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Entries about nafplio

Last Day in Nafplio

By Hannah

overcast 14 °C
View Koning/Zemliak Family Europe 2012/2013 on KZFamily's travel map.

Tiryns

Tiryns

We went to visit the archaeological site of Tiryns today. Abby decided that she'd had her fill of ruins yesterday, and elected to relax at home instead. Getting there became more difficult than we expected, as our GPS seemed intent on taking us down every back road and alleyway it could find. Eventually, we made it to Tiryns, and explored the site. It was bigger and more impressive than the ruins of the hospital we'd seen yesterday, and we were allowed to go walking through them rather than just looking at them. There was a small construction team working on the ruins, and they had placed markers all over the rocks. Still, it didn't mar our enjoyment. We meandered all over the site, and discovered the many nooks and crannies of the place. It was kind of fun to imagine what sorts of goings on we might've encountered when Tiryns was more than ruins.

Afterwards, we went to see a little monastery not too far away. Unfortunately, it was very secluded and all fenced off, so we had to watch from afar. We saw a nun tending to a fire, and a whole bunch of chickens strutting about. We climbed the hillside and reached a tiny church nestled in a grove of olive trees. The view went on forever, and was impressive even with the perpetual haze. As peaceful as the place was, however, I don't think I'll be joining a convent anytime soon.

We returned home to retrieve Abby for lunch. I suggested going to a different place, but was outvoted three to one. Not that the gyros haven't been good, but I thought it might be nice to have a little more variety. My mindset is clearly not the same as my family's in that respect, who prefer the "tried and true" approach. After our meal, we went for a stroll on the breakwater. Though not quite as nice as our own breakwater (you end up hopping from rock to rock as you progress, and the sheer buildup of trash is a little off-putting), it was still a pleasant walk. Abby and Dad talked about who knows what, while I was taught the basics of matrix algebra by my mathematically-inclined mother. Not your average lazy afternoon conversation, but I'm pretty sure the fact that we're on this trip exempts our family from being described as "average".

Nafplio breakwater

Nafplio breakwater

Back home, we were given a wonderful surprise. We had planned to do laundry here in Nafplio, and thought that we'd probably have to go searching for a laundromat. Correction: my long-suffering parents would go searching for one. But as luck would have it, Mom and Dad discovered that our laundry could be done on site... for free! And we wouldn't even have to be the ones to do it. (We don't know who received the unfortunate task of washing up instead.) As unexciting as this may seem to you, laundry becomes a major issue when one is on the road. Not having to spend an evening waiting at a laundromat, hanging clothes over heaters, or stirring soapy socks in the sink is thrilling. And they smelled sooo good when we got them back, too.

We finally got some use out of one of the many panini makers we've come across during our trip. They've been more common than coffee makers, much to my father's annoyance. As it turns out, we've missed many opportunities to have very tasty and easy-to-prepare meals. We made the most of it while we had it, though, despite the fact that the bread wasn't the right kind (according to Abby) and the panini maker's perilous tendency to close whilst our hands were still inside it. Shortly afterwards, it was time to wrap the evening up, because travel days tend to mean early-bird days.

Athens awaits!

Posted by KZFamily 09:24 Archived in Greece Tagged greece nafplio tiryns Comments (1)

Soaking up the Sun in Napflio

by Ben

sunny 20 °C
View Koning/Zemliak Family Europe 2012/2013 on KZFamily's travel map.

Napflio: Walkway

Napflio: Walkway

We are enjoying the warm embrace of Nafplio. Even though the locals are sporting down parkas, wool jackets and sweaters we are in shirt sleeves and contemplating putting on shorts. We walked the waterfront of Nafplio this morning. Old Nafplio is on a small peninsula that is occupied on one side by a substantial hill topped with a fortress. Running along the edge of the peninsula is a wonderful walkway along the rocky seashore. It looks to be a favourite Sunday morning walking promenade for the locals with many are wearing their Sunday best perhaps having attended church prior to going for their stroll. Many of these same people later made their way into the old town for a meal and then stopped with their kids at the playground.

There is a fairly strong breeze today which brought with it some substantial wave action along the walkway. When we neared the public beach, which consists mostly of rocky shoreline and a small section of gravel beach bordered by cement sidewalks and cabanas, we were surprised to see several swimmers bobbing in the waves. They all seemed to be local seniors which lent credence to our hopes that the sea was still quite warm this time of year. We made plans to come back in a couple of hours and try out the water ourselves.

We have noticed that the Greeks love their dogs. Many are walking them in our neighbourhood and we see many others in backyards. All over the town there are strays as well. Most of these seem to be loved as well. In fact we saw one very professional-looking poster mourning the passing of one these vagabond citizens. Unfortunately the circumstances of this dog's passing are considered supicious. You can check out the poster in our photo gallery. In addition to this startling poster we came across a large display of pictures and notices that appeared to be about the economic crisis. The pictures show the Greek Prime Minister in Nazi garb along with the German Chancellor and other Eurozone leaders who support economic restraint. It was pretty unsettling stuff. The Nazi theme pops up elsewhere in stencilled grafitti that appears throughout the town showing one cartoon character trying to stamp out Nazism and another stencil showing Hitler in the form of a rat.

After our walk we felt we couldn’t improve on the meal success of yesterday and returned to the same giros eatery that we frequented the day before. We were not disappointed. It is wonderful to have great food at a good price. We fed the whole family for 14 Euros.

Hannah had spied an Italian-run gelateria the day before that had a very high rating on Trip Advisor (a website we often use) so we did some legwork after lunchand located our dessert for the day. The owners are a boisterous duo who made quite a production out of welcoming people into their store and getting customers matched with just the right dessert. Such people make you curious about their life stories and bring admiration regarding their linguistic abilities. What motivated two Italians from Rome to move to Greece to start a business that also required them to learn to speak and read Greek as well as English? There are fascinating immigration stories just waiting to be told wherever you go in the world.

On the way home to our apartment, we stopped by one of the few corner stores open on a Sunday. We needed to buy some bottled water. Yesterday our limited understanding of Greek failed us and we inadvertently bought carbonated water and can’t handle making do with the remainder until Monday. Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to just buy a single one-liter bottle in grocery stores so had to settle for the six liter minimum (drink up everyone!).

Napflio: Walkway

Napflio: Walkway

Abby, who is feeling much better today, opted to stay at the apartment while the rest of us donned swimsuits and headed back to the beach. Alas, we had left our outing too long and wind and wave action had increased substantially. Several people were still sunning themselves on the shore but no one was daring to venture in. If the weather holds we will try again tomorrow. Our consolation was being able to watch the waves for a while and then return our apartment and sit on our two balconies and soak up some rays while reading.

A nice dinner of fish, warm pita and tzatziki, and Greek Salad made from ingredients we had bought at the Saturday vegetable market was a great way to end the day. A nice little touch to the meal was a complimentary bottle of wine from our hosts who deposited in our apartment while we were out walking this morning. It turns out Greece is just the right way to continue the travelling high we experienced from visiting Malta.

Posted by KZFamily 10:01 Archived in Greece Tagged greece nafplio Comments (2)

Going to Greekland

BY ABBY--With an Extra Note by Ben

sunny 17 °C
View Koning/Zemliak Family Europe 2012/2013 on KZFamily's travel map.

Nafplio: Saint Anastasius Procession

Nafplio: Saint Anastasius Procession

This morning our alarm went off at 2:30... unfortunately it was 2:30 AM. But we survived and by 3 we were driving out of our parking spot and were on our way to the airport. We returned our car and keys with minimal inconveniences and before we knew it we were sitting in our cushy airplane chairs. I like airplanes so the flight was fine for me, and we were even served breakfast which consisted of watery orange juice, fabulous chocolate muffins (Hannah insists that they were actually cupcakes), terrible ham, olive and lettuce sandwiches on horrid white bread and a tiny cup of weak coffee (for my dad). But I was able to trade my sandwich to my father for his muffin (it was NOT a cupcake!!!) and my mom even gave me half of hers as well. The rest of the flight was good and I spent most of it on my iPod, which I had just charged for the first time on trip.

At the end of our 1 1/2 hour flight we rented our new car, Hermes (click for the origin of the name) and were on the road to our destination. We had planned to stop along the way at Corinth, but as Hannah and I had passed out from exhaustion the minute we got into the car, my parents knew that we probably wouldn't enjoy it. Plus, they were pretty tired themselves. When I woke up I was quite pleased at their arrangement, but unfortunately there was no one to let us into our apartment, so we decided to go to the nearest grocery store and pick up some food. However both of the grocery stores were closed, even though the hours stated that they were supposed to be open. But soon we found out from a local that there was a ceremony going on in the centre of town.

Nafplio: Saint Anastasius Procession

Nafplio: Saint Anastasius Procession

We drove closer to downtown and found a parking spot. It wasn't very hard to find the procession as we just followed the ringing church bells and the sound of a band. Soon we were able to catch up to the beginning of the long line up. There was a small marching band, about twenty priests all decked out in their finest and a very, very long line of locals behind them. There were a couple news reporters with cameras taping the procession. The band would play, the bells would ring and priests would sing all at the same time. The ceremony ended at a church and the priests went inside to change into their usual outfit... long black robes.

Nafplio: Greek Orthodox Priest

Nafplio: Greek Orthodox Priest

After this we walked back to our car and drove to our apartments. We were able to go inside and we unpacked a little before we went to a nearby restaurant for lunch. Hannah and my dad had slouvaki while my mom and I had roasted chicken. We also shared some Greek salad and bread. After we relaxed at home for a while and my dad took a nap. But soon we realized that we needed food for supper and my parents went out to find a small store that was open, despite the holiday, and purchased some vegetables and a pizza. After dinner we played a game of Dutch Blitz (my mom lost terribly again... Hannah won, but I was SECOND!) and unsuccessfully tried to watch a Downton Abbey. But it was getting late and so we all got ready for bed and curled up with some books. But before we knew it we had all drifted off into dreamland and we happily thinking of what our next day in Greece might bring.

Extra Note
by Ben

It turned out to be a municipal holiday in Nafplio. It was a the Saint Day for Anastasius the patron saint of Nafplio. There was only a trickle of traffic on the streets when we arrived. As Abby stated above, it was not hard to locate the celebration with all the ringing of the church bells and then the sound of a marching band along with the singing of cantors. The army, or army reserve, was also a big part of the procession as they carried the icon of Anastasius. The procession seemed to go from church to church and stopped every once in a while for some sort of recitation and then some singing. I have uploaded a brief video clip to Youtube so you can get an idea.

I am quite thankful that the kids were too tired to visit Ancient Corinth. If I had not driven straight through to Nafplio we would have missed this event altogether. Our timing for seeing this event could not have been any better. This the real slice of life you travel to see. It seems these traditions in Greece are still alive and well.

Posted by KZFamily 13:00 Archived in Greece Tagged greece nafplio Comments (6)

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