Friday, November 27, 2015


I left Nafplio this morning to head back to Athens, skipping Mycenae despite wanting to see it because it would require a bus to Mycenae, a mile walk to the site, a bus back to Nafplio, and another bus to Athens. I’m exhausted, and there are so many other sites I’d like to see that I’ll just catch it on the next trip. There has to be a next trip. Has to be. Probably two more, because I still want to do so much on the Peloponnese, and Delphi, and Thessaloniki, and the Greek islands, not only the Cyclades but the Ionians. And Hydra. And everywhere. Walking those 999 steps (or whatever the real total is – it varies depending on who you ask, and then there are more steps inside, so yeah, it’s a lot) the other day has completely wiped me out. Anyway, the Mycenaean ruins have been there 3500 years; they’ll be there when I come back.

Of course, as soon as I checked into my hotel back in Athens the skies opened. I can’t complain since all week has been sunny and 70 degrees, but with only two more hours of daylight I won’t be seeing anything today, making it sort of a wasted day. When you only have eight days, one wasted day is huge. I did enjoy the bus trip back with the scenery of the mountains and the orange groves and the sea, and I even saw the Corinth canal, which was rather impressive. I wonder how much dynamite they used to disconnect the Peloponnese from mainland Greece to build the canal. That’s a LOT of rock. I ended up wandering around after waiting an hour for the rains to stop, just looking at how people live. But it was siesta, so everything was closed up while they took their naps, like in every European Mediterranean country.

I enjoyed my time in Nafplio – it is a good base to take in the archaeological sites around the Peloponnese, at least in the eastern part. However, were I to do it again, I would have rented a car. Although there are buses, the winter schedules are limited and I didn’t get to do as much as I had wanted.

The woman at the hotel couldn’t believe I had climbed those steps. There is another entrance to drive up. I knew this, but I wanted to say I had done the steps.  Am. So. Tired. Still. I did this on Wednesday. In the morning. I slept eight hours both nights since then and I fell asleep on the bus back to Athens this afternoon. Yeah, I’m out of shape. But that trek was not for the faint of heart.

The fortress is quite a contrast to the Acropolis of Athens, having been constructed by the Venetians in the early 18th century. So like, brand new, amirite? The Venetians rose to power as the Byzantine Empire fell, amassing impressive naval power. But, as all empires do, they got greedy, fought too many wars, bankrupted their government, and fell to the more powerful Ottomans (who were in the process of doing the same thing, pillaging, killing, being all dictatorial and murderous and warmongering, and eventually choosing the losing side in World War I to meet their doom.)

The Ottomans took over the fortress for a time, but they lost it to the Greeks during a sneak attack in one of the battles in the Greek war for independence. I want to say it was 1822. The revolution lasted about a decade. The hatred for the Turks still lingers, but a lot of that has to do with the war in Cyprus in the seventies.

I am posting photos of my ascent in the order I took them. I am out of breath looking at them. They are many, as taking photos was an excuse for stopping on the way up. The fortress will follow later.

archer hole. i'm sure there's a more technical term for it.

Made it.

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