Tuesday, November 3, 2015

In Olympia

With only two days left on our cruise, B and I were feeling the time fly!  Our next port of call was at Katakolon, Greece.  Our excursion for this area involved the ruins at Olympia and a tour of a vineyard, complete with wine tastings!

Our tour guide for this day was Demetrius and we met him at the bus for Group 1.  This trip ashore was a little easier than the day prior at Santorini.  For that stop, we had to ride on a tender from the ship to the shore.  Basically, a little water bus took us across in some crazy waves splashing like crazy.  This was just a regular old bus, with only about 25 folks on it, so we had plenty of room.  Demetrius liked to smoke, so we got plenty of breaks for bathrooms and wandering around while he stepped away and lit up.
He gave us some good information on the ruins and the layout of the town, but it was hard to understand him over the transmitter he was using, so I didn't pay a whole lot of attention.  B and I were more concerned about whether our seventh grade history teacher, Mr. Hostetler, had given us good information about Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian column styles.  haaaaaaa

I got to enjoy wearing the same scarf for about the 18th day in a row.  It's sitting on the chair with me here in Venice after getting a workout today, too.  

This stone arch is the entryway onto what was basically the track for the Olympic event.  It's not a round and round track as you might expect, but runners went from one point to the next and then back for multiple "laps."  There were also no bleachers or seating, just grassy hills as it was easier for people to recline and relax.
B and I agreed that we enjoyed the Ephesus ruins more...just more to see and a better story about the everyday life of the citizens.  But, it was still interesting.  Once again, our tour took us to a local marketplace so we'd have an opportunity to positively impact Greece's economy.  I just had a simple cappuccino served up by a rude Greek woman.  Delightful.

Next we headed to the Mercouri estate to tour the vineyards and enjoy a sample.  We didn't have very high hopes for this one because the day before, on Santorini, the "wine tour" consisted of about 20 minutes to taste three wines, eat a tiny piece of cheese and then get the spiel to buy something in the little shop...not impressive.  

But, we were surprised and delighted at Mercouri to get an in-depth tour from the estate's owner who talked about the many generations of his family that have worked the vineyards and the farm for decades.

Mr. Kanellakopoulos, the owner, took us through an outbuilding housing a historical look at all the tools used for various crops at the estate through the years.  There were cats and kittens all over the place, taking care of the farm, I'm sure.  I watched one walk to the middle of our crowd of folks, scratch a bit, then take a poo just at the time Demetrius walked over to pet it.  I'm sure I was the only one who saw that and laughed to myself.
We then went through the cellar to see hundreds of barrels of various red and white wines in their processing state.  The highlight was, of course, the tasting.  Both the red and white varieties were delicious and we were happy to have wonderful Greek olive oil and cheeses to share.  (Mind you, after the previous day's experience, this was like a feast!)  The timing of meals in Europe is just something I can't buy into...lunch at around two and then dinner after eight.  I'm ready for a noon time lunch and then dinner at my Mom and Dad's table at five thirty or six.
In the bus on the way back to the port and the ship, we ran into a little delay in the form of a sheep herd.  Probably a couple hundred head were making their way up the hill on the narrow road that was, allegedly, designed for two cars.
I did a quick little drawing while celebrating my rude Greek customer service and made this little Greek girl.
That night, back on the ship, it was formal dinner night, so we dressed up and headed to "The King and I" dining room for our dark-of-night 8:30 dinner seating.  Our fellow table guests were a group of ladies from Scotland who know each other from a dart club.  They were completely hilarious and altogether puzzling...couldn't figure out who was single, married, or gay or even what their names were.  It was so funny, though, that we laughed and laughed all through our shared meals.  This particular evening, there were only two of them at the table since the others were all out on the deck watching Jurassic World.

Got home to our room to this cute little bunny.  Smooches.
Bunnyman knew we needed help getting through the evening as it was now time to brush our teeth and wash our faces with the tiny spittle of a faucet.  Good grief.  Only a few more times and we'd be back to land-based plumbing in Venice...with its own set of challenges!  I'll share more on that one later!  haaaaaaaaaaa

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Charleston, SC, United States
I'm a retiree/artist/student who makes things. It's a nice kind of lifestyle!

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