On the occasion of Aris and Ada visitation from Crete and their wish for a small excursion to Peloponnese, we “sallied” for the weekend. Even though the weather broadcast was not optimist, our plan did not postpone.
The Cretans left from Athens on Thursday heading for Nafplio, where they were going to meet Giorgos Z. My suggestion was to take the old Corinth-Argos national road. Early at noon they met Giorgos Z. and all together had the chance to wonder around the scenic town of Nafplio.
Aris was really descriptive when he wrote this:
“The weather was not so bad and the capital of Athens was suffocating. Nafplio was indeed a very good idea. I’ve been there before but this time I discovered whatever I missed before.
For most of the people a short visit to Nafplio means coffee, walking around the old town, eating at a traditional tavern and back to noisy Athens. A longer stay and the will to discover more, rewards everybody.
Neptune’s son, Nafplios, build and gave his name to this place. That was the first link of the chain of the history of Nafplio, which is undoubtedly longer than the 850 steps that lead you to the top of Palamidi Castle.
It is an austere town that respects the visitor and you have a lot to earn if you show the same respect. The history of Nafplio is not unconsidered, since it was the first capital of Greece. The benchmark of the town, Bourtzi, a small castle built on the tiny island named St. Theodori and the Palamidi Castle are famous enough… take the chance to “see” and not just wonder around. While walking around the town’s graphic alleys, you feel like walking in history. Having your coffee at the port with the spectacular view of Bourtzi in front, is something you will not avoid. Everything is so relaxing and calm and if you continue further, following the path around the port, a beautiful promenade will really reward your senses.
Climbing up to Palamidi, you have the opportunity to watch the whole town lay before you. A typical bourgeois will see with half an eye, that the town is humane... At the end of this long walking around, you will feel hungry enough and the variety of the taverns will satisfy the most demanding visitor. Don’t forget to taste the local dish “tyropitari”… simply delicious!!!
If, by any chance, you meet a local friend (like Giorgos Z.) you must first go to the pharmacy and get some peals for digestion… you will need them, believe me!!
One thing is for sure. Nafplio is so relaxing and hospitable that you will soon feel the need to visit again…”!
On Friday afternoon, Ploumisti and I were on the road to Nafplio, in order to meet with the rest and spend the night there. For the first 100-110 km, we used the monotonous new national road. About 50 meters before the Nemea tolls, we turned right following the sign for “Spathovouni”. The road goes under the national road and passing in front of a gas station, you continue for Nafplio. Until you reach the old national way Corinth-Argos, the road is narrow and not in good condition. There is no maintenance the last 20 years, because of the construction of Artemision Tunnel and the new national road. The truth is that a lot of people are using again this route to Argos or Nafplio, and the reason is the expensive tolls fee (especially the one in Nemea).
After about 5 km you get in the old national road (just after “Hiliomodi”). We turned right and continue for the last 30-40 km to Nafplio. Most of the way you drive through olive groves, passing 2-3 small villages, one of which is “Dervenakia”. The statue of Kolokotronis can be seen from a distance. You need just a couple of kilometres to get there.
Around 9.00 pm we reached Nafplio and continue for the village “Neo Roeino” to meet our friends. Giorgos Z. had already prepared the fireplace and the 6 kilos of meaty chops to broil! I leave the rest to your imagination… we finally fall asleep around 4.00 o’clock in the morning!
The next day…
The reveille was set for 9.00 am. We gathered together for a quick coffee on the way to “Myloi” enjoying the view of Palamidi and Bourtzi.
We decided to visit “Ano Doliana”, our friends from Crete never been there before. We followed the route of “Kolosourtis”, a 30-40 km tortuous road, with a perfect view of the Argos gulf. Every time I use this route I get impressed by the view and the romance of the tumbledown taverns, that some years ago were full of people. We stopped at the old tavern “Polyvoleio” where you can still separate the kitchen and the dining room. I have the feeling that I can still hear the travelers talking…
Next to Ahladokampos crossway, there is a small church just beneath a monastery. We made a quick stop to enjoy the view and take some photos. No traffic at all…
Later we reached the village “Steno”. We turned left on a small bridge; we passed “Lithovouni” and ended up to the village “Stadio”. There is a crossroad between Tripoli and Astros. We turned left again and a few kilometers later we took the right sided road that goes to “Ano Doliana”.
There are two ways to reach the village Ano Doliana. The one you meet on the first crossroad, which is the most known and the shortest (4 km). And the second, the hilly one, that goes up to 1.100 meters altitude crossing through wild trees and chestnuts. Just before you reach the village you will find a small waterfall named “Ag. Ioanni rema” (St. John’s streamlet). The area is perfect for hiking and mountain bike.
Of course it is not possible to go to Ano Doliana and not visit our friends Giorgos and Vicky at their cozy café, “Oneirologio”. Once more we enjoyed our coffee, the home-made sweets and “rakomelo” (boiled raki with honey), viewing the roots of mountain Parnonas.
The time was passing pleasantly but we had to get started for Messinia. Our destination was the place called “Gouves” near the village Avramio, where we were going to spend the night. Unfortunately the weather was getting worst and we changed our first plan to visit Agia Theodora, a small church close to village “Isaris” at Megalopolis.
Some time around afternoon we reached Gouves. We bought some supplies; prepare the fireplace and our dinner. The time was passing by, next to the fireplace, drinking wine and telling stories of our trips.