981- Thursday 8th February 2018: Nothing Naf in Nafplio
Now then readers – where do motorhomes come from? They’re not Greek or Roman (even Romahomes – or DunRoamins) – although as we are in Greece – we do like our fiery engined chariots….. No – I can exclusively reveal all – no, not that all please! As you know, current motorhome manufacturers previously built caravans…. One day long ago three young people who built caravans got together in a wine bar – drinking Gluevine, Ouzo and Sambuka (as you do). Their names were – Frau Harriet Hymer, Dinky Dethleffs and Randy Rapido…. They scratched their dandruff and thought “how can we make the business leaner and meaner (and get more money?). Randy said “let’s put a washing machine engine in the front of the caravan?”. So, a brand new Miele 500 cc unit was gaffa taped to the front (on top of the tow bar). The dream was born – and the first purchasers could spin dry as they raced/rinsed around hairy mountain bends!!! If anyone comes up with a better story – I will eat a grommet from our on board twin tub – which is not a Miele – it’s a Schaffer from 1767 (get your Googles out). In 1767, Captain Samuel Wallis became the first European to visit Tahiti – and Daniel Boone reached Kentucky – why? He wanted some fried chicken, perhaps…
What’s that got to do with Nafplio, you ask? Well…to be honest – not a lot. Nothing naf about Nafplio – it’s gorgeous – lovely harbour, shops – and people. Coffee in the sun in the town square – walking along the front…. Our Airbnb host had recommended a fish restaurant a few km away – off we went – on his local knowledge, we were well looked after…..
Feels like a lagoon, but Nafplio is a large bay.
The Bourzi island was originally a fortress, then the local executioner’s residence and then a hotel … go figure what all the ‘guests’ had in common!
982- Friday 9th February: Corinth – Ancient and Canal
K here, as I was the one that went in with the Aged P’s. J stayed walked Oscar. To be honest, Ancient Corinth was a bit of a disappointment. So much of it had been knocked down and built over by the Romans, and then knocked down again by an earthquake. The Odeon and Amphitheatre are viewed from the roadside and are certainly not the finest examples. The Temple of Apollo and the cistern with its tunnels were worth seeing. The museum was memorable as in 1990, thieves broke in, wounded and tied up the guard and ‘removed’ 274 artefacts. Most were recovered in Miami, USA, by the FBI. The history is probably what makes Ancine Corinth so well known … it was a major capital, allied with Sparta and then against Sparta, allied to Athens and more interestingly, a reputation for licentious living, which St Paul attacked when he visited.
The Corinth Canal is deep (average 8 metres) and sheer in places (see photos). We drove the far west end of the canal and had a road side / car park picnic. It was a tad windy, and sadly we did not see any ships along the canal in the whole time we were there. I know Carol and Mike didn’t see any passage either … perhaps it is just cruise / tourist ships in summer.
We used Maps.Me and spotted a private bridge over the canal. We drove around there and were able to walk right over the centre of the canal. The only down side was the smell, as the bridge carried sewage to the adjacent sewage works!
Temple of Apollo in Ancient Corinth
The Peirene Fountain with water channels off. Rituals and ceremonies also took place here.
Picnic at the west end of the canal. A tad windy so we did not linger. Pudding was fresh oranges from a neighbour at the house. We didn’t steal… it was a gift, honest!
The Diolkos – paved road – the Romans unloaded ships and hauled the ships across this 4 mile flagway. Safer than sailing around the Peloponnese…
… This pix from the museum shows surprisingly large ships being hauled across.
Amazing detail … a dressing table mirror.
Such long toes!
From the smelly bridge. Looking west.
Who let the lunatics out?
983- Saturday 10th February: Coffee and Lunch Mystery Tour
J’s turn to scribe … “Magical Mystery Tour” a la Katherine and her superb coordinary coordinates! A Pyramid that looked like some large stones in a roughly shaped minyprid….. A lake that was – a bit short of water…. Lunch with the locals (always a good idea) – while it rained outside – our repast was not dry….. A coffee along the coast whilst sitting next to a roaring fire followed by a meze lunch … and the rain pretty much dogged us all day.
K: what J does not reveal is that my data entry into the sat nav was flawed, we ended up in a neighbouring town, down a narrow lane and had to reverse a long way … thankfully we were in a car and not Jez. We also managed to pass the rock church our destination … before realising it was our destination!
The house central heating wasn’t working so Grahame lit the fire with logs provided by the owner…. later, we foraged locally to find more ‘lumber’ (American?) to feed the hungry beast – we were toasty…..
A pyramid, we think it was 4BC
Church built into a rock overlooking a lake. Actually a non lake. Locals used to wash their carpets here, but now farmers take too much of the ground water further up, the lake is dry … so dirty carpets?
You don’t get a fire like this in a motorhome! or if you do, you have a problem!!!! The heating problem was solved … lack of oil, but our AirBnB host sorted it promptly :).
984- Sunday 11th February: Mycene
Again, I went in and J kept O away from the local barking hounds. The setting is superb, a cliff on one side and mountains. This is one of the earliest examples of a citadel and was inhabited from 1700-1100BC. The Tholos tombs here were stunning. Huge and built as a circle and dome roof and then covered over with earth; they are no longer buried. The Royal Palace was at the top and only nobles lived inside the walls.
The main city is up a hill, again protected by hills on several sides.
Tholos tomb of Clytemnestra.
Bits of script were preserved due to a fire as the ‘slates’ would have been soft.
I have conquered!
Looking up out of the cistern. A secret stairway of 99 steps, but visitors can only access as few.
Postern Gate … a side gate – we had to look up the meaning of postern!
The Lion Gate 13BC … we were lucky to photo this with no other visitors, as Mycene was quite busy with an American tour group and several school parties. Mycene was always known about as part of the gate poked up above ground.
985 – Monday 12th February: Epidaurus
Massive amphitheatre – 12,000 people – and good other archaeological remains to see. Most of the site was given over to Asklepios and healing.
Lunch – of course (at Epidural Beach – sorry, Epidaurus Beach). Many little courses – with no alcohol (for us) as it’s a dry day….
However, as the Aged Ps booked to visit us in ‘the Bulge’ – Bulgaria in Late July- we celebrated – with vino collapso (with no collapso)!!!
The theatre is used for classical performances in the summer. 330BC.
The Greeks had it seating 6000, the Romans doubled the capacity. Ear wigging an English speaking guide, I discovered that Greek theatres have circular stages, but the Romans semi-circles. Also the Greeks ‘invented’ theatre. Followers of Dionysos celebrated with inebriated role playing and moved from dancing to theatre … the first purpose built buildings appearing in late 6BC.
It may have been a healing centre, but exercise and games took place too.
The water front stroll before lunch.
986 – Tuesday 13th February: A Non Train Ride
We planned to travel on the Kalavryta-Diakofto railway at EUR19 each … their loss as no dogs. So we drove there – only an hour and a half. The road followed some of the route the train would have, so some good views on the way up. Good cafe break. The Museum to the local Katarya WW2 holocaust was disturbing but it’s a must – ’no more wars’ – defitiely! Sad news that old Leslie family friend (95) had fallen at home and may be failing – hope not – more news tomorrow – fingers crossed…
The Germans planned reprisals against hill towns due to the partisan activity in the area. They took all the men and boys over 13 up a hill and machine gunned them down. The women and children were locked in the school and the building was set alight. The women broke out and the German soldiers on duty there did not shoot, but herded them down hill. In the morning, the women discovered the hill side strewn with bodies. This was December and freezing, and they had to use any tools they could find and their bare hands to dig shallow graves for their menfolk. A film with English subtitles followed the story with clips from survivors, who had been young children at the time. It was immensely moving.
The hillside where very few have proper headstones.
Families were buried together. Ages here were 55, 19 and 48. One survivor talked about burying his father, 3 bothers and his brother in law together and the discussions about how to lay them out. Lanterns marking burials were nameless. The museum guide said 669 were massacred, the guide book quotes 1436. The Germans moved onto neighbouring villages, shooting on sight.
986 – Wednesday 14th February: Nafplio, Fort, Karathona Beach and Another Good Lunch
Kitty car drove us to Nafplio Castle/Fort – stunning views. Oscar doggy walk on Karathona Beach (overnight motorhomers have been moved on by the police recently … shame as a superb quiet spot). Another excellent lunch in Napflio (recommended by Dimitrios) – finished off with coffee and Metaxa.
Karathona beach … we’ve seen a few signs of getting ready for the summer season.