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Opening Ceremony in Olympia

GREECE | Sunday, 29 July 2012 | Views [457]

Palaistra

Palaistra

I got up fairly early to get the bus from the centre of Corinth to the Isthmus bus station, only to find out that the buses to Olympia were full up and the next available seat was 12, a wait of 2.5 hours. The bus station is only a 5 minute walk to the Corinth Canal, an absolutely amazing feat of engineering and entertaining to watch the tourist ships sail past.

From Corinth Isthmus bus station, it's a 6 hour bus ride to Olympia. Not a direct bus, as it actually stops in Pyrgos. From there's it's a 30 minute ride on a local bus to the village of Olympia. Something which I only realised when fellow passengers enquired about my destination. Again, something the bus staff negelected to tell me. I can't wait for the time when the Greek government are compelled by the Troika to reform it's public services!

I finally arrive in Olympia some time after 5 and put my bags done in the hotel where I also find out that the archaeological site does not close until 8pm. So there was still enough time to visit the site. With two days already booked for the hotel, I decided to stick with my original plan of visiting in the next morning and headed out to the Olympia restaurant for some dinner. Only the second pizza I've had since I began my travels. It was deeeeeelicious:

With my stomach satisfied, there's not much else I wanted to do. Coincidentally, I got to watch the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony in the evening.

The next morning, I'm up early to hopefully avoid the expect hordes of tourists. The place was virtually empty, save for a few fellow tourists. Along with the entrance ticket, there's also a good pamphet explaining everything about the points of interest in the site.

The Gymnasium:

Then there's the easy to recognise Temple of Zeus, this dude certainly gets around:



The Temple of Hera:

The Phillipeion, built by King Phillip II of Macedonia, and his lesser knwon son, Alexander the Great:

Like the other archaeological sites in Greece, Olympia also has an attached museum for exhibiting artifacts discovered on site. The museum is truly outstanding as befits a place sacred to the ancient Greeks. Mainly focused on the history of Olympia, the museums has some of the finest sculptures, with pride of place give to Praxiteles's "Hermes and the Infant Dionysius":

It's about lunch time when I'm finally done in the museum where I get a badly needed cappuccino before heading back into modern Olmpia for some exploration. It doesn't take very long to wander about modern Olympia. There's really only one street and it's full of tourist shops. Sadly, the empty streets of the previous night aren't much different from the empty streets of the day. The shop assistants all tell the same sad story. Olympia should be packed with tourists this time of the year. Another victum of the economy or misconceptions about Greece.

Overall, a very low key visit. In retrospect, there was no real need to stay a second night. Olympia is just a little village and there's precious little else to do beyond the archaeological site.

 

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