Today we were in Olympia, birthplace of the Olympics! After navigating ourselves around a maze of rugged mountains, we found ourselves in a small town that was more than happy to have us. The real reason for our stop, however, was to visit ancient Olympia. Not much of the facilities are left intact, but that didn’t stop us. We had a scavenger hunt throughout the complex including the temple of Zeus and the Hippodrome. Although there is not much left at the actual site, to stand at the birthplace of an event that has lasted thousands of years and has grown to include hundreds of countries is truly a remarkable feeling.
We stayed one night in nafplio. It was a beautiful city on the coast overlooking the water. We drove up to a castle before we left and even though we didn’t get to go inside it was beautiful to look it. It looked over an island fortress and the ocean. It was a beautiful vacation town and I would love to go back some day.
Visiting the Acropolis and the museum yesterday was one of my favorite experiences yet. Even Athens itself was a joy to walk around in. Despite economic troubles, the neighborhood was bustling with tourists and shop owners. The gyros were delicious and the acropolis a feat of impressive magnitude.
After leaving Turkey, we drove to a seaside town near Mount Olympus in Greece. We didn’t spend much time there, but we all wish we didn’t have to leave so soon. Our place was literally on the water and falling asleep listening to the waves was a great way to relax before our upcoming midterms. The entire area around here is full of archeological and historical sites, preparing us for the intense history overload that awaits us in Athens.
As the capital city of turkey we found ourselves in a New York City type landscape. The tall buildings and constant construction made us feel like we weren’t in turkey at all since it was so vastly different than what we had experienced. It is still developing and showed signs of it. However, the food was great, the people kind and the hotel perfect for relaxing and reading.
We recently had the opportunity to visit Catalhoyuk. It is an incredible archeological site which is opened to the public but not yet fully excavated or developed touristically. The city is suspected to be the oldest in the world dating back over 9,000 years. It had a population of about 6,000 people and was multiracial and suspected to have equal status for men and women. It’s fascinating to see that such an ancient city has values that haven’t been obtained today. The site was amazing because you could see the layers of history in the city. The ruins were very intact and it was very cool to be able to see some aspects of daily life in Catalhoyuk. One of the most interesting cultural practices in the ancient city was most likely the burial of family members inside the floor of the inhabited house. This practice reinforces the idea that the local religion based on a balance with nature based on the cave paintings and idols in the houses and also shows that ancestral worship was a significant part of hte culture. It was amazing to visit Catalhoyuk before it was transformed into a traditional historic site and brought about the crowds and tourist culture.
Today was by far one of the groups favorites. Cappadocia and Goreme are beautiful and offer stunning views of the fairy chimney landscapes. Fairy chimneys are used to describe the beautiful chimney like shape of the carved in rock formations. The conical formations are the result of volcanic eruptions that took place millions of years ago. Many residents in the area have carved their houses into these rock formations. It is a site the group will never forget!