Monday, March 03, 2014

On The Bus, Plus

Today is a public and religious holiday in Greece, Clean Monday, the first day of Eastern Orthodox Lent and a travel day for us: Sparta to Ancient Olympia.

Up at 6:45, breakfast, pack, and out the door at 8:00 for the 10 minute walk to the KTEL bus station, umbrellas up in a light rain. It's pretty quiet at the station and the bus north to Tripoli pulls out at 8:30 - still raining - with only a few passengers.

We arrive at the Tripoli station in plenty of time to buy onward tickets, hit the restroom, price the gift shop and snack bar before departing for Olympia at 10:00 - still raining.

The ride west is spectacular even in the rain. Snow-capped misty peaks with pine forests below and flowering fruit tree orchards along the road. We pull through several mountain villages, head down a spectacular gorge and arrive in Ancient Olympia at 1:30 pm just as the sun comes out. Woohoo!

After finding a hotel, we head over to the ruins. Our plan is to visit the full site and museums tomorrow but its turned out to be a wonderful afternoon and we walk by the ancient Olympic Stadium and up into the hills; a nice leg stretcher after being cooped up on the bus.

For dinner we hit Helene's for a traditional Clean Monday dinner of yigandes beans and lagana bread.  A good day!

Seats in the front row behind the driver from Tripoli to Olympia.
On the Road to Olympia, Greece

Hillside village.
On the Road to Olympia, Greece

Remnants of last night's bonfire and festivities.
On the Road to Olympia, Greece

On the Road to Olympia, Greece

Asking for directions.
On the Road to Olympia, Greece

Olympic Stadium. Tomorrow we do the full tour.
Olympic Stadium - Ancient Olympia, Greece

The Olympic hills and olive groves.
The Hills above Ancient Olympia, Greece

Dinner at Helene's featuring traditional Clean Monday bread and beans. The bread was so-so; the beans delicious.
Lagana Bread for Clean Monday - Restaurant Helene - Ancient Olympia, Greece

Yigandes Plaki: Baked Beans & Tomato Casserole for Clean Monday - Restaurant Helene - Ancient Olympia, Greece

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