Olympia

Jun 16, 2018 - Sea Cloud


This morning, Sea Cloud docked at the port of Katakolon, on the west side of the Peloponnese, and drove to the ancient site of Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic Games. 

The first Olympic Games took place here in 776 B.C., and were organized in honor of Zeus, the father of the Olympic gods. We strolled through the gymnasium, where athletes trained in running, long jump, javelin, and discus throwing. The stunning palestra, part of the gymnasium, was for the wrestlers and boxers. We saw the building in which one of the seven wonders of the ancient was made: the gold and ivory statue of Zeus. Next, we walked around the Temple of Zeus, which was destroyed by earthquakes. 

The stadium was really impressive, with a 20-meter archway leading to its center. At one time, the stadium could seat 50,000 people, and Greeks from all around the Mediterranean traveled in order to participate in games here every five years. The games were also important in the establishment of colonies.  With this very important religious and athletic event, the Greeks united and honored and glorified their city states and families. The prize for the games was nothing but an olive wreath—it was the glory that mattered, not the gold! At the Museum of Olympia, we saw all the statues that were once decorating the temples. The most beautiful of them was the statue of Hermes, made by the sculptor Praxiteles. 

We returned to a harbor and rested, reminiscing about the great day we had while enjoying another delicious lunch on board. The sails were put up once more, and we continued to sail through the Ionian Sea and the western coast of the Peloponnese. Grace gave a very interesting lecture this afternoon about languages in the Balkans. A wonderful Greek dinner was served at the Lido bar.

Life on the Sea Cloud cannot get any better!

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About the Author

Kriton Piperas

Cultural Specialist

Born in Tanzania, East Africa, Kriton Piperas studied art history and graduated the State School for Tourist Guides of Athens. He has lived in Athens since the 70’s and served as a professional guide and lecturer since 1981.

About the Photographer

Lauren Buchholz

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Lauren’s wanderlust has taken her from the Appalachians to the Rockies to the Southern Alps.

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