After enjoying the sights and sounds of Athens, Dave, Deb, Sharon and I rented a car and headed to the coastal town of Nafplio on The Peloponnese peninsula. Nafplio is a touristy, yet charming town of narrow shop-lined streets on the Argolic Gulf. The town is dominated by several fortresses, the most impressive being the Palamadi Fortress, built by the Venetians in the 18th century.
This is a massive fortress that offers spectacular views of Nafplio, its harbor and the surrounding countryside. We enjoyed a morning hike up the 800+ stairs from the town to the first level of the fortress, and after touring the extensive ramparts, took a taxi to harborside drinks overlooking the Venetian castle in the harbor.
We were in Nafplio during the Easter weekend. After a great meal we stumbled upon an Eastern Orthodox church service Easter Eve at 11 p.m. We listened to an hour of two priests chanting back and forth, then marched out of the church with the parishioners and tourists. This procession was followed by the longer 3 hour Easter church service. (We did not stay for that.)
On our way to Nafplio we were enthralled with our visit to Mycenae, the ancient home of Agamemnon, made famous by Homer in The Iliad and The Odyssey. While not much of the town remains, the ruins as well as the museum were fascinating as they put us back to 1500 B.C.
This was a wonderful time of year to visit the Greek countryside. Flowers were in bloom everywhere. Tourist season had not yet begun in earnest so crowds were small. While it was not yet beach weather and was even a bit cool at times we enjoyed pleasant breezes and warming sunshine most days.
Leg two of this trip was just as good as leg on. Next up, the island of Santorini.