Thursday, July 17, 2003

17 July 2003 – 4:01 PM GMT+2

The drive was more of the terror-inducing stuff we had experienced before, with curves a-plenty and small towns with narrow roads. I probably slept. But when we got into Olympia, I directed us to our Best Western, and everyone was astonished as two people came out to help us with our baggage up the marble steps.

In short, our hotel was fantastic. Surprisingly affordable, too, considering it is one of the nicest hotels I've stayed in anywhere in Europe. We had Suite G, if I remember correctly. This consisted of rooms 325 and 326. The former was a triple, with a monstrous bathroom, a couch, lots of marble, a TV, smooshy beds, and a balcony with a nice view. And it was fairly sizeable. The double room, 326, was better. It had all that plus a bigger TV, furniture on the large balcony, and a sitting room with sofas and comfy chairs. Very luxurious. Mom raved about the presence of shoe polish in the bathrooms (which we snagged)! All in all, beautiful.

We decided to go with Frommer's (how do I punctuate the possessive of that? I think it's just "Frommer's") and sought out this taverna frequented by locals. We came across this other place in Frommer's, but we didn't really want to eat there. The Frommer's said, though, that our desired restaurant was just behind it, yet we were unable to find it. We went all over the side opposite the train tracks from the touristy side of town, but to no avail. Eventually, we headed back to the one place and gave it one last go—we turned down this dirt road that looked like it was a construction access road to the back side of Olympia's ruins, and lo and behold: there sat our restaurant.

We were one of two groups there—according to the server, who looked like a lanky dark-haired bespectacled nerdy guy. We were there on a Sunday, which was unfortunate—I first ordered chicken, as did Greg and Dad, but they only had 2. Then I ordered lamb chops. But the group before us had eaten 3 kg of them, so they were fresh out. So I ended up ordering some hamburger-shaped meatballs, but they were much more spiced than hamburgers. Overall, quite delicious. We chatted and drank some wine and passed a few hours under the vine-draped cross-hatched wooden walls of their outdoor patio, sitting in the standard uncomfortable chairs that infest all of Greece's restaurants. Everyone's food was good, it was well-priced, and to top it off, they gave us complementary watermelon at the end—an extremely sweet and crisp one, to end a delightful meal. We found ourselves there much longer than we had expected, and didn't leave until well after 10 PM—not late for Greeks, but late for us.

We tipped them and, after getting something to drink, drove home, avoiding the traffic generated by some international concert being held there. We got back to our wonderfully comfy beds, washed up, and went to sleep.