I was so excited when I found out that we could easily travel to Olympia whilst on holiday in Zante. It’s where the first ever Olympic Games was held and I couldn’t wait to be absorbed by such culture and history. I’m not a massive fan of sports, but can appreciate the effort and dedication that goes into becoming a competing athlete. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from our trip, but I knew that I would instantly come away having learnt something new. Plus I’m such a sucker for anything of historic value.
It was a mega hot summer’s day when we chose to visit and temperatures exceeded forty degrees, which is pretty much unheard of for us Londoners and we danced around the ground in search of shade, like little ants looking to return to their colony.
We took an early ferry across to the Greek mainland to make the most of our trip. I hadn’t visited the mainland before. The ferry was really reasonable and with the salty sea air flowing through my hair off we went on our adventure.
We had an English speaking tour guide show us around the grounds. I think having a guide is really crucial because there aren’t really any signs and they help you understand what it is exactly that you are looking at. He chose me to wear the crown (well a replica!) that the winner of the Olympic Games would have worn all of those years ago and I felt like a Greek Goddess (sort of).
The remains are incredible. So much is still left in remarkable condition, despite being battered by all weathers, earthquakes and thousands of tourists.
The original running track is still there and I even channelled my inner athlete and had a sprint on it.
The athletes would have walked through a corridor with a stone archway and into the arena. It’s still there and you really feel as though you have been taken back in time to when winning was everything. You can almost feel the pressure as you walk under the archway and into the vast arena.
The winners would have been crowned whilst stood on a podium, basking in their glory with crowds applauding. The winner must have felt so proud.
There is also a lovely museum that has some amazing artefacts on display. It has a cafe and air conditioning, which was a welcome relief from hours of the intense heat and I very much enjoyed devouring an ice cream whilst letting the cool air tickle my skin.
Olympia is also quite a pretty little town with many shops, bars and restaurants. It’s worth having a look around if you are in the area. We found a spot with lots of sunflowers. I’ve always loved a sunflower, they take me back to when I was a child and life was simple. I used to love watching sunflowers go from a couple of inches to double my height in a matter of weeks. They always remind me of summers spent in a haze of being outdoors and with friends.
Before we knew it, it was time to catch our ferry back to Zante, leaving behind the history of Olympia, but taking away new memories with us.
Have you visited Olympia?