the gods, treasury buildings, a hotel, and an outdoor stadium that would hold 45,000 people!
We first toured the outdoor space that still had foundations and columns, and an intact outdoor arena. We learned that the first Olympic Games featured a race that was 192 meters long which the Greeks called a “stadia” from which we get the word stadium. After that we went into the museum that held the statues that had been broken and have been partially restored. They held more meaning after we had seen where they were originally placed. After touring the museum, we ate a spectacular lunch at a local restaurant, and then had an hour to wander around the town of Olympia, prior to the ride home. During the ride back to the ship, our guide Athena talked to us about life in Greece now. Prior to supper, she gave us our first lesson entitled, “It’s Greek to Me” where we had some surprises. For example, The letter that looks like a “B”, and we pronounce, “beta” , they pronounce “vetta”.
At this point we are very happy with this cruise. The day trips have been interesting, the guide, Athena, is lots of fun, the food is wonderful, the ship staff couldn’t be nicer, and our room is very comfortable. Our only complaint is that the public areas on the boat are crowded, but that is because the ship is at capacity with 31 guests.