The only thing I really wanted to see in Athens was the Acropolis. Since Athens was the scene of some pretty serious rioting the day before, we were advised not to venture into the downtown area. Mostly because tear gas had been used and the residue in the cement was still an issue with the day’s heat. I was not really opposed to wearing a gas mask, but I didn’t care to be pelted with a Molotov cocktail.
So walking the the Acropolis is somewhat surreal since it is probably one of the world’s most recognizable landmarks and older than anything my mind can wrap around. Apparently there are many acropoli (made that up but a high chance of being right) but this is the big daddy that simply goes by THE Acropolis.
The Parthenon is the most recognizable temple in Athens and sits prominently among other ruins in the Acropolis. Amazingly, it took about ten years to build yet about fifteen to add all the decorum on the outside. Many of the structures in Athens are currently in varying stages of restoration.
Amazing that this stuff was built around 400BC and is still standing today!
The next day we visited Katakolon, Greece.
Starting blocks in the ancient stadium of Olympia
I was never a huge history fan when I was a kid, but the longer I’m around the more interesting it gets. Regardless, it is difficult not to be impressed by ancient Olympia.
This the archaeological site of Olympia, where the ancient Olympic Games were held! Clearly history, when combined with sports, gets a little more interesting.
A half hour drive from Katakolon allowed us to meander through some of the most fertile areas of Greece, where most of the country’s fruit and vegetables are grown.
We eventually arrived at Kronos Hill, where the Olympic Games originated in 776 B.C! The structures in this area date back to 10th and 9th century B.C. and it’s also where the modern day Olympic flame is lit using sunlight and a lens (remember ants?).
The remains of the temples, changing rooms, gym and other buildings are completely fascinating, but around the corner sits the outdoor stadium where the actual competitions happened.
I walked the same field where the first Olympics were held. Epic!
A visit to the Archaeological Museum of Olympia
Ancient battle helmets discovered in the 1960s. Disappointed these were not for sale.
|Sculptured ornaments from the Temple of Zeus|
Amazing olive oil everywhere
Just before leaving Katakolon, I snooped around a vacant carnival and took a few shots. Thankfully not at night as that would have put me over the edge. Still, kinda creepy to be around abandoned rides for some reason. Great setting for a Scooby-Doo thriller. Like, zoinks, Scoob!
Bizarre Ballerina ride. Don’t ask because I have no idea!
Katakolon was the final stop in my tour of Greece.
If you have been following my summer in Greece, Italy and Croatia then you might remember that my trip commenced and concluded in Italy.
I’ll post my final travel images this week from Venice and Murano, Italy. If you are interested and missed any, take a look back through my July 2011 archive and work your way through August 2011.
You’ll find highlights of each stop that I made during a fourteen day tour of Greece, Italy and Croatia during the summer of 2011.
Check out my online travel gallery here with lots of images from Greece, Italy and Croatia.