Natalie, Catie, and Collins survey the bastion at Palamides Fortress, Nafplio.
28 June 2009
Oh nooooo-another no wireless day. Oi. It certainly isn’t the dependable thing we are accustomed to in the US. So, I’m writing, but not blogging. Hope you liked the visual learner approach to blogging from yesterday. After some interesting negotiations with Homeric, we headed for Tolo and our evening cruise on Alkynois to Hydra and the celebration of the first strike in the Greek war of independence from the Turks. We sailed at 5 p.m. via Spetses to Hydra, arriving about 8:30. It is an island of about 1200 inhabitants—most of whom live in Hydra port. There are no vehicles (except garbage trucks) and no water except what is brought in periodically on tankers. In the harbor was a huge mock pirate ship—all black with a Turkish flag. The area around the harbor was set up with tables, a stage, a sound system, and throngs of people. We strolled up the hill in search of David’s silver shop. It had closed, but many other shops had taken its place. Around nine (we are very sophisticated, yes?) we chose a restaurant in an open square half way up the hill and were seated at a long table with a canvas awning overhead and abundant bougainvillea. David C., Mickie, Catie, Ian, Amanda, Carol, Lisa, and Kathryn were in our party; our dishes included stuffed eggplant, meatballs in red sauce, spanakopita, salads with unbelievably red, ripe, delicious tomatoes and cucumbers—umm green cucumbers, of course. Do you have any ripe tomatoes yet in Virginia; we’re not coming home until they are ripe J–and other swell stuff. The band of Greek rebels (I suspect the Turks would call them terrorists) came by as we were eating and received a rousing cheer. They were dressed as pirates—which seems to be a theme for this trip. Around 10, we began to hear the narrative for the celebration and rambled down the hill to the harbor. The celebration was a combination of music (Vangelis, Carl Orff, and new age synthesized bass heavy stuff), proud and sonorous words—eleuteheria e thanatos (Freedom or death!!!!) smoke, percussion, and fantastic fireworks unlike anything I have ever seen at Dogwood Dell. Check the pictures. More than a few of us were moved nearly to tears by the pride and seriousness of the evening. At 11:30 when we boarded the boat for home, we were all certain that the discomfort of the nearly four hour trip home was well compensated. Some of us found a space to sleep on the upper deck of the ship and almost all slept on the bus.
Today was leisurely and swell. After breakfast we bussed down to Nafplio for a look at the Norman/Venetian (and probably Mycenaean) fortress above the town, some brief commentary on the more recent history of Greece and its rocky start with Nafplio as its capital, then a leisurely lunch, some shopping, some gelato and then home to the beach, dinner in Paralio Astros and this failed attempt at blogging. Wendy—we saw Judy today and had our dinner with Apostoles. He has GREY hair and a grandchild! OK. One more whack at this unwired wireless before I call it quits.
Success at Nafplio. Wireless rules. We have concluded our adventures for the day. The 20-somethings are at the beach at Nafplio. For those who have been to Palamides fortress, it is the lovely crescent shaped beach that is visible from the lover’s leap. The other-somethings are shopping and eating ice cream. The indomitable Corona and I are sitting in a harbor side cafe–al fresco, of course–using unsecured wi-fi. I am having an iced green tea!! Everything has made it to Gereece!!
Let’s see–where did I leave off in my last attempted post. . . hmm, I’ll guess since I only have 25 minutes. Yesterday, we had ourMycenaean day. First Tiryns. In the mere space of two years, a site that was essentially in the middle of a cornfield now has a gift shop and prisitne rest room facilities. Above, much of the lower bastion is being excavated. This fortress–which can be seen from the Palamides fortress– was probably the outpost for Mycenae. Signal fires no doubt could have been set and seen from that distance. This time–no spirit of Eurystheus or Herakles appeared to me in the lower gallery. . . this time. We had words of wisdom from Mickie and Kathryn about the origins and adventures of Perseus, founding king at Tiryns and ancestor of Herakles–who reported back to the ever cautious Eurytheus after each successful “labor.” At the next stop, Nemea, I told the story of the Nemean lion and we checked the progress restoring the temple of Zeus. Also, this site of the Nemean games has a fascinating “bath” complex for the athletes and a very well preserved stadium. Pictures will follow tonight–assuming successful wi-fi-ness. As always, the big friendly giant won the foot race. We stopped at midday at Mycenae town for lunch–fantastic food!!!! The Davids, Jordan, Natalie, BFG, Katie Brown, Collins, Ginny, Kathryn, and Pam hoofed it up the hill to a great lunch. For Natalie, the highlight was the tzatziki. Katie regaled us with a version of “Hot-cross buns” on the drink bottles and then on to Mycenae. We passes through the Lion Gate without incident, wondered at grave circle A with its treasure trove of golden masks (on the 6 men only ???), weapons, signet rings, and votive objects. What a mighty and wealthy kingdom to have simply vanished in a puff of smoke. From there we hiked up–on the PAVED walk__to the megaron and out to the westernmost lookout. The sacred spring has at least a warning barrier. Some with flashlights and good knees went to the spring while others went only as far as the light of day allowed. On site, Catie introduced the Mycenaeans and their history–as well as the general plan of the site. David Corona did an elaborate debunking of the idea that Clytemnaestra was a heroine. Hummmph!! In the evening, we did an abbreviated version of Aeschylus’ Agamemnon. What a cast. . . then a group og fifteen bucked up the business at Apostoles’ cafe. Today Epidauros and the shrine of Aesclepios. More pictures and words later. Now–The other David and the bus is waiting !!! Kalimera!!
Because it is late, I am going to dump some photos here. It’s 11:15 and I still have to pack. Yikes.