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Clare
Clare

Day 7: Olympia to Delphi

As the strike had prevented us from seeing the ruins at Olympia yesterday, we decided to visit them this morning before setting off for Delphi.

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When we arrived at the site today, we were relieved to find that the ticket booth was open and we were finally able to get through the gates :)

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The ruins at Olympia are spread over quite a large site, so although there were already several coachloads of people being led around in tours, we were able to plan our route strategically to avoid them as much as possible.

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One of the complaints I've read from people reviewing Olympia online, is that it's just a pile of rocks and so it's difficult to know what you are looking at. The area was struck by two serious earthquakes in the sixth century, which is why everything is so badly ruined. The criticisms are a bit unfair, because there are lots of helpful info boards dotted around the site to show you what you are looking at.

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These are the remains of the gymnasion, described on the info board above.

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One of the most impressive buildings here in ancient times would have been the temple of Zeus.

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The one pillar which you can see standing in the photo was reconstructed by archaeologists to celebrate the 2004 Olympic games being held in Athens.

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The best-preserved building on the site is the Temple of Hera, originally built in 590 BC.

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The flame for the modern-day Olympic Games is lit in front of this temple, and then transported via torch to wherever the games are taking place.

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The tour groups were starting to catch up with us, so we had to move on!

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When we managed to get away from people, the ruins were quite peaceful :)

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Every so often we found some stones with Greek inscriptions on them.

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We were gradually making our way towards the archway in the left of this photo.

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This is the archway which leads into the Olympic stadium.

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It wasn't possible to avoid all the tour groups here!

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Once you get through the arch, you are in the stadium where the Olympic running races used to take place.

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The stone blocks at this end are to mark the place where all the athletes were supposed to start.

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The track was 200 metres long.

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We walked to the end and there were some nice views of the surrounding countryside.

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Then it was back through the archway to see some of the things which we'd missed when trying to avoid the tour groups. 

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These were the remains of a temple called the Philippeion...

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...and this was the palaestra.

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This is where the athletes would have practised sports such as wrestling and boxing.

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It's probably possible to spend a lot longer at Olympia, but I think we succeeded in getting a good flavour of it :) 

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Then we had to head back to the apartment, collect our things and set off towards our final destination for this holiday: Delphi. The first part of the route wasn't terribly exciting, as we drove north on a fast road towards the town of Patras.  We were getting quite hungry, so stopped off at a small village just short of Patras to try and find some lunch.

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The restaurant we found wasn't quite as close to the sea as yesterday...

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...but there were still some beautiful views :)

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After lunch it was time to leave the Peloponnese behind and drive back to the mainland of Greece.  Shortly after Patras, we crossed the Rio-Antirrio bridge, which spans the sea here. The bridge is 1.8 miles long and really impressive to drive across, although it is a toll bridge and I was slightly less impressed when I found out that it cost €13.30 for a normal car 😮 

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Once on the other side, the drive became more interesting as we followed a narrower road along the coast.

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There were some really fantastic views :) 

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We could see the mountains of the Peloponnese on the other side of the water...

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...and passed a picturesque little town with a huge church.

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Eventually we arrived in Delphi and checked into our hotel. A hotel room seems a bit small after the spacious apartments we've had, but this one is good value at around £55 per night (including breakfast).

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The best thing about the room is the view from the balcony!

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It's a bit cloudy today so the photo isn't perfect, but we can see all the way down the river gorge to the sea. It's absolutely incredible :)

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We're definitely looking forward to exploring more of Delphi tomorrow - assuming that there isn't another unexpected museum strike!!

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