Katacolon

Katacolon was a small fishing village until a local boy made good shipping magnate decided that it would make an ideal cruise ship terminal for tourists visiting Olympia.

The village is about 700 metres long, at one end is the beach and the cruise ship terminal and at the other is the station for the narrow gauge railway to Olympia.

Katacolon harbour front

The village comprises the harbour front and two streets behind that. The harbour front is dedicated to restaurants, end to end. The next street back is home to souvenir and jewellery shops for the cruise ship passengers and the third street, well, the third street is behind the second. There are more ATMs per square metre than some islands we know.

We arrived on Friday afternoon in a ghost town, literally no one on the streets, tumble weed deserted. The town quay is in front of the largest and emptiest car park imaginable and on the other side of that is the railway station and the local church. They have a very loud set of bells and a loudspeaker system that broadcast the entire Friday evening sung service to the village. Happily that was the only one although the bells did get a bashing on Sunday morning as well.

Saturday was Valeria’s birthday so we spent a quiet day doing little and wandering along to a nice restaurant for a late lunch. We decided to leave the visit to Olympia until Sunday, not appreciating that the train wouldn’t run.

We did little on Sunday, waiting to visit Olympia on Monday, although I did take a walk over to the Museum of Ancient Greek Technology, which was fascinating. Everything from sundials and water clocks to self-loading cross bows and holy water vending machines. They even had a steam-driven device linked to the fire for the temple offerings. When the fire was hot enough the temple doors opened in approval! When the fire died down the door closed and the only way to get the gods to show their approval again was to make another offering! And of course numerous types of crane and lifting machines.

Katacolon really has little to offer visitors unless you are on a cruise ship, it is easier to buy jewelery or a leather coat than to buy groceries.   Once the cruise ships leave there is little here at all.   It is a useful stop over on the west coast of the Peloponnese and one of the few places with shelter.   We planned to be ‘not sailing’ on Valeria’s birthday and to visit Olympia, but with those two targets achieved sitting waiting for the wind to change got to be a little boring.

 

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