Olympia – as in the Olympic Games

Olympia was definitely my favorite place on the Southern Greece trip. It was extremely beautiful, there were trees that were actually changing colors, and it was really the first time all semester that it actually felt like fall. I loved it there.

We started by going to a really cool museum where we got to see lots of amazing statues (Like Hermes, and Nike) and some really cool artifacts, like weapons and armor dedicated to Zeus. Speaking of Zeus, he was the patron god of Olympia (even though it is no where close to Mt. Olympus). The Olympic games, which were held every 4 years, were dedicated to Zeus. The Temple of Zeus, which is now mostly in ruins thanks to earthquakes, used to house the great statue of Zeus, one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world. Unfortunately, like all but one ancient wonder the Statue of Zeus is now destroyed. We got to see a really nice artist’s rendition of it, though…

The site of ancient Olympia was one of the prettiest places I have been in Greece. It was just a perfect day to tour the site. We saw a couple gymnasiums, the Temple of Zeus, an old basilica dating to the 4th Cent. AD, and the Temple of Hera (Zeus’ wife) where they light the Olympic Torch every 4 years.

At the end of our tour we came to the famous Olympic Stadium…more like dirt track/field. This was not the first Olympic track, technically. This one was built in order to accommodate larger crowds and more participants, but it’s close enough. We were able to race on the track, which was a lot of fun. We ran it like they would have back 2500 years ago…no, not naked…down and back one time – winner takes all. It’s 192 meters one way, and four of us, including myself, ran it in 60 seconds or less. I loved it.
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Well that pretty much wraps up the Peloponnese trip. Highlights: Acrocorinth, Citadel of Mycenae, Theater of Epidaurus, and the Olympic Track

Next on the agenda is a recap of our trip to Israel. I can’t wait to share my experiences with you.

Great Pyramids of Giza, Batman!



Giza:

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Egypt? Pyramids, anyone? Yeah, I’ve been there, done that. And it was amazing.

You can’t really tell from the pictures, but these massive structures are just on the edge of the city Giza, home to roughly 4 million people. The largest of the pyramids, the one behind the Sphinx in the picture, contains enough blocks to build a 10×1 ft. wall around the entire country of France. These pyramids are too gigantic for words to sufficiently describe. I could just imagine in the days before cars and pollution these man-made mountains would be able to be seen for miles around. Their enormity can’t be entirely grasped until you are standing at the bottom look up, left, and right.

Some interesting I found out about the pyramids:
-They were built by hired workers, not slaves; yet it is still believed by some that they were, in fact, built by aliens.
-They were constructed before the Egyptians even invented the wheel.
-Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and Jesus all saw the Great Pyramids.
-The inside of the Pyramid is hot, muggy, cramped, and smells like a football locker room in August.
-The kings that built the Pyramids also had smaller pyramids built for their 3 wives.

Strangely enough, the experience of seeing the Pyramids and the Sphinx isn’t great writing material. The pictures reveal just about as much as I personally experienced. But at least I can say I’ve been inside a Pyramid.

Alexandria – Home of the Ultramodern, Fireproof Library

This fortress is built over the foundation of the ancient lighthouse.

Th New Library of Alexandria


Alexandria was the first city we visited after flying into Cairo. The city was built along the coastline of the Mediterranean by the Greeks and named after, who else?, Alexander the Great. It was not technically part of “Egypt” when it was built because “Egypt” as a nation only consisted of “Black Soil Around the River Nile” as our tour guide, Osman, emphasized quite a bit.

Alexandria was once home to one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World – the Lighthouse of Alexandria. It’s not there anymore. It fell down a long time ago and a fortress was built over its foundation.

We also got to see (but didn’t go in) the new library. If you remember your world history, Alexandria was also home to the largest library in antiquity until some moron burned it down in some sort of protest- destroying much of the world’s compiled knowledge up to that point. I sure hope this new library is fireproof…just in case.

Also, since Alexandria was a Greco-Roman city, there are extensive catacombs below the street, comparable to Rome or Paris. Early Christians used these catacombs as secret meeting places during times of persecution. And I thought our church buildings were uninviting…