Monday, June 6, 2016

Kalo Nero and Olympia

Memorial Day was a week ago. Rather than take the day off, I decided to extend the vacation for an entire week. I'm back now. You have my full and undivided attention.*

Phil and I spent Memorial Day weekend in the Peloponnese. It was our first trip with the baby, and it went really well. We stayed in Kalo Nero, about an hour drive from Olympia, at a hotel called Irida Resort. Irida is owned by Kostas and his wife, Irini. They are the epitome of Greek hospitality. We ate Irini's cooking every morning for breakfast, while Kostas sat in a nearby chair and told us about Greek history, the Greek language, his village, the nearby sites, Greek food, and what he's learned about taking care of babies. They were so kind and so accommodating.

I failed to take any photos of the hotel itself (I was on vacation, darn it), but I'll link to the website when I finish yammering through this paragraph. Our room was clean and non-smoking, with a small fridge, stovetop, sink, and related kitchen crap. We had a small balcony with a great view. The sea is just across the street from the hotel, and we could hear it from our room. One of the nicest features, which really seems to be a rarity here, was the balcony screen door. We were able to keep the door open all night without having to deal with bugs. Irini's delicious breakfast is included with the price, and Kostas is more than willing to share his best wine with you.

Book it, already:

Phil at a beachside taverna in Kalo Nero, looking like a freaking model from a freaking tourist brochure.

Here's that taverna at sunset. Also brochure-worthy. The food was good.

We stayed in Kalo Nero primarily because we wanted to see nearby Olympia. Olympia is one of Rick Steves' favorite archaeological sites in Greece. When in Europe, do as the Rick does. At breakfast, before our pilgrimage to the site, Kostas gave us directions, and told us that we should not pass on the on-site museum, if only to see the statue of Nike, and the statue of Hermes. The museum is included in the ticket, and next to the parking lot. You have to walk past it to get to the ancient ruins. What I'm saying is you'd be foolish not to pop inside.

Old shield, and stuff.

Old helmets.

Old lion.

Old Dolphin. 


Old headless dignitaries.

The town of Olympia is a tourist trap. There is junk for sale everywhere, which is great if you need to buy some junk. The archaeological site of Olympia is beautiful, and worth the trip. In addition to the museum, there's a small trail through botanical gardens, and the ruins. 

Olympia was a sanctuary where the first ancient Olympic games were held. In modern times, it's the site where the Olympic torch is lit before the Games. They lit the torch for Rio 2016 about a month ago, but I was stuck in the hospital with a neonate, and couldn't make the drive. Olympia is about 3ish hours from Athens.

Baby's second archaeological site. He was a big hit.

Old buildings.

More old buildings.

Old gym.

Old temple.

Those slabs in the foreground are where they light the torch for the Olympics. They use a giant mirror to reflect the sun, and set the sucker on fire. 

Read this. This is cool. This is what they need for all the Rio dopers.

Here are the bases funded by the cheaters.

The archway into the stadium.

The first Olympic stadium. Phil's at the starting line.

People run to the finish line. I walked, slowly.

Just before I took this picture, I was yelled at for standing on the ruins. I'm sorry for being that tourist. In my defense, the crap wasn't clearly marked, and there were a bunch of people sitting on other, similar things.

Olympia was great. You could easily spend at least half a day there. Go forth.

*I have a screaming babe in arms right now. You have none of my attention.

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