Thursday, October 5, 2017

Katalona - Olympia, Greece

This is our first time to this port and we had prearranged a tout to Olympia with a highly recommended company the Travel Insiders.  We booked the half day Semi-Private Tour “The Highlights of Olympia and Certified Tourist Guide Katakolon-Olympia Site and museum.  Also a visit to a store that has olive oil and wine tasting.  If you book, mention you found them from my blog.

We ordered room service this morning and Bernie answered the door and the food was delivered while I was sound asleep.  Did not even know someone came in.

Our meeting time is 9:30, but we meet up with Sylvia our tour coordinator in the Atrium near the International CafĂ©.  We don’t dock until 9 am and the crowds are forming.  A tip – head to the forward gangway deck 4 as the midship gangway is always busy.  We got off at the forward gangway and we were off way before those that went off on the midship gangway.

this is the long pier

The Princess tours meet right near the gangway.  But for private tours you need to walk down the long pier to the large parking lot at the end of the pier.  

Note that the town is right there and you can walk around the town and check out the stores and restaurant.  There is also a small museum that you can check it out.  If you are interested in a beach turn left instead of right to go toward the town.  To your left is a lovely beach – according to Roy that has lounges, umbrellas and food and drink.

Eleni is there to greet us and direct us to the bus which his a lovely van  that accommodates the 16 of us very comfortably.  

Once we are all settled we are on the road and Eleni easily connects with us and shares information about the area and provides detailed description of what we are to expect.

It is about a 30/40 minute drive to the town of Olympia.  

We arrive and we are led to the ticket office.  The price for a combination ticket to all the sites is 12E.  This gives you access to the museum at the site, the actual Olympic site and the Museum.  

Eleni directs us to the entrance to the official site.  Note it is a short distance to walk but for those with mobility issues it could be a problem.  Also the actual site is quite large and the terrain is uneven so be aware. We have no issue getting around and thankfully because we are here in October the weather is perfect.  It is in the high 20s so it is warm but pleasant.  Not sure if I could handle it in the high heat of summer.

Eleni takes us to each of the main areas of the site and explains what we are seeing. 

I love her enthusiasm you can see her passion for the history and her keen description of what we are seeing makes us actually visualize what it really looked and felt like back then.

After about an hour at the site we are directed back to the van and driven to a store called Padelina.  You can see their website at 

Here we are treated to samples of authentic Greek wines.  We are offered samples and we choose to buy two bottles of wine to enjoy on board.  Note the ship has not had an issue with us bringing wine on board at all.  

The store also provided samples of all the olive oils, along with sweets, balsamic vinegars and even lotions. The store also has a large selection of jewelry, trinkets, souvenirs and of course all the items they gave us as samples.  

We leave the store after about a half hour and we are taken to the official Olympic Museum.  This is also part of the initial ticket we purchased.  The building is very impressive with the actual artifacts of the site.  

Again Eleni takes the time to explain each artifact we are looking at.  You really need to have an official guide for both sites; otherwise you will totally miss out on a lot.

I really did not have any preconceived ideas of what to expect here in Olympia but I walked away with an extensive knowledge base of the ancient Greek Olympics and the Gods that inspired it. 

Back on the bus and we are back on our way to the port.  Again Eleni explains more about the area and even some information about the ports we are heading to next.

When we arrive back in t Katalona we are given the option of getting off in town or taken back to the ship.  We decide to get off in town to walk around a bit and allow me to get some pictures of the area.

There is now a large Costa ship in port and the town is busy!  All the restaurants are full and we did think about stopping for drinks and a bite to eat but it is just too busy so we walk around and head back to the ship.

A nap is in order!  We are tired and we have dinner tonight with Roy and Sandra at the Crown Grill to celebrate Sanadra’s birthday a little early.

Dinner was fabulous, service even better.  I still always impressed on how the Royal does the Crown Grill.  Compared to other ships, this ship does it right.  Enough waiters and assistant waiters to handle all the tables.

We did order some wine and they were out of it – Ancient Peaks.  But when we asked for the Pacific Bay the Head Waiter went and got a bottle at Vines.  It was also great to see Ricardo from Mexico here.  We met him six years ago on the Star and then saw him again on the Grand and now a few times on the Royal.  Again we are so blessed by our Princess Family.

Dinner was so special and we are so happy to call Roy and Sandra friends.  

We are back in the cabin around 10 pm and know we have another busy day tomorrow in Mykonos.  This is a port intensive cruise and it is catching up with us.  

1 comment:

  1. This brought a tear to my eye it was a great night with great friends, lovely meal on a SPECIAL night for San! Thank you both for your friendship