We were eating our lunch the second day of the cruise and enjoying the company of a lovely English couple. They had done a summer cruise with MCS doing the Barcelona trip and loved it so much they were back for this winter cruise. All of a sudden it seemed liked everyone from the restaurant were coming to stand by our table or this side of the ship. We had a huge round window.....or huge porthole behind us and everyone coming over to check out Stromboli Island....which is one of the seven Aeolian Islands. This is also one of the three active volcanos in Italy. Yes, that is smoke coming from the snowy top of this volcano. And yes, that is a village at the base of it. Amazing!!! Apparently this volcano is pretty active and last erupted in March 2007. I think I will stick to our cyclones.
This is one view we had as we went through the Strait of Messina. Which is the passage way between the Eastern tip of Sicily and the Southern tip of Italy...yes the point of the boot.
The next morning we arrived at Katakolon, our first taste of Greece and first stop of the cruise. What a pretty sight it is. We caught our first tour bus organised by MCS. We had a lovely 1/2 hour drive to Olympia with the best of all our tour guides on the cruise. Sorry, not sure how to spell her name but she knew just how much info to tell us and then to give us time to wander and admire.
The start of our Olympia discovery. So glad we had a tour guide here otherwise this is just a pile of stones and lovely green grass. But it is not....this is the building that the athletes would train in.
Just love this shot...not sure what the columns were for but the tour guide was explaining the three different styles of architecture. See the top of these columns with the swirly bits....really technical....these show that these are Ionic columns. There are three different styles, Ionic, Doric and Corithian.
Now this is a top of a Doric column....that has landed on the ground. The age is just amazing but the sheer size.....how did they get this to the top of a column?
This is one they made earlier.....lol. This is a column they have reconstructed to show what the Doric column would be like....yes, this is the same size as the one shown above. Sorry the photo is so shadowy.
Now our tour guide was very good and taught us how to read Greek. She covered certain areas on this and yes we could read it. Now when I look at this photo it is just all Greek to me except for the start which I know is Marko. From memory he won a wrestling match and it gives a date. This is the pedestal for his statue that lined the street with many many others.
Now this is such and awesome feeling....walking/running on the same area that the very first Olympian's ran and competed way back in 776BC. :-0 My boots were too heavy to run all the way but I did run some of it. The grassy verges on each side are where the spectators would sit.......all men. As no women or slaves were allowed to spectate or compete. If a women dared to sneak into this area and was discovered they were thrown off the cliffs in the distance.
This was the tunnel through which everyone entered the stadium. Apparently, one time there was a mother that was so proud of her sons achievements she snuck in as one of the trainers. All was going well until her son had done so well she ran into the stadium area and her clothing was pulled somehow revealing she was a 'she' after all. Apparently, after that occurrence everyone had to pass through the tunnel in the nude.
Hera's Altar....this is where the Olympic Flame was lit. Yes, females were permitted outside of the stadium area.
I just loved the mix of the old and the new with the water fountains.
Wild olives which apparently was the wreath place on the winners heads.
Just a little of the museum. These are all horse statues they have found in there excavating over time. There are lots more museum shots which bring back great memories for us but I think you can just see on the net if you would like. Or you are quite welcome to come for a visit. :-)