July 17, 2013
October 12, 2012 – Katakolon, gateway to Olympia; the sight of the old games.
We opted out of the optional tour to the ruins of Olympia and decided to explore the small harbor town of Katakolon. – After visiting the ruins of Ephesus, many other ruins of antiquity were bit much for us. Ours was the only cruise ship in the harbor there, so the town was not crowded at all. Like all ports of call, there were a plethora of souvenir shops. We were able to browse at our hearts content and enjoyed some local coffee as well. We visited a small museum of ancient musical instruments and also a kind of science museum showing the use of ancient inventions for leverage and moving heavy items. The Greeks claim a lot of scientific inventions to be their own. I guess the Romans used many of these inventions and may even have improved on them to advance their empire.
During our exploration we chatted with one of the local shop owners. His English was very articulate. He had been a merchant to American soldiers who came to the area for missile training during the cold war; he had been cleared to go onto US bases. Also, he told us, he had run in the Olympics in 1984. He then went into a back room and re appeared with the torch, which he had carried at that time. He let Corrie hold it for a priceless picture. This was as close as we came to Olympia, or the games for that matter. We had seen the grand stadium in Athens, and Corrie got to hold the torch., near old Olympia. Not too bad at all.