Updated: Oct 23, 2022
We just discovered each other Tonight when the lights were low One dance led up to another And now I can't let you go
If its Sunday then we must now be in Greece. If its Sunday then it must also be our wedding anniversary. Our 40th wedding anniversary to be precise and the whole reason for us trying out a different type of holiday for the first time. How time flies. We have had our ups and downs but I can honestly say that despite driving each other mad at times that Karen is the luckiest wife around! Somehow, we just work and I wouldn’t swap her for anything (although all good financial offers would be considered).
Despite it being our special day, we were up early as we wanted to visit Olympia which was some 30km from the port. The cost of the excursions for a tour were ludicrous again and I was certain we could get there by our own means. However, we had heard that apparently there was only one train running there today as it a Sunday, so we were off the ship just after 8am after breakfast to try to catch it.
We soon heard though from people milling round the port gate that the only train had today been cancelled, so we carried on walking to find a bus instead. An American couple stopped and asked us if we were trying to get to Olympia and whether we fancied sharing a taxi. I enquired how much and the taxi driver quoted us 140 Euros for a tour. I thought that was still too much. He mentioned he also ran a hire car business and offered us a Fiat Panda for the day for 50 Euros all in plus fuel. The American couple were dubious but I discovered that was because they didn’t want to drive on the wrong side of the road with a ‘stick’ shift. but when I said I was happy to, they quickly agreed. I went into the rental car office and within 5 minutes we were off in a strange car with a strange couple to a destination that I really had no idea where it was.
We introduced ourselves to Gary & Nancy the couple from near Pigeons Forge Tennessee. Fortunately, the directions we were given were simple enough, which was left at the first set of lights and then right at the second set and then keep going straight. After a lovely drive through the Greek lush countryside, we arrived at Olympia at the same time as everyone from our ship some of whom had paid £150 each for the same trip.
We bought out tickets to the Olympia site and started walking around.
Now there were parts of it I enjoyed and but parts of it that were meh… I liked the part when the Olympic Flame is always traditionally lit every 4 years. I liked the old stadium that held 45000 spectators sitting on the grass. I enjoyed walking the length of the track in the stadium.
Much of the site though is just ruins of the buildings. Now I get the historical nature and the need to preserve and all if that. But many pieces have clearly not just been left where they fell. The best sections were where they had reconstructed the columns or walls using new pieces to replace any missing sections. The signs almost apologetically pointed this out but I thought that was the way to go and wish they would reconstruct all of the site sympathetically using all the pieces they had. It seemed that some countries had taken pieces away in the past for their museums (like the UK with the Elgin Marbles). Germany had returned some pieces they had acquired to enable a column to be rebuilt with some new replacement parts. Every country should be made to do that.
Anyhow overall I enjoyed that part of the visit. We then walked with Gary & Nance to the Museum that our ticket also covered. This was full of bits that were considered too fragile to be left at the moment outside exposed to the elements. The only piece that took my eye was an original statue of Nike but I couldn’t see a big tick on it anywhere.
We needed a drink so we bought some cold drinks and sat in a pleasant courtyard. Here we learnt Gary & Nance are die hard Republicans who hated Biden. They explained to us how they believe the last election had been rigged. I cannot say that I was totally convinced by their explanation regarding how some counties had done something illegal with the counting machines which had never been used before, but it was interesting hearing two very rational people talk about it without any of the usual Trump rhetoric. They were two normal people who finished that chat by saying that at the end of the day if they would be happy to accept whatever the result of the next election was providing, they felt the result had not been manipulated in that way which seemed fair enough to me.
Then we went back to the car and after getting some fuel headed back. The journey back was fun as we didn’t recall how many traffic lights we had gone straight over after taking the turns. Somehow, though we got back without any dramatic U turns.
Back at the port we returned the car, said goodbye to the American couple and just had a wander around the small town of Kakalono where the ship was docked. It was actually a pretty little place.
On board we had a quick buffet lunch before heading to the Lido outside bar for afternoon cocktails. We managed 4 each and although good and fun probably not sensible. They held a trivia quiz which we didn’t officially enter as everyone else had 6 in their team and the prize we were playing for was a pen. Nevertheless, on our own we would have come 3rd. We were let down by not knowing Beowolf’s enemy and the names of all the Bronte sisters (we got 3 whereas there were 5 apparently).
In our room we got ready for our posh anniversary night out. As part of our deal, we were given one free meal in the poshest restaurant called Pinnacle. I put my suit on minus my tie and Karen looked splendid in her dress.
I then told her she had forgotten something which confused her. I then gave her the anniversary present I had brought for her. It was a Ruby Ring I had made for her by a jewellery maker recommended by Jo based in Dubai.
Karen had been looking at rings in Jewellery shops for the past 18 months but never found what she wanted. Jo had talked of this place and said we could have exactly what Karen wanted made for less than half the UK price. We had a quote from them but Karen had said it was still too much money and still not exactly what she wanted, and so the conversation ended. In secret though I got them to change the design to what she wanted ordered for it to be made. It arrived a few days before we left.
Karen was very surprised and I am pleased to say very happy with the ring. Even more so as she had had her wedding, engagement and eternity rings cut off when she recently broke her arm and until all the swelling has gone completely down, we cannot get them repaired for her.
With a few brownie points in the bag, we headed for pre-dinner drinks of a few glasses of pink bubbles. Then we went to the restaurant and were treated like royalty as it was our anniversary.
The food was magnificent. We both had the large Filet Mignon after our crab cake starters. They even butterflied Karen’s steak to ensure it was well done. It was cooked to perfection washed down by some very good Shiraz.
I had the International Cheese selection for dessert which was large and unbelievably good apart from the Blue cheese which was so strong it could have powered the ship.
Karen chose Baked Alaska just because she could. Oh my goodness though it was the size of a Viennetta at home and was filled with her favourite Ben & Jerrys Cherry Garcia ice-cream. She was in dessert heaven.
We were properly stuffed and were struggling to finish our wine alone the handmade chocolates made by the chocolatier that came with our teas and coffees. We were bursting at the seams.
Then to finish it off we were presented with a beautiful looking anniversary cake as a special gift from the ship. It looked fabulous but there was no way we could eat it and so we took it away with us for later.
This rounded off a really special day. One in which though we had drank and eaten far too much. We headed back to our cabin where we got ready for bed and were sound asleep by 10.30pm. Perhaps we are becoming cruise people after all.
Finally, today’s cruise trip is don’t pay extra for a balcony. We have spent so little time on it that it hasn’t been worth the extra cost. It’s nice but we have spent most time sitting in the public areas as the balcony has either not been in the sun or it has been too much in the sun. If you know Karen then you will know her requirements change minute by minute and the captain wasn’t prepared to go backwards as she required to meet her sun requirements.