Friday, 21 May 2010
En route to Nafplio, by way of as much coast road as possible we also decided against stopping at Epidavros, apparently one of the biggest and best preserved/restored greek theatre and still very much in use. We have since met some people who say it is stunning, especially if you actually go and see something performed, but hey ho, not going to do that and for now, one empty amphitheatre is starting to look very much like another....
There were people in the sea by 10am, but tempting as it was, we headed on into Nafplio where we parked in the big harbour and met the first proper contingent of motorhoming brits - who happened to be seperately and randomly collected there - that we have come across in months. Since the Algarve and south westernmost spain anyway.
So we stopped for a chat - it is always nice to meet fellow travellers - and swapped somed some books, then, with stories told, previous destinations in common remarked upon and recommendations swapped, we headed in to town.
to nestle on the shores of the gulf of Argolikos. Once the capital of independent Greece following the war of independence from the Turks and the Ottoman Empire in 1821-22, its premier role was superceded by Athens with the establishment of the first Greek monarchy under Otho of Bavaria in 1934, so the town has remained small and elegant, a testament to its Venetian roots.
We wandered, considered the climb to the castle, decided against - too lazy - and plumped instead for delicious sticky bites of baklava and other honey soaked pastry goodness on the steps in the main square. Scrummy.
I am also hatching a plan for some expert guidance and a last ditch attempt at justification of the thing before we have to go home but more on that anon.
through the pine forests
Where we reached the end of the road. For the day anyway.
Obviously the road did continue, albeit in a new incarnation, and we made our way back to the coast at Monemvassia.
Consisting of three distinct parts, only the walled lower town, which clings to the bottom of the rock, facing out to sea, remains standing and occupied, with the hilltop town and 16th century Venetian fortress in ruins up above.
and lots of pretty nooks and corners
and we found the main square
and church thronging with a steady stream of wizened old ladies all dressed in their 'uniform' of black top, black kneelength skirt, black tights and sensible black slip on shoes,who were seemingly coming into church to light a candle, kiss the various saints pictures and generally catch up on the gossip.
The view from the top was stunning, up and down the coast and across the narrow bridge to the mainland village.
We scrambled right the way to the top and the fortress,
then back down for beautiful views of the lower town and onwards and outwards and bridgewards.
Gythio is nice and a bit more 'real' as we wandered into town along the harbour wall. From the number of small boats lined up in the harbour it is clearly an operational fishing village still, although as one of the three Peloponnese ferry terminals with boats bound for the Crete, there is still a large transient population and every second house is a hotel or has rooms to let.
We were vaguely looking at taverna menus and deciding how hungry we were - and beginning to regret not eating in Pachi which, on saturday night had been thronging with dining locals in the delicious smelling restaurants - when we stopped out side what we thought was a hole-in-the-wall gyros place (gyros definitely being on my things-we-have-to-do-in-greece list) when a sprightly looking old lady started gesticulating wildly at us through the window of what turned out to be the ajoining dining-in area, with various thumbs up and 'yum-yum' hand movements. We heaed back towards the door to look for a menu and were welcomed in by the smiling, rotund owner and so the die was cast, even before we got as far as the gesticulating german who was intent on telling us how good the food was (which it most certainly was), what good value it was (again, most definitely) and how it was recommended in her Trotters guidebook as being both those things (for which we will have to take her word).
So souvlaki (lamb cubes on skewers), pork gyros (like donner kebab), pita breads, salad and tatsiki were ourswashed down with delicious ice cold mythos - nom. And so much stuff that we had enough to take home in a foil box for dinner the next day. Brilliant.
So a wander back down the well lit harbour and a short drive out of town to a quiet beach side layby.
Oh I do like to be beside the seaside!
With love for now from Becky, Will and Jules on Friday, May 21, 2010