September 21, 2012
Morning came early and we once again boarded the bus. Today’s destinations were ancient Olympia and the seaside village of Kardamyli. Yannis our bus driver expertly made it down the twisty and windy mountain as if he were driving a tiny Smart Car. As if on cue the bus went around a corner and there in the middle of the road was a herd of goats with a shepherd. Cameras started clicking and flashing as people captured the quaint scene.
At 10:00 A.M. we started our tour of Olympia with local guide Niki. First we toured the Archaeological Museum and then it was on to the Sanctuary of Olympia or the site of the first Olympics. As we walked through the site Niki explained earthquakes and enemy tribes destroyed the site. Prior to excavation the original site was buried under 25 feet of earth. My highlight was going underneath the stone arch and walking the length of the ancient stadium built in the sixth century BC. Several tour members lined up and ran the 640 feet from one end to the other.
Late in the afternoon we arrived at the quaint and charming seaside village of Kardamyli. Our hotel was Hotel
Esperides. Dad and I stayed in an apartment/suite with a patio overlooking a courtyard. We both washed some
clothes in the sink and put them out to dry. Dad watched some soccer on TV before we headed down to the water to enjoy a light dinner at Hariloas Restaurant. On this tour it is fun to have group dinners, but also nice to be able to step away and enjoy a quiet dinner with Dad. Our table was on the patio overlooking the water. The sun set as we
enjoyed our food. The moon soon came out and casted a reflection on the water.
Another magical moment in Greece!
September 22, 2012
Today was our first "vacation from our vacation day" on the tour.
What to do with a free day in Kardamyli? Head to the beach, of course! Dad and I packed up some towels, snacks and water and walked to Ritsa Beach, on the Messenian Gulf. We headed toward the end of the beach where the beach had smaller rocks and pebbles. Luckily we were able to rent an umbrella and lounge chairs. The water was incredibly clear and the most beautiful aqua blue. It was truly a magical moment walking into the warm water and telling myself “You are really swimming in Greek waters!” Pinch me because I must be dreaming! We spent the day swimming and lounging at the beach…..pure relaxation.
On the walk back through the village Dad, who spent 60 years as a carpenter, explored the local hardware store. Back at the hotel we washed some more clothes and took a nap before heading back to Hariloas for an early dinner. I had my favorite meal of Moussaka. Once again we had a great meal and heard the waves splashing on the rocks below us. Dad headed back to the hotel, but I walked along the waterfront and back streets snapping pictures around every corner.
Good Night Greece. I’m falling in love with you more and more with each passing day!