I know what you’re thinking… there he goes again, writing about Adam Gold and those clever mystery novels. Well, you’re wrong. I’m referring to gold as in gold medals. (i.e., the Olympic Games) I used to refer to our sweet ship as the S.S. Minnow, but now that we’re in Greece, I’m calling it the S.S. Minoan. Today we are anchored off the coast of Katakolon, which lies in the western part of the Peloponnese Peninsula. In about an hour (after we digest those stuffed grape leaves) we are off to OLYMPIA, the site of the Olympic Games! The ruins at this particular location are very well preserved, and I’m not talking about those older folks on the Tauck Tour bus.
Olympia is where the present-day Greeks light the Olympic torch (viewed by billions on T.V.) and it is quite fascinating. I met a Greek chick who is still carrying a torch for one of the athletes she met during the last games. Must be hard to become an “old flame.” In any case, this was truly a great visit, and due to my previous archaeological experience (and a modest bribe) I got to help out with a current excavation project. (Photos attached at bottom!)
One of the best preserved sites was the Olympic stadium, which held about 40,000 spectators and a few hundred hot dog vendors. (Actually, they were serving Gyros.) Men AND women participated in the games, (the sporting contests, that is) but the women had to be married. Why? Because all of the athletes were naked! (Seriously) One of the photos below shows the bath tubs that the athletes used to soak their weary muscles. Notice how small the tubs are? These ancient athletes were slightly over five feet tall. (This figure does not include any type of “shrinkage.”)
In case you’re wondering, the entire olympic site used to be dominated by the temple of Zeus, with the temple of Hera nearby. (Both sustained serious earthquake damage over the centuries, plus some vandalism by various ruffians.) According to Greek mythology, Pelops, the king of Peloponnese, was the founder of the Olympic Games. However, the stadium I previously mentioned, has not been used since 393 AD. (For those of you who do not have an archaeology background, allow me to explain that BC means “Before Christ,” and that AD means “After Dat.”)
I felt a little guilty when I left the Olympic site. I thought about the amazing athletes who spent countless hours perfecting their bodies, lifting weights, and training for marathons… and there I was, back on ship, trying to lasso the television remote with my phone charger. Pathetic. I run my mouth a lot, but that’s about it. (I thought growing older would take longer!)
So what else is new? Well, last week we celebrated Dr. Max Talbott’s 39th birthday. (Max is my former neighbor and cousin.) Instead of going to Taco Bell (my suggestion) we all drove out to the Steiner Ranch Steak House for a wonderful meat-fest and a concert by the Bellamy Brothers! Fortunately, Max and his lovely wife, Barbara, were paying. (I left my wallet home again… by accident.) The food, music, and company were great, and we wish Cousin Max many, many more years of happiness and good health. Max was tempted to start going to the gym again, but I told him to grab a beer, sit down on the couch, and just wait until the feeling passed. Good advice, eh?
Incidentally, speaking of books (What??) I am happy to report that among the best-selling books at this year’s Texas Book Festival, were two brilliant history books written by yours truly. Copies of TURBULENT TIMES and THE SECOND MOURNING flew off the shelves. (during strong winds) At other times, my reps just sold the books. In any case, both books were quite popular with the attendees, and if you did not find an autographed copy, just drop me a note and we will arrange something. (CHRISTMAS is right around the corner, and these books would make fabulous gifts!) The royalties would also help me pay for my upcoming trip to the Caribbean, which is vital for my continued mental health!
Next week’s blog post will take us to Sicily, so stay tuned! By the way, our first stop in Sicily was under Mt. Aetna, which is currently sliding into the sea! (No kidding.) Check out the volcano article on CNN or YouTube. Quite amazing. I’m glad I left when I did, but I forgot to buy a lava lamp. Maybe next time.
Have a safe and prosperous week… and don’t forget to vote for me!
Love to all,