We slept well at the King Othon. When we came down for breakfast we were told that instead of breakfast in the courtyard, it would be served at their sister hotel the Victoria just a few buildings away. The Victoria was a more modern building but the buffet breakfast was top notch.
As we ate breakfast we talked over a rough plan what to see and do during our brief visit to Nafplio. We only had 3 days. Whilst in discussion, an older gentleman walked to our table and struck up conversation. He told me that his name was Magnus and that he worked in travel and was interested to hear about other people’s travels. Well it’s just fortunate that I like nothing better than to talk about my travels! Magnus is British but has lived in Hong Kong for around 40 years where he has his own publishing company specialising in travel books and maps. We continued to chat for some time and we discover that we both had plans to head towards Galatas on the afternoon bus in 3 days time. Magnus recommended that we visit Tiryns. It wasn’t on our list but always happy to add new things to our itinerary. We finish breakfast and say our goodbyes and I secretly hope that I will get to speak with this very interesting gentleman again.
Our first port of call today is Palamidi castle. Although walkable we opt to take the bus as it is time efficient and – I’m not sure my little legs would make it!
When we reach the castle entrance we find that it is International Monument Day and there is free entry into the castle! Bonus!
Once through the castle gate we wander around the castle grounds, clambering up stone steps that lead to the castle wall where vivid blue campanula tumble from between the rocks. Each vista gives us glimpses of the fantastic landscape below. That landscape resonated with me immediately. I felt like this could be a place that I could stay for a long time. Three years later I still feel the same – you know when you just visit a place and it feel right?
I need to add, that this trip to the Peloponnese was a key driver in helping me to facilitate a big change in my life. I had become disillusioned with work to the point where it was making me ill. I’d been off work during winter with depression (the doctors term). I called it “a case of utter s***ness”. A deep malaise that I couldn’t shake off, mixed with the realisation that I was nearly 60 and no longer gained satisfaction from my day job – something that I had been passionate about in the beginning. I needed to do something before it was too late. What I didn’t know. I couldn’t face the thought of that commute into the city, the people I worked with – I just didn’t fit in this corporate world – not any longer. I needed this trip to get some perspective on the situation and to plot a way forward – well that was the idea and was easier said than done! All I know is that when I’m travelling around Greece I am happy.
Just look at those views and the landscape below.
After catching the bus back down, we head to the quay side to catch the small boat to Bourtzi fortress. The boats depart from the quayside close to the Hotel Grande Bretagna and ferry back and forth regularly. Although there really isn’t very much to see once you get there it does offer you some wonderful views – worth a little trip I think.
Nafplio has several very good museums and we are torn over which ones to visit during our short stay. We decide to start with the Peloponnese Folklore Museum and we can see later if we can squeeze any more in. It is a very well presented museum located on King Alexander Road. It’s display of traditional costume of the Peloponnese are fantastic.
For the rest of the day we do one of the best activities you can do in Nafplio – and that is just wander the atmospheric streets. The town is somewhat ’boutiquified’ but I will forgive it for that. It becomes magical in the evening.
The following morning we see Magnus at breakfast again and chat further. He tells us that his father was an artist and in the fifties he built a house close to Troezen on the way to Galatas. He and his family have been visiting this part of Greece for most of their lives although now a bit of a trek from Hong Kong. Such an interesting man.
Our first port of call today is a visit to Tiryns as per Magnus’s recommendation. There is a bus that will take you there directly though it is worth finding out the times from the bus station so that you can time it right. The bus stops on a road close to the entrance to the site.
What most people will know about Tiryns (and also Mycenae) is that the gigantic wall stones are said to have been placed there by the Cyclops under order by Perseus. You can read more about Tiryns on Wikipaedia here: Tiryns
We spend about an hour or so in almost complete solitude at the Tiryns site. Spring flowers sprout from almost every rock and crevice and no matter where you look your eyes are drawn to the dramatic rural landscape that falls all the way over to Argos.
We had made a note of the time of the return bus so headed back onto the road to the bus stop. The bus was running late but as always in these circumstances we are always glad to see that it has eventually turned up!
Once back at the bus station we decide to take another bus ride out. It was almost like one of those drop a pin on the map moments but we see that there is a bus that leaves shortly for the neighbouring village of Drepano. It goes through Tolo which although we don’t plan to visit Tolo we will catch a fleeting glance of it and as the bus trundles through. I know Tolo warrants much more than just a glimpse but I have already determined that I will visit again and put Tolo on the list for a longer stay. All I have to show are some very bad photo’s taken through the window of the bus.
What I had read about Drepano is that it is a traditional rural village that sits 9 kilometres south east of Nafplio. This traditional village is built on the back of the small hill Mill (Agios Nikolaos) overlooking the open sea. The feature of this village is that most homes have been built on rocky ground and very close to each other resulting in very narrow and steep streets.
One thing is for sure – the houses are very characterful and have a lot of charm. We take a nice slow wander around the village.
We found ourselves on a path going up over a hill. We can see a rock that appears out of the landscape like a giant sharks fin. Without even having to hazard a guess I know that sits on top is the church of Profitis Elias. There is a lagoon to our left but we follow the road up and over to the right to a deserted beach, passing a few villa’s in development. What beautiful lush green landscapes there are here. Mmm maybe this is a place to watch!
The beach is stony with sandstone shelves going out into the sea. We also come across a small snake that looks quite out of place on the beach. Maybe this isn’t the place to watch! 🙂
Further along the beach things begin to look a bit more developed with several beach bars and organised camping sites. We stop for a little light refreshment before heading back to Drepano village for the bus.
The village seems very lively with a cluster of taverna’s in the square. We have just less than an hour to kill before the bus arrives so after a short wander we find ourselves in the church of the Holy Martyrs Adrian and Natalia. The epitaphio from the Easter celebrations sits in all it’s beautified glory at the front of the church.
We arrive back at Nafplio rather exhausted but still have some energy to take in a few more vista’s of this beautiful town including more photographs to add to my collection of door knockers which is well over 300 as we speak! Check out the Facebook group – the Door Knockers of Europe!
Tomorrow we are going to Epidauros!