Yes, this is one of those days that seem to pile experiences atop each other until the cup really does run over.
But before that:
From Tyros to Epidavros via Nafplio
We spent 3 nights at Zaritsi Beach Camp, a delightful stop that turned from one night into three as we lazed around the Peloponnese. The weather, unfortunately, had a bit to do with this as the wind picked up strength, the sea went to dark grey, and whitecaps enlivened the bays. With such a strong wind we opted to remain in the protection of the campsite for an extra couple of days, before heading off to a couple of free camp sites. The first of these, at Paralia Agiou Andrea, a name that has 4 times as many vowels than the number of town inhabitants, was removed from the road, a small harbour with 2? Houses… Nondescript would be apt.
Nafplio was a little different. We parked on the huge carpark fronting the small boat harbour, which housed everything but small boats. Price tags to these boats runs into tens of millions of dollars: `Bliss`, for example, rents out at €135,000 per week. No wonder there is an increasing conversation about the ‘have-alls’!
We climbed the 800+ steps from Nafplio to the Venetian Palamidi Fortress up the hill. Built during the Second Venetian period (1711-1715) it was conquered by the Ottomans before completion, passing to the Greeks in 1822 on liberation. The fortress is stunning, with such clear examples of interlocking bastions and covering fields of fire that make you realise what an art form the design and construction of this fortress was, particularly taking the improvements gunpowder technology was bringing to the battlefield.
The Old Town was, again, a lovely place to spend dinner (yes, Niki eating out again!), but also nice to spend with fellow travellers Russ and Juliet. Feeding 4 of us, including 2 litres of wine and coffees for just on €50 explains, to an extent, our growing appreciation of the opportunities offered by travelling Greece.
I don’t think we have yet encountered anyone expressing to us a New Zealanders (apologies to both Japies and Kiwis) their concern for ongoing cannibalism being experienced in NZ’s deepest, most removed jungles. Hmmm… here was a clear case of a little knowledge being a very dangerous thing. Our otherwise very nice (although garrulous to the nth degree) seller of prime Greek honey, had, at some stage, read a book (article?) that indicated the Maori had resorted on occasion to cannibalism, and was concerned the practice continued. I did, to be fair, try hard to alleviate her fears in this regard. Add that to conversations in a shop we had stopped at to buy some gifts that went something like this: ‘Yes, the stone in that necklace clearly aligns with your aura…` ‘I know, I know, and the crystal has such healing properties that I simply must …’ Aargh – bit my tongue, remained silent, apart from a bit of a laugh when Niki looked at me, waiting, perhaps, for an outburst. Nafplio is clearly not an international centre of cultural knowledge?
Which brings me to the Anschluss bit of the post. Picture, for a moment, the campsite. Limited waterfront parking for 4 campervans willing to cough up the extra €5 per night for the privilege. One row back, German campers. To the left, German campers. In we come with our little neutral Swiss van and park in our (paid for) allocated spot – which, unfortunately, cuts off the rear Germans from their seaside view. Sorry. We’d just put our our mat, chairs and table when, with a ‘humpff’, our rear neighbours packed up their tables and chairs and proceeded to relocate to our front, cutting our poor Swiss van (neutral, surrounded, and now land-locked) from a resource fairly paid for. Consequently, I end up reflecting on poor Austria and its neighbourly Anschluss in 1938 …
So, hoping for good weather tomorrow so we can snorkel over the drowned town of Epidavros (multiple spellings!!), if I can persuade Niki that summer is, indeed, here!