Days 3 & 4 of our Mediterranean Cruise
Katakolon, Greece (Olympia)
The ship ports in the quaint little town of Katakolon. This town offers plenty for the traveler to enjoy with an old town square, ancient walls, bustling waterfront, and enticing boutiques. Most tourists on a time crunch, however, skip this town, jump on a bus, and head for the more famous site at Olympia. Our friends, having already seen Olympia, chose the former and we chose the latter.
Olympia is an ancient city dating back almost 2000 years. The first Olympic games took place here in 776 BC. The stadium dates back to the fifth century and held an impressive 45,000 spectators. Visiting the site you can either take a tour offered by the cruise, hire a guide, or take a self guided tour. If you chose the latter be sure to read up on the site before you get there (books are available in the cruise library) so you can use your time wisely. Don't count on being able to use the internet while cruising. While it is available it is often expensive and slow.
In addition to the ruins, there are two museums full of impressive artifacts. They are also a great place to hang out while the rain blows over (our day was rainy).
Athens was amazing. For my daughter and I this was one of the highlights of the trip. The day was sunny and the sites were breathtaking. After leaving the ship we boarded a bus and headed into town. The bus dropped us off across the street from Zeus' temple, so we took a peek at the ruins and headed up to the Acropolis (there is a great view of Zeus' temple from up there). With so much to see on this ancient site be sure to either read up on it before, buy a guide book or take a guided tour. We enjoyed having Teri read to us, and Sammi recount Greek mythology as we walked among the ruins.
We visited the New Acropolis Museum, a piece of artwork itself, which houses many beautiful artifacts taken from the surrounding sites. A definite must see.
Don't forget to leave time for shopping. There are plenty of street vendors selling the usual tourist items, but take some time to look in the local shops too. We found some beautiful, one-of-a-kind souvenirs that were higher quality and fit our budget. If you want a sweet yummy treat while shopping try the coconut rolls, one of my two favorite treats I tried on our trip.