A Travellerspoint blog

Greece

Redemption II

A lot of driving, an old capitol, a bit of sun and swimming, and an amazing meal!

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We leave Athens and drive several hours to the town of Nafplion, the original Greek capital. It’s a stunning little town right on the sea. Of course, this is Greece, so the rental car was several hours late, but we make up for it by sitting in hot Athens traffic for an hour ourselves . . . .. Once free, we make good time, and arrive in early afternoon.

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Nafplion is a gorgeous little town, with a citadel overlooking it on the hill above, as well as a small fortified island just off the port. We find some lunch, meander through the town and end up on a small swimming area with nice tented loungers. The kind you’d expect to see in any Mediterranean coastal city, teeming with tourists and being charged a minimum purchase of a bottle of Dom to sit there. Only here,there are 3 or 4 other people around, and about 18 of the loungers! We take advantage of the good fortune, lounge for an hour or two, and fit in a small swim (even though a local warns us of the dangers of small biting creatures that lurk in the waters – which apparently turn out to be vicious, blood-thirsty . . . little crabs. No big deal!)

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We leave Nafplion and decide to have dinner in a small town along the coast on our way back to Athens. We arrive in another little gem on the sea called Pal Epidavros (I have it on good authority – D’ell- that ‘Pal” means ‘Old” as opposed to ‘good buddy’). This little town is another winner with a coastline that faces east.

Our wanderings here lead us past a restaurant along the main road where a lamb – an entire lamb! – is being roasted on a spit over coals. I insist we make our way back to it after having driven passed earlier. We make it there, but on our way back to the port area, we decide to pass down a small alley. We follow a guy carrying a whole butchered lamb down the alley, and happen upon a wonderful small al fresco restaurant. The place can seat probably 150 people, and at 8PM . . . it is dead! Having just seen a tour ship pull in with 10 buses waiting, I figure it’s going to be a tourist spot. But when we ask one of the waiters (obviously one of the sons of the owners with a T-shirt that reads: “Chess sucks, lets #@*!”) he tells us they open (OPEN) at 9:30PM for dinner. We make the best decision we’ve made in days and opt to find a small café, get a glass of wine and return.

Our return to the restaurant at 9:30 finds us once again, alone! We sit, check the menu (like most, very simple but here the prices are nice – as in very low!), and order up some Tzatziki (garlic, yoghurt, cucumber and phenomenal) , some bread, a Greek salad, French fries (for Jacquie!), and then the meat. Of course we order the roast lamb (as cooked below), but we also order a couple other meat items that, well, we have no idea what they are. Let’s just say that those dishes are every other thing OTHER than the meat you’d expect off a lamb, yet turn out to be absolutely delicious. Just like the roast lamb! And as our dished started to roll out to the table, every local in town seemed to appear for dinner around 10PM. Young, old, man, woman – you name it. And not ONE tourist (other than us!). Fantastic! Awesome food, great atmosphere, wonderful company and . . . 54 Euro later we were sated, happy and feeling very positive that Greece had been redeemed. Thank you Pal Epidavros!

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Posted by lloydthyen 22:12 Archived in Greece Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Redemption I . . .

. . . get outta Athens!

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So we realize now that we have been a bit (but only just a bit) harsh on Greece, Greeks and Greekishness. To be fair, our limited initial impressions were formed by: 1) Taxi drivers; 2) Cheap Hotel Staff; and 3)Lack of Sleep! Athens, is, well, Athens – dirty, disorderly and dilapidated (with the emphasis on “dated”!).

With its redemptive qualities close at hand, we learn that we need to look for the positive qualities and be, perhaps, a bit more open. And, as we were advised (thanks Jaime!) Athens is basically about the Acropolis, the Plaka, and that’s about it. We add Lycobettus to our list, and further advise: get the heck out of town as soon as possible!

Redemption started on Friday the 13th oddly enough. D’ell, Emma, Jacquie and I spent a leisurely start to the day: Emma and D’ell by the St George (St G) pool, while Jacquie and I headed to the top of Lycobettus. Definitely a must-do for the view. We were able to look down on the entire city, as well as spot Emma and D’ell in the rooftop pool!

We all headed out in the late afternoon for the Acropolis, attempting to avoid the severest heat of the day, and failing. In any event, the breeze kept us cool even as our skin crisped . . .

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Lloyd, D'ell and Emma enjoying a detour (can you say 'lost'?) on our way out of the Acropolis complex.

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We walked into the Plaka to look for a restaurant to eat. Instead of the typical methodology employed by those of us of the male persuasion (called: “wingit-and-hope-for-the-best”) Jacquie had me look up a few places prior to our departure, and we found the best rated ($$$) on my list: Daphne’s. No view to speak of, but a beautiful fresh setting. The food was exceptional, and our introduction to Rapsani (a Greek red wine) the evening before, eased our choice of libations. And then it happened . . . the wait staff were nice. After a wonderful meal, we retreated to the St G with hopes for the following day, a drive to the coast south and west of Athens beyond Korinthos, to Nafplion in our plans.

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Posted by lloydthyen 23:08 Archived in Greece Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Acropolis

Around Athens and the sights to see

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We spent Friday the 13th touring around a few of the sights in Athens, most notably the Acropolis with Emma and D'ell. We're gathering our thoughts to develop a more fully rounded write-up on our experiences here, so we'll save up for a longer blog later.

For now, enjoy the picture of the four of us on the Acropolis and stay tuned! We'd love any comments you may have - so let us hear from you!

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Posted by lloydthyen 11:17 Archived in Greece Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

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