42. Mycenae & Olympia

posted Sep 22, 2012, 9:04 AM by Carlie Huberman

For the last two days we have been in Olympia (YES AS IN THE PLACE WHERE THE OLYMPICS STARTED)!  I know, cool right!?  Of course though on our way there we stopped a few times to see some cool sights along the way.  The first place we stopped was at an old Mycenae Castle.  (At least it wasn’t a fortress lol)  This was over 3000 years old!  And the stones were so huge that were used to build it that the type of building was called the Cyclopean style.  These were the people were the ones who destroyed Troy!  And captured Helen of Troy!  Yeah, totally awesome!  Surprisingly there was still quite a bit there considering how old it was.  There were some really impressive tombs there too.  One was so huge (used for their kings) that it was almost scary going inside, it really did feel like a Cyclopes home. They think that they built these castles the same way the Egyptians built the pyramids.  We also went into their cistern, which was so dark that we had to feel our way along the stairs!  The next section of driving was pretty scary for me, we got into the mountains at this point and were driving on these tiny windy roads.  I just kept my eyes closed so I wouldn’t drive my dad insane by freaking out, not sure I was successful with that!  Sorry Daddy!  We stopped when we got to a huge gorge called Lousious Gorge, where we stopped to hike down into it to find a monastery that was built into the wall.  We hiked for about 45 mins till we got to the bottom of the gorge and we couldn’t figure out where the monastery was.  When we got to an open area at the bottom we looked up and found the monastery at the very top of the gorge, about 10 mins from where we started at the top.  Needless to say we weren’t too happy but at least there was a neat waterfall at the bottom to look at.  The monastery was pretty cool because it was actually built into the cliff side, and it was like 800 years old!  Really neat!  And we found their donkey wondering around near the church.  Unfortunately we couldn’t go in because they didn’t allowed women in without skirts and since we had been hiking….we obviously weren’t wearing skirts.  We then drove the rest of the way to Olympia.  The next day we spent entirely in ancient Olympia.  It was really neat to see the ruins of the gymnasium and different temples in Olympia that were used for training and praying for the Ancient Olympics.  The area was really cool and we saw where the huge Zeus statue used to stand, and we saw the temple and sacrificial table to Hera where the torch is lit for the Olympics even today!  On our way to the ancient Olympic stadium track we saw the cheaters pedestals and walked through the archway that the Olympians ran through as the stadium entrance, but the coolest thing by far was the stadium track itself!   The actual track was a rectangular section of bare clay ground 192 meter long and wide enough for 20 starting blocks, with the original starting and finishing stones still as lines across it on either ends!  It was surrounded by grassy slopes that people sat on and a stone enclosure for the judges and a stone pedestal for the priestess.  The grounds held 45,000 spectators.  My dad and I raced the track and for the first 100 meters or so I was beating him, but for the 2nd 100 meters he pulled ahead a bit to win the race.  I’m going to blame my snapped ACL as the excuse to why I lost.  At least I didn’t lose by much. Though when my mom and I raced the end bit together I creamed her ;)  It was really neat to see where people used to hold the Olympics thousands of years ago, especially since it just happened in London a few weeks ago!  We are now off to Delphi to see the Oracle and Apollo’s Temple!!!