After a full day at sea on board the beautiful Holland America Line ship, the MS Noordam, it was now off to Greece where our first stop would be the seaside town of Katakalon. I never heard of this place before but found out that this is the entry point to the town of Olympia where the first Olympic games were played and where the torch is still lit at the start of each Olympic games. While most tourists go there, I had other plans. Katakalon is full of olive trees and vineyards so my first stop was to Magna Grecia Farms (not too far from Olympia.) I was greeted with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and home made olive pastry, followed by a glass of ouzo. While waiting for the crew to film around the property and set up, I watched a demonstration of Syrtaki dancing that the hosts were performing for some other visitors. Franca, the owner sat with me and I was served a variety of Greek mezzes including fabulous breads and olive oils as well as a glass of their red wine blend. This was followed by a shot of local grappa called Tsipoura and one of the best baklavas I have ever eaten. Franca then showed me some more of the foods from the farm including jams, tomatoes, olives and peppers. We all left bearing gifts of wine and olive oil!
We had a short stop near Olympia after all where we tried to get into the museum but only our camera man Frank seemed to make it inside.
Time was passing quickly and so off to Mercouri Vineyards for a tasting. But, first, the owner Christos very proudly showed me around the beautiful property giving me a brief history of their 150 years of wine production. We sat in the pretty garden (surrounded by cats and a peacock) and I tasted a variety of their lovely wines including the Refosco, an Italian grape variety first planted by the Mercouris in the late 1800’s.
As we headed back to the cruise port, I made a stop at one of the pretty water side restaurants , Mougario, where I was treated to more mezzes of tzatziki, olives, greek salad, chickpeas with spinach, meat pies and eggplant. The owner, Angela, even wrapped up some of the dishes so I could take them back on the ship.
Next will be the town of Nafplion, another Greek town I don’t know.
Cheers – yammas,