Katakolon and Olympia

Scott-Free’s blog
Steve & Chris
Sun 7 Sep 2008 16:00
37:38.893N 21:19.084E
Finally left Zakynthos yesterday.  We stayed longer than planned because we were able to get the Raymarine part that we needed and the outboard motor fixed.  We knew what was needed for both, but it took a couple of days to get hold of the right people for the jobs.  It's frustrating waiting around as it means you can't leave the boat in case someone turns up.  We were envious of the German couple in the boat next to us who hired a motorbike for the day and toured the island.  There are, however, worse places to be stuck in and worse ways of spending a day than reading rubbishy paperbacks!  So whilst it may sound like we are whingeing, we're not really!
A nice, short and leisurely sail of 25 miles to Katakolon, during which the cruising chute put in an appearance for the first time since Portugal.  We have learnt our lesson regarding taking the chute down before the wind builds too much, and so just got it down in time to round the headland with gusts of 23+ knots on the beam.  On our approach to the headland we were wondering what these five white poles were that just appeared above the hill, and on rounding the headland discovered they were the masts of a ClubMed cruise ship!  Apparently they stop here in Katakolon so that their passengers can make the trip to Olympia.
Suspect it needs a bit more than 5 knots of wind and a cruising chute to get this one moving!
We were tied up by early evening, and set off to explore the town - all two streets of it!  An early night ready for an early start this morning as we were catching the 08.30 train (Steve thought he was back at work - especially since the station we were catching a train to was Olympia!) Katakolon station is 100 yards from the boat, and 3 euros bought a return ticket to Olympia.
Not far to walk to the train...                                                        and that little hut to Steve's right is the station!
Olympia was well worth the visit.  The remains of the sanctuary where athletes prepared, practised and competed as far back as the 10th century BC are extensive.  The site of the lighting of the Olympic flame is a little less impressive than one would expect after a lifetime of hearing television commentators talking about the flame that has been carried by athletes all the way from the mountains of Greece. but then I'm not sure what we were expecting!
The site of the lighting of the Olympic flame (in the foreground).
It was amazing to stand on the site of the Olympic stadium, knowing that over 2000 years ago athletes had competed there.  It seems that if you cheated they put your name and the nature of your infringement under a statue of Zeus on the path leading towards the stadium - the original naming and shaming?!
No seats in this stadium - only for the judges.  Spectators sat on the grassy banks - apparently it could accommodate 45,000 of them.
The museum that houses the finds from the site is very well presented and an interesting place to browse.  We would highly recommend this visit.