Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Day 17 Patras, Olympia, Mycene

Hayden set his alarm for 2 am. Luckily, only he and I heard it, as we didn’t actually dock until 4.30 am – the ferry was quite late for some reason. We had all slept quite well in the camper on the ferry, even with a stop along the way (about midnight), to drop off some trucks, cars and people to another port (including the two other campers on with us). We lined up with the big trucks, for once feeling very small, instead of oversize, and drove off with all the trucks and out the gate, with not so much as a border control. We had decided to drive straight to Olympia, which is exactly what we did. We were actually only about ½ a day behind our schedule, even with the ferry hiccup.

The drive was spectacular, over some very big hills, on some countryish sorts of roads, to get to Olympia. Richard was very pleased that there were no cars (which tells you what sort of roads we were on). There were lots of little churches, and olive groves everywhere. We had to stop at one point to look at some roadkill – which turned out to be an enormous badger. Sarah loved it, and now wants one for a pet (along with all the stray dogs up for adoption at Pompeii!) We arrived quite early at Olympia, which was good, because it was quite hot and humid. Even though the ruins were quite, well, ruined, compared to Pompeii, it was amazing to be there, and imagine what effectively the first Olympic village must have been like (the buildings of course were also about 1000 years older than the Pompeii buildings.) Sarah was the only one of us brave enough to line up for a sprint on the running track. I think Richard might have bribed her with an icecream. They seemed to be just getting started again for the summer season, and lots of areas were sadly still roped off, and men were running round with weed eaters, making sure we could actually see some of the ruins.

More spectular driving (which basically means I had my eyes closed – Richard thought I was sleeping, but really I just didn’t want to see us going over one of the many cliffs!) We were thankful not to have the dreaded tourbuses coming towards us on the tricky, narrow corners... then what do you know.... in the trickiest narrowest corner in the narrowest of streets in a little town, we come across a tour bus!!! We had to back up, and worm our way out of his way, so we could pass. Finally we reached Mycene, and a sleepy little camp ground that was thankfully open (though again, we were the only ones there). The kids and Richard walked just down the road into the town and returned with a miniature bottle of Ouzo which the kids decided they had to have a taste of because it smelled just like black jellybeans. I have my eye on some nice ancient brass Greek horses I keep seeing in the souvenir shops. At least it wouldn’t break bringing it home.

Richard taught the kids how to play canasta tonight, and they have been enjoying it. I was nearly finished Sarah’s book, so hid away to read that instead. No getting out of playing Canasta tomorrow night though!