Monday, March 17, 2014


Of all the places at which the cruise ship has stopped, Katakolon is the most incongruous. It’s a tiny village with one street running along the waterfront. On the water side are fishing boats and restaurants, and on the land side are tourist shops. Beyond that are woods, small farms, semi-derelict houses and wandering flocks of sheep.

When you park an eighteen storey floating hotel in the middle of that, it tends to stand out.

The reason why Katakolon has a wharf big enough to accommodate an ocean liner, when the largest vessel in its native fleet is about the size of one of the Fantasia’s lifeboats, is Olympia. The historic birthplace of the modern Olympics is a short bus ride from Katakolon. Or rather, the ruin of said birthplace is there. Apparently there isn’t much to see other than a bunch of slightly profound rocks.

Given my lifelong antipathy towards sporting endeavour, it’s little wonder than I decided to give Olympia a miss and just enjoy a beautiful spring day in the Greek countryside. Fortunately Admiral Ackbar was right on board with that plan.

We began by traipsing up the hill that forms the spine of the promontory on which Katakolon is sited. As the sounds of whining Americans and jabbering Italians receded, we could simply relax into the sounds of the countryside; the waves brushing against the shore, birds singing in the trees, and herds of goats gently bleating as they trotted along, with their bells jangling around their necks.

I walked. Ackbar rode.

I also came across this little slice of Greek life: a beer can, a condom wrapper and a shotgun shell

At least we know the people around here aren’t bored.

We eventually wound back down to the village, pausing only for pomegranate gelati, honey frozen youghurt and free wi-fi. Then I did some shopping in the tourist shops, buying a shirt that’s probably about as authentically Grecian as a Hyundai. Then it was down to the waterfront for a well-deserved beer and a rather insensitive lunch, given Ackbar’s ethnic heritage.

I had thought to go for a swim in the Mediterranean after lunch, but instead I just took the elevator up to Deck 14 and swam in one of the ship’s three swimming pools. It says a lot about cruise priorities that I had the whole pool to myself, but I was entirely surrounded by dozens of elderly obese Germans baking themselves into an even darker shade of melanoma.


Anonymous TroyG said...

A beer can, shotgun shell and condom wrapper: are you sure you weren't in one of the southern states of the USA? Or anywhere in Australia?

2:37 PM  
Blogger Blandwagon said...

Australia and the USA wouldn't have had the condom wrapper.

3:20 PM  

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