After 2 nights of Athens, I took a bus ride to see Olympia as suggested by Rick Steves.
There are two bus terminals in Athens. Make sure you go to the correct one. For Peloponnese and Thsessaloniki destinations, you want “Terminal A” at 100 Kifisou Street:
- Take the metro to Omonia Square. Walk down Pireas Street (Keep Omonia Grand hotel on the right).
- Take the second right into Zinonos Street (one way street going left or south for cars). Walk 2 blocks until you meet Menandrous Street.
- You will find Bus stop near the corner. Take Bus 51 to the last stop inside a bus terminal. Do not get off early. Two stops before the terminal looks like a bus terminal as well from the street. Wait until you are inside a covered bus terminal.
The 5 hour bus ride was quite scenic along the northern coast of Peloponnese. Do not fall asleep about 3 hours into the ride. There is a beautiful bridge that crosses the ocean from the east end of Patras over to main land Greece to the north. There are a some wind turbines along the top of mountains in this region.
I had to change bus at Πυργου (Pyrgos). There are two people at this bus station particularly nice to travelers. They invited me to wait inside the terminal building and then waved me to go board the bus at the right boarding isle when the connecting bus pulled in. They do not make announcements in English at bus terminals throughout Greece. I really appreciated this extra help.
The town of Olympia is very small. Most of the businesses are geared towards servicing tourists along the main street. I stayed at Hotel Pelops as suggested by Rick Steves’ guidebook. It is very comfortable and reasonably priced.
The bus dropped us off just one block south of the hotel. There is no obvious sign for bus stop. I almost missed my departing bus the next morning after waiting in the cool pre-dawn morning for 20 minutes. I realized my mistake just in time to find out that the bus departs from what looks like an abandoned train station one street east of the main drag.
Entrance to the Olympia stadium is just 5 minutes walk from the hotel.
Inside the archeological site, you will find this amazing column:
Well, it was reconstructed for the 2004 Olympic game from fallen pieces and new materials.
This is what original columns for another building here look like after 2000 years:
Compared the one-and-done throw away stadiums we build for recent modern games, the stadium here is rather underwhelming:
Are we building modern games’ new stadiums for the olympic spirit, or to stroke some politician’s ego and enrich their friends?
I enjoyed walking up and down this small town after hectic Athens. People with a rental car may opt to continue their journey else where. Though they would miss beautify sceneries with morning fog I saw the next day.
Back to the index page for my travel in Greece series.