Olympia, Olympics and Ouzo | Greece

Have you every been to the Olympics?  Every been to Katakalon, Greece?  This is where the Olympics all began and is not to be missed.

Katakalon, also known as Olympia, is a sanctuary of ancient Greece most well known for being the site of the very first Olympic Games in classical times.  The Olympic Games were held every four years, dating back to 776 BC.  In 394 AD, emperor Theodosius I abolished them as they were then considered reminiscent of paganism. Did you know the first Olympic Games were held in honor of Zeus?

Standing there amidst the ruins it brings your spirit back to the early days of games where remnants of columns still stand today.  You can visually tell by the landmarks which games took place and where.  Of course, I couldn’t resist the chance to be on what was known then as the 600′ foot race, the only athletic event at the first games.  In fact, two of my “boys” got their competitive juices flowing with their very own foot race. How exciting it was to stand in the exact spot of such an important event, then and now!

After an invigorating day on the race track, it was time for a traditional Greek lunch and no trip to Greece would be complete without trying Greece’s signature drink Ouzo.  As my travel companions and I sat down to a delicious meal complete with entertainment provided by local musicians and dancers, we were served Ouzo.  I must say it is one powerful drink, certainly not to be served to children.  Ouzo is customarily served neat – no ice.  I am now the wiser for knowing to add iced water to dilute the strength which causes the liquid to turn a milky, cloudy white.  However, I also turned cloudy as my veins were filled with white fire.  To call Ouzo a Greek “white lightning” is much too simple for this very potent beverage.  With an Anise and licorice-like flavor and is often consumed with savory snacks, especially small salty fish, olives, and feta cheese.

ouzo, Greece, Olympics, travel photography, lisa bond photography

Visitors trying Ouzo for the first time

There is an old Greek saying that “ouzo makes the spirit.”  The Greek spirit or kefi (KEH-fee) can be found in their hearty food, soulful music, and lively conversation.  Sharing a glass of chilled Ouzo with a friend is the perfect companion to all of these things.

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