Travelogue: Ancient Olympia in the Autumn

This may be a little too soon to post a follow-up to my post on Ancient Olympia in the Spring but I like the contrast. We only had about an hour and a half there this time around, so didn’t explore all the hidden corners, but it was beautiful as ever. Since living in Greece, I have become a major proponent of visiting sites in the ‘off-season,’ or rather at least not in high season. April, May, September and October are my favourite time for adventuring, and though these photos of Olympia lack the incredible purple flowering trees that dotted the area in the spring, it was still fairly quiet and we got to look around in peace. And without the heat of the summer sun too!

Olympia

Olympia

Olympia

Olympia

Olympia

Olympia

Olympia

OlympiaDon’t forget to check out the spring photos – almost every angle looks strikingly different in April versus October, except that final picture. The marble finish line marker of the stadium seems to defy all seasonal change, reflecting an appropriate timelessness.

Advertisements

Travelogue: Archaeological Museum of Olympia

After exploring the site of Ancient Olympia, we popped in to the museum on our way out. Though this site is several hours from Athens, the museum is worth the drive all on its own. A few thousand years as a major devotional centre have led to some amazing archaeological finds, from the Classical and Roman periods. People from all over the Greek world founded shrines, endowed monuments and left thousands of votive offerings. These are just some highlights!

Ancient Olympia

Ancient Olympia

Ancient Olympia

Ancient Olympia

Ancient Olympia

Post museum – on the road again!

Voidokilia, Peleponnese

Travelogue: Ancient Olympia in the Spring

Over the Easter holidays, my dad, my aunt & I embarked on 5 day long road trip around the Peleponnese, and set Ancient Olympia as our first destination, around three and a half hours from Athens.

Ancient Olympia
The weather may not have been perfect, but it was definitely the right time of year to be there. Not very crowded, not too hot, and amazing, amazing blooming things. I don’t know why, but I didn’t have very high expectations of this archaeological site. I wasn’t excited about the site of the Ancient Olympics? Silly me.

Ancient Olympia

Ancient Olympia

Ancient Olympia

During our trip, I used an old Blue Guide from the 1960s as our guide, and once I read more about Ancient Olympia, I (unsurprisingly) got pretty excited. From 776 BC, the Olympic Games were held every four years, with the introduction of a truce among the Greek state for the duration of the Games. They went on until the early Christian period and the reign of Roman Emperor Constantine, and the last games were held in 393 AD. There are reasons this is a world heritage site – and lucky us, we had the place almost to ourselves.

Ancient Olympia

Ancient Olympia

Ancient Olympia

Ancient Olympia

Ancient Olympia

Ancient Olympia

Ancient Olympia

Ancient OlympiaI couldn’t resist running a lap or two around the stadium… Not cliche at all… Kind of fun though.Ancient Olympia

Ancient Olympia

Ancient Olympia

Ancient Olympia

Travelogue: Poseidonio Hotel, Spetses

This hotel is a major personality on the island of Spetses. It’s figured prominently in my own posts, and dominates the waterfront. It also figures in our family mythology – my grandmother used to stay in the room on the first floor, on the right side above the door. Every time we pass the hotel my aunt mentions it, and I like that sense of continuity, especially as the Poseidonio celebrates its 100th year anniversary this year.

P9102742

I’ve never stayed here, but have enjoyed the view from the veranda, as well as taken a stroll through the lobby area on the ground floor. In addition to gorgeous decor, the hotel displays a guest book from the 1930s, which includes guest information, their meal orders as well as their drinks of choice. (Lots of beer and mixed drinks, not so much wine!) P9102812The hotel was built in 1914, as part of the effort of mainly one individual to transform a traditional maritime community into a lush and luxurious island escape for Athenians. Those visitors needed a place to stay, of course, and the Poseidonio was built in the style of Cannes or Nice. It is still a destination, and well-deserving of its reputation. The choice of name isn’t bad either.

Travelogue: Spetses

The island of Spetses is one of the easiest day trips from Athens, and one of the most transporting. The island itself does not permit any cars, so the main town is really the main event. My uncle’s little boat brings us from Porto Heli, a town on the mainland opposite the island, to explore both the town and surrounding beaches. Last year, we took advantage of a late summer to celebrate the Greek national holiday, 28 October, in Spetses.

I’ve written about 28 October before – known as ‘No Day,’ though that name really sounds better in Greek.. It celebrates Greece’s rejection of the Italian ultimatum that marked the beginning of Greek involvement in WWII. Hours after the the Greek dictator Metaxas said ‘no’ to Italian forces occupying Greece, they invaded across the northern border near Albania.

Greece’s resistance to fascism is celebrated every year as a national holiday (though usually without discussion that the individual who said ‘no’ was himself a dictator..). Schools are closed and there are parades, and it turns out the waterfront of Spetses is a wonderful setting to watch the festivities.

Spetses

Spetses

Spetses

Spetses

Spetses

Spetses

Spetses

Spetses

Spetses

P.S. See posts from a trip to Spetses in Autumn 2011 (!!) here: in four parts ! This trip was in early September, when we attended the island’s annual celebration of the ‘Armata,’ which commemorates the Greek revolutionaries who used fireships to torch Ottoman vessels and win a major naval victory during the War of Independence.

Travelogue: Tinos Town & Porto

20140804-180111-64871431.jpg

Tinos, again? Yes indeed. After bombarding you with photos of my ‘happy place’ defined as Lake Dunmore, Vermont, I’m switching it up to share yet more of my other happy place. This island. By now I have no idea how many times I’ve been, but its proximity to Athens and (obviously) my aunt’s house there (hi Aunt Laurie!) make it a dependable place for a getaway. I’ve been twice this summer for quick trips and will share a few pictures. Starting with a helpful map! 20140804-180115-64875409.jpg

As I described in an earlier post, the port town of the island is home to the Panagia Evangelistria Church, which can just be seen at the top of the hill.
20140804-180113-64873668.jpg

20140804-180109-64869536.jpg

Perhaps my favourite thing to do upon arrival in Tinos is head, straight from the ferry, to the southeast side of the island (‘Porto’ on the little map at the top of the post) for swimming and food. This is the area we stayed on our first visit to the island 25 years ago, and where I began a lifelong love affair with the sea, at six months old. 20140804-180114-64874569.jpg

Plus, Antonis’s Taverna is always worth a stop – local artichokes, an island speciality, beets, and skordalia, the best garlicky spread. (More food came later, not to worry).

20140804-180110-64870484.jpg

20140804-180112-64872419.jpgNothing better than toes in the sand!

 

P.S. Lots more Tinos posts can be found in my Travel index and by checking out the tag ‘Tinos’. From now on, I’m going to be posting some ‘Travelogue’ posts where I share actual travel adventures, not just photos. I hope you like!