olympia

☼☼☼ 2-Day Tour to Olympia, Mountain Villages and the Arcadia Cliff-Hanging Monasteries ☼☼☼

Every stop on this trip was beautiful, well-thought-out, and offered diversified experiences in the more rural Peloponnese. It was a pleasant break from urban Athens (and I loved Athens). Our guide, Nikos, was very informative and thoughtful, and I feel that we had a more “authentic Greek” experience as a result.

The quick summary: The Ancient Site of Olympia is beautiful. The mountain villages are gorgeous. The view from our hotel balcony in Lousios Gorge was absolutely breathtaking, and the monasteries are charming. The monks produce good cherry brandy by the way which you can obtain with a “donation.”

monasteries

The most impressive part of the trip was that Nikos truly went out of his way to accommodate us. He asked us some questions at the beginning of the trip about what our interests were and what we had already done. From that feedback, he made sure to try to address everyone’s interests/issues. These are just some of the things Nikos did off the top of my head (there are probably more):

1. We had all tried Greek coffee but were drinking it incorrectly (and getting the sludge). He made sure we enjoyed it the correct way and at a cute small town cafe.
2. We had all had a bad experience with Ouzo in Athens. Nikos taught us the proper way to experience Ouzo with delicious Greek seafood. (Some of the best squid I’ve ever had).
3. One of us craved good Spanakopita. He made sure that it was offered at two different meals.
4. We had discovered a candy (“SUPER JELLY”) in Athens that we wished to bring back, but we couldn’t find it in stores. Nikos actually called the manufacturer, found the candy AFTER he dropped us off at the end of the trip, and then delivered it back to the hotel for us!
5. Last but not least, in our group of friends, he conspired with one for a dramatic marriage proposal on the balcony of one of the monasteries. It was the perfect place!!! It was such a stunning and romantic location.

food

He truly went above and beyond what I could expect from a tour guide. The only bad part is that we can’t have Nikos for every tour (i.e., if we go to France or Thailand next).

@Nikos: I definitely owe you a drink!!!!