Friday- We spent most of the day driving down the mountain from Delphi to Nafplion. We stopped many times along the way to see various ruins in and around Mycenae.
We’d just be driving through what seemed to be a bunch of olive farms and abandoned houses (evidence of the recent economic meltdown) until, out of nowhere, monstrous white columns would rise high into the air, breaking the seemingly internally flat skyline of the valley. It honestly wasn’t until we arrived in Nafplion around 4pm was there any real geography of any sort to look at.
Nafplion absolutely took my breathe away. It’s this quant little resort town next to a harbor and surrounded by not 1, not 2, but 4 fortresses nestled into the nearby mountains and cliffs. We entered from above and were greeted by two brothers who owned the hotel where we stayed.
We immediately changed into our swimsuits, climbed down the many stairs to the shops to find bottles of wine and take-away sandwiches, and went to the water on the other side of the peninsula. It was 5:30 and the Aegean was still really warm and perfectly clear. We swam for a long time while the sun was setting just behind the mountains that lined the water.
When it got sufficiently dark, we ventured back up the hill to go back down the stairs and got gelato. Chocolate hazelnut and tiramisu flavored goodness to end our last night in Greece.
Saturday- Five of us woke up early to watch the sunrise from one of the old fortresses above the hotel. All of the building’s night lights turned off at the same time in preparation for the sunrise. For just a few seconds before the sun peaked over the mountains, it returned to near darkness, and it was almost totally quiet…
After, we all went back down to the water and stuck our feet in. It was even warmer this morning.
By the time we were ready to go, breakfast was served at the hotel on the top floor patio. We got coffee and Greek yogurt and just sat and enjoyed the view until we left for our next excursion.
We left Nafplion around 10:30 and drove to the brothers’ orange farm just on the other side of the harbor. They have a beautiful stone villa surrounded by oranges, lemons, and pomegranates, with 4 other farms close by that produce wheat and olives, among other things. The economic meltdown clearly didn’t affect this band of brothers, they are doing more than well.
We walked the farm and picked fruit with one of the brothers to take in and use to make orange cookies and Greek pancakes. His wife made the dough in a huge bowl and we all helped in shaping small cookies.
While the cookies were in the oven, she heated a thick layer of olive oil on the stove and poured into it small amounts of batter to be fried. We topped the “pancakes” with cinnamon, honey, and ricotta cheese, and the orange cookies with lemon jest, and I felt like I was living an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations. We all walked away with our pockets stuffed with oranges and pomegranates to take home to Copenhagen.
We left the orange farm and drove a little over an hour to the ancient city of Corinth, where, supposedly, Paul first preached to the people of Christianity. It would have been a really interesting stop, but having to follow a visit to a family orange farm sealed its fate before we even got off the bus. After walking around for a bit, we were happy to drive back to the coast for an early dinner before getting on the plane. Our dinner spot in Corinth led right out to the water and opened up to yet another picturesque scene. We enjoyed our last Greek salad and red wine together and I finally got my calamari fix.
DIS planned an absolutely incredible trip to Athens, Sounio, Delphi, Nafplion, Mycenae, and Corinth. I will remember this week for the rest of my life and I really can’t thank DIS enough. I’ve wanted to come to Greece since listening to Mamma Mia, watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and reading the Wishbone books (someone please tell me I’m not the only nerd-child who read these books!). Few places have influenced my studies until this point as much as Greece and it’s history and seeing the sites for myself really was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Also, this week marked my halfway point with DIS. It’s hard to believe just how fast it’s all going by.