Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Olympia, Greece

Our final stop was near Olympia, Greece.  The actual port town was called Katakolon, and Olympia was about a 30 min bus ride from the port.

To be honest, at this point I was kind of “ruins’d” out.  Don’t get me wrong, they are very cool and fascinating, but this was our third day in a row of seeing them in super hot weather and I was kind of done with it all.  I’m glad we saw it, but again, I don’t think I’m dying to go back to Olympia any time soon.


The Olympics date back as far as 776 B.C. and were originally in honor of Zeus.  There were also remains of a species of man found at the site of Olympia dating back to the 10th century BC.


Mark had his nose buried in a Rick Steve’s book as we wandered around and he was pointing out to me what things were and I has half paying attention.  The columns above were part of the wrestling arena.  (I must have been more than half paying attention since I’m writing this over a month later and I still remember it.)


Below is the sculpture’s house that made the giant statue of Zeus, that is no longer on the site.  But this is where we made that statue.



Below are pictures of one of the bath houses and then looking across the grounds from near the bath houses.


Here’s a close up of what the rocks looked like.  Olympia was very near a small stream, which at one point could have been much large, so maybe that would explain the shells.


The site was rediscovered in 1766 and was thought to have been covered by repeated tsunamis in the area.  They thought at one point it was buried under over 26 feet of dirt.


Looking at the ruins above, those fallen column parts don’t look that big, but some of them are.  I’m just under 5’9 for comparison.


These are steps leading up to the ancient temple of Zeus.


Here is the crypt, or the entrance to the old stadium.  Athletes used to put their stuff into the holes in the side of the walls while they competed.  Also a little bit of history Mark told me on our tour – athletes back in the day used to drink bull’s blood as kind of a “Red Bull” type of drink to give them a competitive advantage.  To test the athlete’s for this, which drinking it was illegal, they would have people drink the athlete’s urine to taste for it….  How would you like that job?  The official Olympic pee-drinker.  Ew.


Below is the stadium.  You can see the starting line by where those people are standing.  The stadium could hold 50000 spectators.


Mark is standing by where they light the Olympic torches in current day, to be carried to wherever the games are being held that year.


After we wandered around the Olympic grounds, we headed over to the museum that held a lot of the artifacts that they’ve found in Olympia.


Our last day on the cruise was spent at sea, which was really nice.  We spent most of the day reading by the pool and that was just what we needed after all the sight-seeing of the week.

We absolutely loved going on the cruise, and hopefully it won’t be our last!  I’m so glad we got the opportunity to go on this one without the kids though.  They would have been miserable in the heat and we would have been miserable dragging them all over the place also.  They had much more fun with grandma Donna and Miss Shelly.

I cannot believe it’s taken me an entire month to write about this cruise.  I’ve really fallen off the blogging band wagon, it seems.  We just got back from Vienna and Bratislava and we’re heading to Milan and some place else this coming weekend.  (We haven’t decided where yet.)  And then we’ll be taking a break from traveling until the beginning of October when we’ll head to Rome and the Amalfi Coast with Mark’s family and then later in October we’re going to Ireland with my family.

In much more current news, Abbie is pretty darn sick right now.  I’m not sure what’s up with her and I’ve had her at the doctor, but she’s had a fever ranging from 100-102.7 since Sunday morning and she said her neck hurts.  So of course we’re all freaked out about meningitis, but the doctor said that she didn’t think that was the case, and Abbie’s neck hurts on the side (possibly her glands??), not on her spinal cord.  But she’s just not being her normal spunky self at all.  She’s super whiny and just lays around all day and doesn’t want to eat much.  I really hope she feels better soon.  I hate it when she’s sick.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Sunday Social

1. What is the first website you log into each day?  Gmail, to check my email, followed by FB, followed by my blogger dashboard to read all my blogs.
2. Give us some funny websites that you visit that we need to know about.  I don’t really go to funny websites regularly, but the STFU ones are pretty funny.
3. Pinterest or Facebook? Why?  FB for sure.  You have a better idea of what’s going on in people’s lives and I have never fully figured out Pinterest.
4. Twitter or Instagram? Why?  I don’t log in to either regularly, but I guess Twitter.  I like reading articles people post on there.
5. Favorite YouTube video. Post it!  Oh…. I LOVE the sneezing baby panda one and the one where the German Shephard is “talking” about eating.  But I think this one makes me laugh more than any other.

6. Biggest online pet peeve?  When people are cryptic on FB.  Where they post things that make you wonder what they’re talking about and then never explain.  It’s like they just do it to get attention.  Drives me nuts.  That and all the political BS people are posting right now.  Yuck.

Friday, August 24, 2012

5QF and Friday Fill-in

1. If you could have been (could be) any profession you wanted (brains and $$$ no problem) what would it be?  I think I would like to get into counselling – marriage, kids, etc.  And it’s not really an issue of brains or money, more of the time to get that degree.  Or I would love to run my own horse farm and do boarding and training.  That is definitely a matter of money though.  =)
2. How often do you clean out your car?  About every 2 weeks.  I can’t stand when my car is dirty (well relatively so – when you have 2 young kids, it’s bound to be messy).  I can stand it messy for a while, but not dirty.
3. Do you wish there was such a thing as fashion police or are you deeply relieved?  I think I’m relieved.  I have about as much fashion sense at a worm and I’d much rather be comfortable in what I’m wearing that fashionable.
4. What's your go to food/drink/activity when stressed?  Chocolate.  Or ice cream.  Or a big fountain Pepsi.  Too bad they don’t’ sell those in Europe.
5. If you had twins, what would you name them?  I had a twin brother and we were Matt and Monica.  I guess I like “matchy”-ish names for twins – ones that start with the same letter anyway.  I have my “c” girl named picked out  (Caitlyn Jayne), but I cannot think of a boy '”c” name that I like.  Any suggestions?
1.  My favorite thing to do on Friday is  ????.  Friday isn’t really any different for me than any other day, I guess.  I love it when my husband gets home from work “early” on Friday (before 6pm) but that happens about once every 2-3 months… So I’m not really sure.
2.  This Friday I am in Vienna, Austria!!  We’re having a good time here, no matter how much my 3 year old is trying to sabotage our good times….  Look for a blog on it soon!  Here’s a picture from our drive up here.
3. The best thing about a weekend is  that it’s a break from the monotony of the work week, and that my husband is usually home!  He works long hours so we rarely see him during the week.  And we live in the perfect location to take weekend trips, so we’ve been trying to do that more, and they are fun!
4. Now that summer is almost over, I'm feeling really excited that the fall is almost here and especially October!  We’re going to the Amalfi Coast and Ireland!!  And I’m excited for my daughter to start the asilo (Italian preschool).  We definitely need a break from each other.
5. The best thing I did this summer was go on the cruise with my husband to Greece and Turkey.  Best trip we’ve had over here by far, mainly because the kids weren’t along and I wasn’t 8 months pregnant!
6. The thing I'm looking forward to about fall is EVERYTHING!!!  The weather, the leaves changing, the clothes you get the wear, the fall shows that start up in September, the bazaar on base, the traveling we’re going to be doing.  I LOVE fall!!!.
7. If I had to be stuck in one season for the rest of my life, I would choose (if you couldn’t tell by my last answer) FALL!!!  If I could find a place where it was continuously fall, I would move there in a heart beat!  I LOVE FALL!!!
Happy Friday!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Athens, Greece

Our next stop was Athens.  We had originally booked an excursion here through the ship, but then decided to do our own tour via a Rick Steve’s book, and it ended up being much cheaper in the long run, and probably a little more exciting.

There are dogs EVERYWHERE in Athens.  We literally saw them everywhere, and I think a good portion of them were strays.  After seeing a couple, I finally started taking pictures of them all.  They were laying all over the ruins also and I only saw medium to large dogs, no small ones.



We weren’t entirely sure where we were going so we just took off walking.  We passed quite a few offers for taxi rides and open bus tours, but wanted to do it on our own, although I slightly regretted that later when we were walking up hill and it was 100 degrees outside.








Downtown Athens is like any other big city, except it kind of felt dirty than some have, and it was also challenging not having “normal” letters to read.  We had no clue what we were looking at.  In the rest of Europe you can pretty easily “read” what the words are, even if you have no clue what they mean.  In Greece, that’s not so much the case, so it was a lot of guessing and asking for help.


We eventually found our way to the metro station, but then had no clue which train to take since we couldn’t read the schedule.  I think we just got on one and then started looking at the stops we were passing and figured out we were on the right one.

We headed in the direction we thought we were supposed to go once we got out of the train station and almost immediately started seeing ancient ruins.  I have no clue what many of these are, but they were neat to walk around in and it was weird to see super old things next to much newer things also.  And there was lots of graffiti in the area also, but some of it was more like artwork than graffiti.


So we could see where we wanted to go, but it was literally up a cliff and we had no clue how to get around it.  I was getting pretty tired of walking up hill and I was hot which equals me getting pissy.  We ended up going up what we thought was the right way, only to ask people coming down if it was the right way and they said no.  So then we went back down and went a different way for 5ish minutes and discovered that was the wrong way too.  Not the best part of the trip for sure, but we eventually figured it out.


And the view from closer to the top was worth it.


We weren’t on any tour, but Mark had his nose stuck in the Rick Steve’s book the entire time we were on the Acropolis.  So I don’t know much of the history, but here’s what I do know.  It is REALLY odd to see such old things surrounded by a huge, fairly modern city.  And the Acropolis is WAY up on a hill and I have no clue how they got all the materials up there to built it.


This is the Odeon of Herodes Atticus.  You couldn’t go down in it, but it looks like they still put on shows in it.  It was build by Atticus in 161 AD as a tribute to his wife.


Here is another view from closer to the top of the Acropolis, on the left, and then how much further we still had to go up once we got through the main gate (Propylaea), on the right.


The Parthenon was amazing.  It was started in 447 BC and was completed in 438 BC and it is the temple dedicated to the Greek goddess, Athena.


The details, again, of the Parthenon, were amazing.  I just don’t know how they had the tools available to make sculptures like they did way back in BC.  The thing below is called the pediment, and originally they depicted stories, but all that remains today is the one statue.  There used to be many more to his right when the roof was still on the building.


To give you an idea of just how big this place actually was, the bottom of each of those pillars behind us are almost 6 ft wide.


And to give you an idea of just how far up we were, this is the view looking away from the Parthenon.


This is the Erechtheion, which is another temple.


This was the view between the Erechtheion and the main gate.  It could be foundations from the old temple of Athena.


Athens was interesting because it very much had a “big city” feel, but then randomly dispersed throughout it were ancient ruins.  Like this old gate.  Looks really out of place when you zoom out and see that there’s actually an 8 lane road going around it.


And right on the other side of that gate, there is a fenced off area that contains even more ruins.


We walked up the street a ways from the gate and other ruins, to find this big whole dug in to the sidewalk.  It was between the road and a large park.  I’m fairly certain that they could find things like this all over underneath Athens.  The city is just brimming with history.


Parts of the city – the quieter parts away from lots of traffic and noise – reminded me of Italy.  Especially when we saw all of the flowers.


We wandered around a bit more and passed through some more ruins on our way back to the metro.  I love that you can go up and touch these, and walk on them. 



I’m glad we had the chance to see Athens, although I’m not sure I’m in a big rush to go back.  It was neat, but there are many other places I’d rather spend my time.  But as long as I’m with my Mark, I guess I don’t really care where we are.


Our next, and final stop, was Olympia!