This part of the botanical journey through Greece brought Karl to the Peloponnese peninsula, where the first Olympic games were held. Although time hasn't been kind to the architecture of this historic site, it's landscape is as beautiful now as it ever was. The ruins in a sense amplify the romantic notions of a time when civilization was in its infancy.
Establishment of the Olympic games added to the culture of this already flourishing society. The first and only event that was held was the stadion foot-race(one length of the stadium track, 600 feet). Its victor, Koroibos of Elis, began the tradition of recording each Olympiad, thus giving us a chronology of the Greek world.
Other events were added over time, and at its peak, 18 events were held over a period of 5 days. Despite the addition of events like the discus, javelin, and boxing, the standion remained the most important event. Not only did the victors win glory and admiration, they won a crown of olive leaves and an olive branch cut from a sacred grove! I knew there was a way to tie plants into a history lesson.
March 26th at Ancient Olympia
I feel so fortunate to be able to devote this much time to exploring the Peloponnese peninsula. So many tourists try to see "all" of Greece in one visit, but that means lots of time traveling from place to place and no time getting to know the details along the way. Today started with an early visit to one of the most historic sites then a leisurely trek up and over the mountains to finish on the shores of the Gulf of Corinth. I saw spring start, then a taste of winter and now back to the glory of the Mediterranean climate....all in one day!
-By Shem Ruszczyk
-Content courtesy Karl Gercens