5.25.09 Mystras to Nafplion, Greece

Nafplion Travel Blog

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Top of the Mystras castle!

5.25.09 Mystras to Nafplion, Greece

 

We drove 2km from our Castle View Campground this morning to the Lower Entrance of that castle.  We found little parking.  We could have parked n a large lot across from a restaurant, which still required a walk in the hot sun.  So we drove all the way to the upper entrance, where we did manage to park in a line of about 5 motorhomes.  The road there was curvy and steep, and one-lane in places, making it a bit hair-raising when a bus approached.  The best maneuver is to follow on the bumper of a bus- everyone clears out for them.

 

Mystras is an impressive UNESCO site!  (Adults cost 5E)  It is an ancient village on the side of the mountain, including a castle at the tippy top, with an active monastery.

Mystras church
. It is far more important than the sublime village of Sparta (a few kilometers away) because Mystras was the center of the Byzantine world (and update:  Nafplion was the capital of Greece before it was moved to Athens.)

 

It was hot, hot, HOT by the time we hiked up from the Upper Entrance to the castle at the top of the mountain.  We wandered all around and met some Canadians and Englishfolks on our way down (we made sure they were packing water), who guilted us into exploring further upon out return to the upper entrance.  So we walked down into some of the other buildings that had ancient frescos on the walls and ceilings.  Apparently, the 13th century artisans from here moved en masse to Florence, Italy, starting the Renaissance movement.

 

Since it was a million degrees, flexibility was required.

Mystras UNESCO
  We drove back down the mountain in Sugar, not stopping at the lower entrance for the museum.  While I feel guilty about what we missed, to do it all would require years.  So we see what we can without the kids passing out from heat stroke and never wanting to visit ruins again.  It was a good overview from the top and we’re glad we got to see what we did.

 

We stopped for groceries at a supermarket and for 50E were able to get breakfast and lunch foods, some Greek hair conditioner that we love (but cannot decipher), and things like tzatziki, pitas, bread, Greek cheese, ham, cookies, etc.  I don’t think most Americans recognize how inexpensive food is in our grocery stores compared to the rest of the world.  Many other countries seem to spend far more on basic foods in their grocery stores than we Americans.

 

Everyone at this grocery store was really nice and our cashier practiced a little English with us.

Mystras view from the castle- look at Sugar down there, first in line
  Since we know just basic Greek, we really appreciated it. 

 

A funny store incident:  At the checkout line, a man obviously cut in front of us.  We just let it go, thinking he must be really impatient to be so obnoxious about it.  Then opportunity struck:  another line opened!  After moving our cart over first in the new line, I tapped him (he hadn’t noticed) and invited him to go ahead of us.  He eagerly took the opportunity and later made an effort, hard as it was for him, to attempt “Thanks.”  I just smiled back and said “Parakalo” (you’re welcome).  I’m hoping his impression of Americans improved more than if we’d seized our rightful line position in that small-town store.  Hilarious!

 

We drove lovely, mountain roads (maybe 80 miles?) through central Peloponnese, up to Tripoli, then on smaller roads east to Nafplion.

Mystras
  We were trying to follow the directions in the Church’s book along the bay to the campground, but road signs were missing and we ended up on the dead-end lovely port road.  This tourist heaven, while quaint, was not where I’d again drive an RV!  Only a few cars had to back up to let us through. 

 

Speaking of driving, we also had to wiggle through Sparti (Sparta), and 4 nice cars on one road moved over so we could make it through the long single lane.  Stressful, but we’re getting used to it.  No one gets upset about the one-lane road wiggling and everyone just does what they can.

 

Let’s talk about a new club that we’re forming here in Greece!  It’s called the OFCO for the “Overly Friendly Campground Owners” that are very nice men, who happen to be married men of my Dad’s age, who pester a married woman to have a drink with them, touch her arms and shoulders excessively, and generally require strong evasive action from their overly friendly behavior.

Mystras frescos
  We have two members of the club and have only stayed in a few campgrounds.  Ha!  We’re being funny, but it is a recurrent theme.

 

We are now in the “New Teton Campground” along the bay of Argolikos.  It’s a very nice, Church’s recommended campground, about 10’ from the beach.  It was 30E for the night.  (7E for the camper, 6E each adult, 3E for Lia, and 3E for electric -1E for being nice = 30E total). 

 

These Greek campgrounds are expensive!  It was 30E for last night’s campground with electric too, but I don’t remember the breakdown.  We’re supposed to have wi-fi here for free near the bar, so we’ll enjoy that.

Two lanes of traffic on one-lane roads
  The bathrooms are perfect and new.

 

Most of our fellow campers are neat and tidy with their camping room awnings attached.  Our nice neighbor from Germany showed us how a track is used to attach a “half’ or a “full” camping room to the side of the RV.  The awning rooms are fascinating and double the size of the RV!  I’d love to stick a kid or two in there with a cot for sleeping.  Our other neighbor has a refrigerator, stove/cooking area, chairs and table, a rug and flowers, etc!  I’d love to get permission for a picture if I can work up the nerve to ask. I have a feeling they are here for a season, which would be quite an enjoyable place to hang out.

 

We asked the Campground Owner about a restaurant and he said, “What time do you want to eat?  That’s when I’ll have it open for you.

Just follow the bus up this 2-directional road
  But decided we ought to eat our grocery food and save some money instead.

 

It storms off and on, which seems very unusual and must be blowing over.  It is beautifully sunny in the meantime.  The beach water here was a bit warmer than the chilling water at Kyparissia Sea.  We’re enjoying this interesting part of the Peloponnese on our way to Athens, probably tomorrow.

 

Did you know there can be 3 different spellings of Greek words (Ancient Greek, Modern Greek, and English)?  It can make things a bit confusing for the Navigator.

 

There’s a man driving along the beach with a bullhorn, yelling something out, but we cannot tell what he’s saying:  is it a warning or an advertisement?  Really, the cars with the huge bullhorns on top, that drive around advertising, as in Mexico really are approaching noise pollution.

Our grocery store
  But they certainly add life to the scene!

 

Many people smoke in Europe.  Shocking numbers of people smoke!  We’d bet that 75% of the adult population smoke.  Doesn’t this surprise you in this day and age, given what we know?  It makes the U.S. look almost healthy.

 

We would be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful country.  We went through gorgeous, huge mountains today that reminded us of National Parks in Utah.  The water is a gorgeous color; the profusion of flowers with their air-perfume is shocking, the sun brilliant, and the people kind and friendly.  Greece is a most delightful, delicious country!

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Top of the Mystras castle!
Top of the Mystras castle!
Mystras church
Mystras church
Mystras UNESCO
Mystras UNESCO
Mystras view from the castle- look…
Mystras view from the castle- loo…
Mystras
Mystras
Mystras frescos
Mystras frescos
Two lanes of traffic on one-lane r…
Two lanes of traffic on one-lane …
Just follow the bus up this 2-dire…
Just follow the bus up this 2-dir…
Our grocery store
Our grocery store
Just knocked a few castle rocks ou…
Just knocked a few castle rocks o…
Mystras church dome
Mystras church dome
Hike up to the castle Mystras
Hike up to the castle Mystras
Hike up to the castle Mystras
Hike up to the castle Mystras
Mystras castle history
Mystras castle history
View from Mystras castle
View from Mystras castle
Hike up to the castle Mystras
Hike up to the castle Mystras
Top of the world!  Mystras castle
Top of the world! Mystras castle
Top of the world!  Mystras castle
Top of the world! Mystras castle
Top of the world!  Mystras castle
Top of the world! Mystras castle
Top of the world!  Mystras castle
Top of the world! Mystras castle
Top of the world!  Mystras castle
Top of the world! Mystras castle
Frescos in Mystras Church
Frescos in Mystras Church
Flowers!
Flowers!
Lovely Greece
Lovely Greece
Lovely Greece
Lovely Greece
Lovely Greece
Lovely Greece
Lovely Greece
Lovely Greece
Lovely Greece
Lovely Greece
Lovely Greece
Lovely Greece
Lovely Greece
Lovely Greece
Lovely Greece
Lovely Greece
Lovely Greece
Lovely Greece
Look at our road!
Look at our road!
Lovely Greece
Lovely Greece
Lovely Greece near Nafplion
Lovely Greece near Nafplion
Castle at Nafplion
Castle at Nafplion
Campground near Nafplion
Campground near Nafplion
Beach near Nafplion Campground
Beach near Nafplion Campground
Beach near Nafplion Campground
Beach near Nafplion Campground
Camper with full awning room
Camper with full awning room
Camper with half awning room
Camper with half awning room
Roadside memorial
Roadside memorial
Top of the world!  Mystras castle
Top of the world! Mystras castle
Sugar in Castle View campground
Sugar in Castle View campground
What?  This guy just passed us??
What? This guy just passed us??
Driving through small towns- treac…
Driving through small towns- trea…
Buying Greek something (??)
Buying Greek something (??)
Nafplion
photo by: sylviandavid