Day 6 (Sat, Sep 20): Nauplia / Olympia
Got on the bus at 8:30. After a short ride along the Argolid Gulf, we drove inland, away from the Aegean and up into the mountains. We had the front seat and had a chance to talk with Christina. She does painting in the winter. I told her about Karen's sister Christine who also paints. It turns out that they are both Sagittarians -- the Greek Christina is December 6, the Seattle one is December 8. Quite a coincidence though neither Karen nor I give a hoot about astrology.
We drove through the town of Tripoli, population 21,000 and capital of the prefecture of Arcadia. It is Saturday ... market day in Greece, so the town was very busy. Our bus drove through the center of the public market, full of produce and live fowl. Farther on we stopped for a break at Megalopolis also in the prefecture of Arcadia, where the market was also in progress. The population of this megalopolis was only about 5,000 (this was 1980; it's only a few hundred more than that now). We stopped for a while. The air was full of the smell of grilled lamb and fresh fruit. We bought a kilo of peaches -- the biggest, juiciest and tastiest I've ever experienced -- for ₯ 27 (65¢). We really enjoyed the whole scene; it was very different and interesting. Farmers markets are now common in the U.S., but this was even more natural ... just set up tables (or not) out in the park, hang the scales and meat from the trees, and wait for customers.
We arrived at the Amalia hotel and checked in. It is very nice, white stucco, very new, with a nice fresh country air about it. There are some very fine terra cotta vases in the lobby. We went back into Olympia for lunch. Were joined by the Reeves at a cafe, discovered all the food was microwaved -- ick -- went to another place and got some beer and no food, had the beer, went to another place for food, they were out. We finally went to a bakery and were served by the very sweet girl. We had Greek coffee. I had a custard cake and Karen had a hay bale with nuts and honey. Refreshed at last, we went to the site of the ancient Olympic games.
We went through the archaeological museum -- saw a lot of bronze work (armor, helmets, etc.) and the Praxiteles statue of Hermes holding the baby Dionysos. Then we went to the site of the ruins. The setting is very lovely among tall pine trees and wild olives. It is very park-like. Returned to the hotel about 6:00.
Random observations --
We had dinner tonight with Kay and Donna Schneider from Colonna, B.C. We had a nice conversation with them. After dinner we went into the bar. Had a drink with the Reeves and Dottie and Spence Reynolds, from Pittsburgh. Spence, some kind of executive with a steel company, is an old nut who foams at the mouth when FDR is mentioned. He was ready to come to blows over the Federal Reserve Act of 1912 (?!) and, on sightseeing generally, growled "I suppose tomorrow we'll have to go look at another pile of rocks." In spite of all that, he seems to be good at heart.
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