55mm ISO640 1/80 f/11
More from the blog…
A quick breakfast passed without misadventure. The staff seem to be getting the hang of things. It was a longish and relatively uninteresting drive from the sprawling port of Patras up to the idyllic calm of Olympia. This area suffered badly from the fires that devastated large areas of Greece at the end of the scorching summer of 2007. However the museum, the temple area and the stadium were spared obliteration by divine intervention, or perhaps just by a stroke of good luck – is there a difference?
Our guide, Saskia was first class. She was clear, interesting, knowledgeable and patient. It was incredible to stand on the Olympic site and see the fabled columns and the stadium where history lived and breathed. What words can explain the tingle felt when standing in the gymnasium where the naked athletes trained? What phrases can sum up the magnificence of the temple of Zeus or the majesty of the fountains built to provide water for the participants and the attending throng. How can you express the thrill of passing under the ancient archway into the arena, seeing the starting line and putting a tentative toe into the groove. Some of the younger members of our party decided to try an Olympic sprint themselves, but we felt it more prudent to head back towards the museum.
We were truly privileged today as we were the only three busloads of visitors exploring this vast site. It certainly added to the splendour and grandeur of the site seeing it relatively tourist-free. Like the visits to Corinth and Mycenae, these digs help us to maintain a sense of continuity from the past to the present day, and give us hope for the future, despite our apparent headlong rush towards annihilation
Cultures rise and fall with appalling regularity, whether through god-sent or man-made disasters, but somehow we always triumph above our ineptitude and stupidity. There’s always some Odysseus or Heracles to wear the laurel wreath and devise a means or put in the effort to scale the heights again.
Of course, it also helps to appease the Gods. My vote currently goes to the level-headed, but rarely-seen God of Common Sense, to lead the new Pantheon. Suggestions for other potential members are welcome. (Karmanie)