Katakolon, Greece

April 9, 2022

We arrived at our first port in Greece this morning.  The village of Katakolon is on the western coast of Greece’s largest peninsula, the Peloponnese.  It is best known as the gateway to one of ancient Greece’s most notable historic landmarks ancient Olympia.  It is famous as the location of the first Olympiad, and that is the site we visited today.


Our guide was Marietta, and she was really terrific.  She says she is close to retirement and our whole group decided she should not retire, she was that good!


Greece is made up of 3000 islands, the largest is Crete.

As we traveled the countryside, Marietta told us about all of the many things that are grown here.  The largest is olives and this peninsula has 22 million olive trees.  Second is watermelon and we passed several farms on our route. 65% of the fertile land in the country is found in this area. The prize in the early Olympics was an olive tree branch, a symbol of peace.


96% of the population is Greek Orthodox.

1700 years ago, Olympia was buried by an earthquake and a tsunami and the site of the Olympiad was buried under 15 – 30 feet of land and it is still being excavated.

The last Olympics to be held here were in 393 AD. Back in the day, no women were allowed to compete, only Greek born males could compete, later Romans were allowed.  I didn’t know that the men competed naked! The games lasted 5 days and after the games ended in those days, women were allowed into the site to honor the goddess Hera.

The games inspired the Olympic truce when all hostilities were temporarily suspended in honor of the games.

The Olympic torch is still lit here and carried by a series of runners.

The 5000 acre site was made a national park in the 1970s.

Here are some pictures of the site:


This is where the torch is lit.


Norm did a start and a finish, but didn’t run the length of the course, we both walked it!


The red bud trees and other flowers combined with a nice clear and warm day with few tourists made this a wonderful day.


After our visit to the site, we went to the modern city of Olympia for shopping and strolling. There will be a big motorcycle race here soon,  Here’s the banner that is all over town and also some of the bikers.  Check out the boots!


Marietta gave us information about the prices and inflation in the country. It seems to be the same in most places that we visit.

In 2007 there was a big fire and 3 million olive trees burned.  60 people died.  Marietta and her husband had 1000 trees and lost them all.  There was another fire in 2021 but no lives were lost.

Tomorrow we head to Corfu, our second Greek port.

This entry was posted in April, Europe, Excursions, Spring Cruise 2022. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Katakolon, Greece

  1. Hilary says:

    You are hitting great places. Never been to Olympia. Enjoy your trip to Crete.


  2. Jane Taylor. JULIE'S old neighbor and friend says:

    PAT sooooo enjoy traveling vicariously with you and Norm..a real treat!


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