Tag Archives: Peleponnesus

Photographs from My Trip to the Ancient Olympics

6 Aug

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you watching the Olympics right now?

My family lives close to where the very first Olympics were held — the Olympic games began in 776 BC in Olympia, which is in the Peleponnesus in Greece — so over the years, I’ve visited Olympia more times than I could possibly count.  Even though I’m probably one of the least athletic people on the entire planet and couldn’t care less about watching any of the Olympic games, I still love going to site of where the Olympics all began.

What’s so fun about Olympia, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is that you can actually walk right up to the incredible stone columns.  You’re essentially treading the same path as the ancient Olympians.  My father always insists that we run the stadium, and since I love to ham it up for the camera, we end up with lots of silly pictures like the above.  Through this tradition, he’s been able to capture me growing up through the lens of the Ancient Olympics.

If you’re planning a trip to Olympia, Greece, you may find this site helpful.

 

Does your family have a tradition of taking annual photos anywhere unique?

 

Gripster: Documentary Films, Dolphins & Pirates

11 Jul

Arion Riding a Dolphin, by Albrecht Dürer (ca. 1514; public domain)

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, Greek American photographer and film director Louie Psihoyos is the son of an immigrant from the Peloponnesus.  The Peloponnesus incidentally is where my immigrant family came from as well.  Whether it’s a coincidence or a matter of upbringing that Psihoyos was intrigued by dolphins, the Peloponnesus has a dolphin myth.

Arion, the poet who invented the song and dance (called the dithyramb) for the wine god Dionysus, was kidnapped by pirates while returning to Greece from Italy.  In an effort to save his life, Arion sang to the poetry god Apollo, before flinging himself off the ship.  His song attracted a pod of dolphins and one of them carried him to safety, bringing him to the sanctuary of the sea god Poseidon in Cape Tainaron.

A swashbuckling tale of pirates, wine, and poetry, you have to admit this is a pretty cool Greek dolphin myth!

It led me to study up on Cape Tainaron.  Also known as Cape Matapan, it is the southernmost part of mainland Greece.  It’s located in Mani, which reputedly has the world’s best extra-virgin olive oil, grown organically on mountain terraces, and is also known for its superior honey and syglino (pork with oregano, mint, and orange peel.)  There are also some stalactite and stalagmite caves, which are partly underwater, and can be visited by boat.

I’m putting Cape Tainaron on my to-do list for the next time I go to Greece.

For more on Poseidon, check out:::

Gripster: Portlandia, Hipsters, and Greek Myth

Gripster: 2011 Coney Island Mermaid Parade & Greek Mermaid Myths