Friday, August 24, 2007


Leaving Delphi we followed the winding road west along the coast of the Corinthian Gulf and crossed the Antirrio-Rio bridge to the Peloponnesus. Occasionally we would come around a sharp cliffside corner to see a rocky island rising from the blue sea. We drove east along the coast toward Corinth, and stopped at Xulokastro for lunch. We chose a restaurant with seating on the gulf, and it was the first place where English wasn't an option. The food was fantastic. The waiter brought bread and olive paste immediately, and we ordered mussels and shrimp and vegetables and a salad, with a carafe of white wine. After the break, we continued on to Nauplio, and walked through the Venetian section until we found a pension that wasn't booked; it took three tries.

We stayed in a cozy third floor room of a lovely pension. It would have been impossible to carry our luggage up the steep, narrow staircase, so we brought just a few necessary items with us. Ours was the only room on that floor, and it had a small rooftop balcony facing one of the castles on the hill; at night the castle was bright with lights. The complimentary breakfast consisted of a top-rate Greek yogurt, plenty of bread and pastries, cheese, coffee, and a jam made from fresh apricots.

Nauplio was recommended to me by the graduate director at the University of Buffalo as a great base from which to explore Mycenae and Tiryns and Epidaurius. It is a beautiful town. The area where we stayed was close to the harbor, and accessible only by the narrow walking streets between the old Venetian buildings, with restaurants and shops tucked away everywhere. Overlooking the harbor are two hilltop castles, and there is a third castle about 500m out into the water on a tiny island. The boardwalk extends from the Venetian quarter and wraps around the cliffside, below one of the castles, to a public pebble beach. That first night we sat and had drinks at the harbor, surrounded by water, and mountains in the distance, and watched the sun set slowly, until it disappeared around the same time as my third margarita. With the sun gone, the street performers came out, some juggling flaming sticks, and others playing music. We found a restaurant late at night and had a delicious dinner outside under the stars.


Blogger Wm said...

That castle is fantastic!

Now I want to live on a cliff.

7:25 AM  
Blogger Nicholas said...

I loved that castle. It was visible from all around town and so had a dominating presence. The woman who rented us a room claimed that there were exactly 999 steps to climb (notice the lower left in the photo) but we didn't have the time to find out. Nauplio would be a fun place to live for a while, and that would be a nice cliff to inhabit; there's also the fantastic cliff-side castle at Edinburgh...

12:18 PM  

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