The Road To Nafplio
Those three mountains were weighing heavily on Steve’s mind as we left the village of Iklena behind. Map on my lap we checked every village on the way to make sure we were on the right track, my sweetie was so worried about getting lost. I didn’t really get that, I mean he speaks Greek and lots of tourists make this treck without worrying so much. In fact while we were exploring some excavation, I can’t remember which one now, we met a couple from Valleyfield, Quebec and they’d been driving all over the place with their elderly parents for over a month, and we also met a couple from Karslruhe, Germany who’d been doing the same thing since mid August. Neither of these couples spoke Greek and they got by just fine!! I kept telling Steve to chill out and not worry so much, we’d get were we needed to be eventually.
On the way to Nafplio we stopped in Kalamata to get a little food. Good old bread, butter and cheese worked best and we stopped at a roadside rest place so I could fix myself a honking sandwich. I was seriously hungry by this point. I’m sitting in the car, legs out when suddenly I feel this burning sensation on my butt. “Steve, I yelled, I think I’ve got a cramp” and jumped out of the car. He was just about to mutter something about “you are always complaining about something” when he noticed the car seat smoldering. As he previously tried to extinguish a cigarette in the ashtray the burning end dropped on my seat and eventually got hot enough to burn my b…m, not funny… Good thing I had a big water bottle handy, he he he…
We finally did make it to Nafplio. It is a bit of a drive; Pylos is on the Ionian Sea side and Nafplio is on the western side of the Peloponnese on the Argolic Gulf. My Lonely Planet describes it as one of Greece’s prettiest towns and I absolutely agree.
We drove through town and headed straight for the port and the old town where the Akronafplia fortress looms above the town.
This town has three fortresses with Palamidi being the largest. Since I was only allowed one more castle, I chose Palamidi as the one to explore and I’m glad I did.
Our first order of business was to find a room and that turned out to be no easy feat. Of course I immediately gravitated towards the Hotel Grand Bretagne, which was right on the waterfront but when we were quoted 160e for the night quickly left. Not exactly in our league, something more reasonable was our goal. We found a small hotel in the old quarter that looked really nice. We got a key to check out a room but when I got to the top of the stairs I had a real strange experience. There was a round hallway, something which I’d never seen before with 6 doors each leading to a room. I got a shiver down my spine, it’s as if I’d been there before. I told Steve I needed to get out of there right away and left. I’d had a dream long ago, and saw myself in room just like it. It was the hallway I remembered right away and even though I don’t remember much about the dream, I do remember that it was a not a good one. A most strange experience…
The innkeeper had a room in another building across the street which we then, (in spite of my misgivings) took for the night. I say misgivings because the bed was not big enough for two. What passes as a double here is really a three quarter by North American standards. We spent the evening exploring the old town, having a fabulous dinner.
I was right about the bed though, we had a horrible sleep and ended up almost divorced by five am. Smart man that Steve is though, instead of fighting with me he went in search of coffee and came back with fabulous cappuccino and fresh hot spinach pie. Gotta say that set me straight and happily report that we are still married. By eight am we were at our fortress and enjoying the exploration. I think if he hadn't gotten me the coffee I would have left him here...
My guide book says there are 999 stairs up to the fortress and I have to tell you I did not climb them. The actual number is under a bit of dispute so you’d really have to climb them and count them to know for sure. There is road access to the top so we drove up and I’m glad we did. This fortress is immense, the biggest one of the whole trip with lots of nooks and crannies to explore. There are also numerous bastions with amazing views. There were many stairs within this fortress and by the end of two hours I was pretty tired. The old hips are starting to act up a bit.
The view from the top was breathtaking.
The third fortress is on an island just west of the port and by the time we finished with Palamidi I was pretty tired. It's not really terribly big so I don't think I missed much.
After a quick lunch and packing up our belongings we were on the road again destination Athens. It was a three hour trip back and reasonably uneventful except that we got slightly lost coming into the city. It was good to be back in our quasi home.
Our last few days were spent with family and friends and in spite of really wanting to get home we were sad to leave.
By the time you read this post we will be safely back in Canada. Our flight with Olympic was one of the last to leave Athens. There was a general strike in all of Greece and we weren't sure we were going to make it home. Thankfully we did and now the unpacking and laundry begins.
As always, there are more photos on my Flickr page.