Sitting downstairs in the lobby of our latest Hotel, Hotel Athina Beach, on the island of Cephallonia (Kefalonia). There is a cool breeze coming in from the balcony and I am eating a juicy peach! Doesn't get much better than this :)
Tomorrow was yet another long day (perhaps one of our longest so far), which explains why there was no post yesterday. We loaded onto the bus and left our hotel in Olympia at 10:15 and drove over to our field trip at the Ancient Olympia site. The drive was only about 5 minutes, but we needed our bus because we were leaving from Olympia straight after the visit. Our guide Nike (but a different Nike, not the old lady) led us around the museum first, where we saw some statuary that had been recovered from the site. After our quick tour of the museum, we took a few minutes to cool off, use the bathroom, and get drinks or snacks. They had two big massage chairs that cost 1 euro, but I didn't have a euro coin. I decided to sit in the chair anyway and it set off this crazy alarm lol! OOPS!
Walking outside, it was impressive how large the Olympia site is. Most of the other places we visited were large, but contained. This site held two temples, multiple bath and practice houses, a huge hotel, and the ancient stadium, of course! All these things were in ruins, with large trees dispersed between. The sound of cicadas was deafening here; it has been a pretty constant sound throughout the trip (I can hear them chirping now outside the hotel), but it was really noticeable for some reason. We even saw several of the bugs, one that had just hatched and another that was near the end of its cycle.
By far the coolest part of this trip was going into the old stadium and running from the start to the finish. We all walked over together and began running as a group (although some people took off too soon! Cheaters! haha). Being an athlete and having the ability to visit the birthplace of the modern Olympic games and where they light the Olympic flame for every modern Olympics since 1936 is just mind-blowing. I don't really know how else to describe it. It's hard to imagine all those ancient athletes running through the tunnel into the stadium (naked and with bare feet), training in the heat for months to try and achieve glory for their city. Our guide told us that the city from which an Olympic winner came would break down part of its fortress wall to allow the athlete in, a way of saying "we have a champion, we don't need walls", and that the victor would receive free food for life from his city. It was a huge deal back then! It was also cool to hear that women had their own games, the Herarean Games, named after the goddess Hera.
After our field trip, we had some time to walk back into modern Olympia and have lunch before departing at 2:30 for the port. I shared chicken pizza with two other girls, and also a disgusting frozen lemonade. It was so hot! Probably one of the hottest days I have experienced here. Before leaving I also made a stop at the pharmacy to get anti-itch cream, since I now have about 20 million bugbites all over my back, legs, and arms. The Olympia area is a little more swampy than the other places we've been, and withing about 15 minutes at the pool, I was totally devoured.
Our bus ride lasted an hour and a half; we arrived at the port at around 3:45, then we waited to board the ferry until 4:30. The ferry departed at 5:30, and we arrived at the port of Poros at around 7pm. The drive to our particular town, Karamvalyos (sp?) was another hour. So in total, 10 hours today! After immediately taking a shower, a group of us walked 10-15 minutes to the closest town, Sami, where we had dinner at a seaside restaurant. I had a crepe with turkey, cheese, and green peppers! (yes, my favorite!) It was pretty delicious, although the service took forever. We didn't get back to the hotel until around midnight, where I tried to call my boyfriend but discovered that the phones here don't work. Hmmmmm...
The hotel in general is kind of lame. Not very updated, only one key per room, we didn't have towels in our room when we arrived, no free shampoo...etc. The blankets were very nice though! I have to give them something.
Ok, well I think that's all for now. I'm uploading a lot more pictures and will post the links ASAP. Today is a free day and tomorrow we have class and nothing. I'm thinking it might be a good time for beach bumming and exploring the town and relaxing. Oh and reading! Gotta remember to do that too :)