Katakolon (Olympia), Greece

We took a tour bus from Katakolon to the site of the original Olympic Games. The tour guide was telling us information along the ride about the history of the place, and he was giving the talks in English, Italian and Greek. Later, I asked him how many languages he spoke, and he said he was fluent in 7 different languages.

The archaeological site had ruins from various time periods and people were still excavating different areas that were fenced off. Some of the big things to see were the Temple of Zeus and the Greek baths. Another major attraction was the original Olympic Stadium and the stone arched tunnel that led into the stadium. The Stadium was really just a long field with a “start line” for the runners. The museum portion of the site had some of the intact statues and things that were excavated. Some of the pieces were really large — marble statues that were 5 feet tall.

Overall, the area was a lot smaller than I thought it would be, and having read many books and played many computer games set in the ancient times, I was kind of disappointed to see that nothing was still standing. The temple of Zeus had one large column, and everything else was on the ground. I suppose this is a side effect of being an ancient civilization, but it was still sad to see.