Day 23: Olympia,Greece

Posted on Sat 26 May 2012 in Transatlantic Cruise and Europe • 6 min read

Sumner:

Today was an early day because we had to get up early because we were to meet in the Vista Lounge at seven fifteen for our shore excursion. This is because we did a shore excursion that the ship offers where we go to Olympia and to a museum. We were on Holland America Line tour six. (as if you really needed to know that) and when we got to the bus we saw one of the leaders for Club HAL, Kate. She was going on the tour also. They have to pay to go but it is greatly discounted. The catch is that you kinda have to help to keep track of everyone in the tour. We had an excellent guide for the tour, her name is Olga. She really knew her stuff and gave a great commentary all of the ride from the port town to Olympia. She had written a book about Olympia and was in the process of getting it published. We were kinda worried because a lot of people had said That Olympia is just a pile of rocks on the ground, it might have been if you didn't have a guide to take you around and explain what you were seeing but with the guide it was very interesting. He place must have been magnificent in its prime. A true sports complex. We saw a training arena where the athletes were instructed by their coaches. Of course only the foundation and a few columns are left but it was neat to stand on the very spot where athletes were once trained. We then went to a place where the wrestling competition was held. One interesting thing about this building was the flor. It was made of tiles with little channels going longways down the tile in it there was sand which was the indication of how many matches you had lost. He more sand you had on you, the worse you were doing. We then headed on through a hall which had on both sides, columns lining the way. Of course only the ruins of the columns are left but as with all of the buildings of Olympia, they must have been spectacular when they were new. We then passed a memorial that Philip the Great built in the middle of Olympia. When it was built it showed not only political power but also displayed religious power. This is because Olympia was a religious center as well as physical and the Olympics were spiritual as well as physical displays of power. Near this was a fountain this fountain held many different statues that had been removed to a museum for protection. We then went through an arch into the race track. As I was walking through the arch I realized that there is truly not anything new under the sun. It was just like our modern tunnels that the athletes come out of before a game. I am sure that it was much the same then as well. Once out of the archway we were in the running track. There were sixteen or eighteen blocks on the ground probably a yard and a half in width (1.3 or so metres probably). These were the starting blocks for the runners. The way that they made it fair and made sure that no one gets a head start they had a pulley system in which a wooden board was held above the ground so that the runner couldn't get out. The ropes that held the board were held by someone else behind them and when the signal was given the ropes were dropped and the runners went off. As the boards hit the stone they made a large racket, much like the modern pistol shot. Hannah and I lined up and then had a race, not all of the way but some of the way down the track. I won. We then got back on the bus and went to the museum. We stopped at a shop for a few minutes and had a sandwich and then proceeded to he exhibits of the theater. We went first to a room that had the pre-Olympian artifacts. Statues, clay figures etc. We then kept on going and getting more advanced in time and ended at a place with a large statue of the god Nike. Nike was the god of victory. Here also were two helmets, one of the Persian army and the other of the Greek. This was because in the first Punic war during the Battle of Marathon, The Greeks routed the Persians as they were trying to get organized after they landed. We then went to the second best exhibit; the removed statues from the fountain. I won't bother describing them all to you because one you've looked at them for about ten seconds at the most you are done. More interesting however was the last and best exhibit; the facades from the temple of Zeus, the head of the family of the gods. Before we saw this exhibit we looked at a model of the building that they statue of Zeus was held in. The statue of Zeus must have been almost overwhelming because it looked like if he stood up he would bust the roof. We were able to see the two facades of the building. One side had a battle of men versus centaurs, half man half horse. This was symbolic of the battle between men and barbarians. The centaurs because they were thought to be half beast are represented by the centaurs. The other facade is of the birth of Athena. The myth is that Zeus had a headache and so his son took a two sided axe and opened up his fathers head and out of it came Athena, in full armor and fully grown. She is the god of war, wisdom, and love (I think). After that we went back to the bus. The ride back consisted of black, yes I slept all the way. Tonight was formal night and during dinner Jeff showed us a trick with corks. They are so hard to explain in writing that I won't even bother, you can ask me when I get home to show them to you.
    \~Sumner

Hannah:
Today we woke up early and I got lost trying to find my mom at the buffet. But I found her and we had breakfast. Oma did not come with us today because we wanted her to be rested for Athens tomorrow. We did a bus tour instead of a private tour. We had a 30 minute drive to the place. At first glance, Olympia looked like just piles of rocks. But when our tour guide told about what things actually were, your eyes were opened to the rieal meaning. (Our tour guides name was Olga. and she wanted us to call her... Olga) Did you know that if you cheated in the games, your name, you fathers name, and the town you were from would be etched in stone for the whole public to see. Like the WHOLE public. Sumner and I got to stand on the starting point of the running track. We had a reace but Sumner beat me. (he also got a a head start) after Olympia, we went back to the boat. Tonight was formal dinner, but because we got there so early, I swam with new friend. Her name is Lucy, and she is 7 and lives in Australia. After swimming, I went to shower and get ready for the evening. did I tell you it was formal night? During dinner again, Jeff 9our waiter) did a trick by flipping 2 corks. It was hard at first, I got the pleasure of getting to give weda the corks so he coulsd practice in his room and show us tomorrow night. I hope he shows us tomorrow. That would be fun. I learned you have to be 21 or over to work for Holland America. After dinner I went to Club HAL. We painted the volcano bright pretty colors. Unlike the other one which looked like a pile of poo. REALLY!!! It did!! The rest of the night, I just had fun with the Club HAL people and Ethan. (no, Ethan is NOT my boyfriend. He actually is a 6yr old boy that a a trake in is thoat and his stomach. he is RELALLY nice. but he can't really talk. He just grunts or does sign language.) I went straigh to bed. And actually everyone was asleep when I got there.

***-Hannah-***