We flew on Aegean Air to Athens, got our luggage, and went to Avis to pick up our car. We were able to take 94 around Athens and miss the city traffic. On to Nafplio!
On the way to Nafplio, we were very near Mycenae, an important archaeological site in Greece which was once the city at the center of the Mycenaean civilization of between 1600BC and 1100BC. We found a place to park and walked through the historical ruins. Mycenae is linked to several works of cultural significance, including the Odyssey and the Iliad. Today, Mycenae contains several well-preserved sites, including the Lion’s Gate and the North Gate, which form parts of its fortified walls and which once stood 18 metres high and 6 to 8 metres thick.
Well, getting to Nafplio was not as easy as it sounded. Signage isn't great here and we were in Nafplio and didn't even know it. Drove around for awhile before we realized we were in the right place. Now to find our B&B!
The Pension Andromeda is in Old Town and there is no driving throughout most of it. Streets are not well marked so after driving in circles for a half an hour, Mike parked the car and went in search of it. After two tries, he found it and we checked in to our B&B, a quaint little place with only 5 rooms, for the next two nights. Marina, the owner, greeted us with a smile and took is to our room, a lovely spacious room filled with antiques. We have 2 balconies, both which look over bougainvillea-covered walking streets. A nice bottle of Greek wine, fresh oranges and kiwis from their garden, and 2 bottles of water were in the room for us. The room was spacious but the bathroom was very small.
On the recommendation of our hosts, we dined at a taverna just down the street. We started by sharing a Greek salad and some bread and olive oil. Mike ordered the pork shank and I ordered the roasted lamb. Both were delicious! We didn't order dessert but they brought us some sliced apples sprinkled with cinnamon and sweet grapes.
5/13. Today we went to breakfast around 9:30 (breakfast is served from 9-11:30, very civilized! Marina made us fresh-squeezed orange juice from their trees. It doesn't get much fresher than that! There was a buffet of spinach tart, a cheese and egg dish, fresh bread, yogurt, 5 homemade jams, local olives and coffee. A wonderful start to our day.
We drove to Epidavros, just a short drive from Nafplio, where the largest standing amphitheater in Greece is located. What an amazing structure, and to think that it was built around 300 B.C. It holds up to 15,000 people, and the acoustics are amazing! Someone sitting in the top row can hear the person on the middle of the stage without a microphone. We sat at the top and enjoyed the view as well as the shade and breeze. It was 86 degrees today, so very warm.
After leaving the amphitheater, we went to see the museum and the ruins. They have uncovered many statues, columns, and decorative art over the last century.
Returning to Nafplio, we drove to one of Naflio's three Venetian fortresses, the Palamidi Fortress. This hilltop fortress, built around 1711, is the best-preserved of its time in Greece. The best preserved is St Andrews Bastion, which has wonderful views of Nafplio and the Aegean Sea. There is a church as well as a prison still standing along with the outer walls and other areas of the bastion.
We drove down to Karathona Beach, which lies just below the Palamidi Fortress and looked for sea glass for our daughter, Lindsay, who makes jewelry using sea glass. We didn't have much luck.
Next we walked the city tour of Old Town Nafplio, stopping at the famous Antica Roma gelato parlor! Lots of shops and restaurants along these very narrow streets.
So much history in this part of the world! I don't know why so many people find history boring (maybe their teacher just used the textbook and didn't make it interesting?). Mike and I continue to learn so much about the history and culture of the many places we've had the opportunity to visit. We are humbled and grateful for those opportunities.
We dined at Arapakos, a seafood restaurant on the promenade. We had a mixed grill, which included calamari, octopus, small fish and shrimps. Mike enjoyed it; I would have been happier with fresh fish, but it was good to try something different.