Military History Tours On Tour - Greece and Crete Tour 27 April 2014
We were not sure last night if we had done anything to upset Zeus or the Gods as for two (2) hours, from 0200 to 0400, we had the loudest thunder and lightshow imaginable. In the morning, the rain stopped around 0530 leaving behind a mist in the valley.
After breakfast we headed down into the Olympic site with the birds in full song. It was quite peaceful as we walked amongst the columns and remains of the buildings where 2000 years ago the athletes trained for the Games.
This is the best that I have seen the Olympic site, green, clean and with limited visitors at the time of our visit. Since last year there has been much work and major excavations are being conducted to clear tonnes of the silt that still covers huge areas of the site. We were briefed at the entrance by Elena, our guide who takes the whole tour with us, were able to see the area of the gymnasium where the athletes trained, King Phillip's memorial to his victory, that caused Greece to be one country, and the area where the athletes took their bath after the training.
We then went to the stadium and before our race we were checked to see if our stature was correct. Some were disqualified for encroachment. We were then sent on our way and walked the 100 metres down and back as part of our practice for the games.
The main Temple to Zeus was burnt by the Christians, in 400 AD, and they closed the Olympic site. The games had gone on for 1200 years, every 4 years. 800BC to 400AD. The Christians believed all Pagan edifices should go. The Christians certainly caused issues as they tried to put their beliefs over their world. The system they closed down was more democratic than the one they tried to impose.
In the museum we saw this statue of Hermes, a beautiful statue made from the best of marble. There were many more artefacts in the museum and all were reclaimed from the site of the dig that exposed the Olympic site.
We again visited a museum on the coast of the Ionian Sea, the only museum in Greece on the Korean War. The private museum was put together by a Korean War Veteran, Capt Constantinos Farros and his wife Brigadier Farros. Both have now retired and his wife was the first female Brig General in the Greek Army. Constantinos started a group to recondition WW2 vehicles and members of our group enjoyed starting and experiencing those vehicles.
We had a small ceremony to Honour those lost in the Battle of Greece and Crete and also lost in the Korean War. Matt Walsh played the Last Post and National Anthems through his computer while Craig Tilley, Bob Edgecock, Barry Wilmot and John Elton brought the 4 flags to half mast and then raised them again as Matt played Reveille. A very moving moment for all attending.
We said our farewells and headed back to our hotel for tomorrow we return to the Main Land and Delphi.