Nafplio, Mycenae, and Epidauros - Greece then and now

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October 6th 2008
Published: October 29th 2008
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theatre at Epidavrostheatre at Epidavrostheatre at Epidavros

seats 12000. unamplified sound can reach to the top. That's Cyrena at the very center, she is singing!
The ruins at Mycenae represents the stuff Greek tragedies are made of. As one version of the legend has king Agamemnon returning from the Trojan war, only to be killed in his bathtub by his wife and her lover. She was angry because he may have had their daughter sacrificed. Hows that for drama. These ruins are older than the acropolis in Athens, the original walls were built around 1300bc. If you have read the "Illiad" or "Odyssey" from the Greek poet Homer (or poets- there are interesting theories about this oldest example of western literature) this is thought to be the site he wrote about. Ancient, mysterious, rubble, and we are fascinated!

We drove up to the remains of the citadel Mycenae, from Nafplio. This is a beautiful seaport city. We enjoyed a wine tasting and window shopping. There was a little ice cream place, gelateria actually, that we frequented a few times during our short stay here. The proprietors were extremely friendly, speaking Italian and serving creamy gelato, biscotti and limoncello. Venetian architecture and gelato? but we are in Greece! Even the Palamidi fortress was completed by the Ventetians 1714, but conquered the next year by the Ottomans. Our curious little hotel was right next to the castle, so no excuse to climb up the 900 or so stone steps with our buddies. From up there we had perfect views of the gulf and harbor. Hardly anyone was up there this day, and we wandered through the tunnels and ramparts.

We stayed in Nafplio during days ten and eleven of our vacation. And still had one more town to visit. On our way to the island of Hydra, we toured the sanctuary of Asklepios, the ancient "health spa" at Epidavros. The birth place of the son of Apollo. A place where the healing protocol would come to the patient in their dreams. The "healing center" had guest rooms for more than 100 patients, mineral springs, and surgeries may have been part of the treatment. I can't imagine having surgery back then, I guess every patient hoped they wouldn't see a vision of surgery. If you arrived terminaly ill, or very pregnant, you were not allowed inside. Treatment for these patients was done at a facility outside of the walls. The sanctuary's reputation that no one had ever died there, couldn't be compromised.

The theatre at
courtyard of our hotelcourtyard of our hotelcourtyard of our hotel

the castle in the background
Epidavros is almost intact after 2500 years! "the quality of its acoustics make the Epidaurus theatre one of the great architectural achievements of the fourth century" We were treated to the natural acoustic properties of the theatre, when a talented member of our group sang. She took her place on the center stone, and in the drizzle of rain, sang so sweetly that all the other tourists paused to hear her voice as it reached even the top of the theatre. Now this was one of those moments we will remember with our group. This place is still being used as a theatre, with festivals in the summmer.

I have to mention our hosts at the hotel. From what we understand they are brothers, and they go out of their way to make you feel welcomed. They insist on helping you with your luggage upon arriving and departing. The breakfast was delicious and plentiful. When Keith went up to the office to see if there was a beer, one of the brothers insisted on bringing it to us on a tray, with glasses! The hotel is built into a rock hill, which gives it different levels and spots for

stairs connecting the streets of old Nafplio
courtyards and views of the city.

And I have a revision of the first entry on Greece. Our night of dancing was actually held here in Nafplio, in the taverna of the Koutelias family, Pseiras. This family has a great little restaurant not too very far from the hotel, and they put on a fantastic evening for their customers. Complete with a traditional dance troupe, and bouzouki musicians. Keith says the music is "bluegrass Greek style", very happy, upbeat. The food! Starting with the horiatiki (greek salad, that I am craving now that we are back in the land of pierogis) tzatiki (the yogurt-garlic sauce that I am also craving) kolokithokeftedes (zucchini balls, but look at the greek spelling!) dolmades ( you know this one -stuffed leaves) horta (boiled greens) and the pork in wine sauce. Makes me hungry just writing this! (there is a Greek place here in Krakow that we have been going to, looks like tonite we will be there for supper!) The family cooks and serves, Mrs. Koutelias steps out of the kitchen every now and then to check on us. She shares recipes so that we can recreate our dining experience! I want to recreate Keith's dancing ability, so I am including the photo once more! Just in case you missed it in the first entry... come now, someone has to have a comment!...

Of course, this taverna wasn't the only one where we had a delicious meal! I still have to tell you about the ones in Hydra. Each country we have visited during our time here has left us with memories - of the people and landscapes, and especially the tastes particular to each. Maybe it is because we have recently tasted the greek food, but for now, it is our favorite!

Additional photos below
Photos: 26, Displayed: 25



folks were swimming here before work
water front of Nafpliowater front of Nafplio
water front of Nafplio

lined with bars and restaurants
Keith and David at the Palamidi fortressKeith and David at the Palamidi fortress
Keith and David at the Palamidi fortress

overlooking the Argolic Gulf
the Argolic Gulfthe Argolic Gulf
the Argolic Gulf

the little Bourtzi Castle in the harbor, breakfast room of our hotel Marianna in the foreground
Lion GateLion Gate
Lion Gate

entrance to the Citadel of Mycenae. There were many visitors, waited a long time for it to clear out for this shot.
the Treasury of Atreusthe Treasury of Atreus
the Treasury of Atreus

bee hive shaped tomb made without mortar. also named the Tomb of Agamemnon
inside the tomb inside the tomb
inside the tomb

-a photographers posture-

streets of old Nafplio

in the old town of Nafplio
Argolic GulfArgolic Gulf
Argolic Gulf

from the Palamidi fortress at Nafplio
last rays of the setting sun last rays of the setting sun
last rays of the setting sun

Bourtzi Castle in the Argolic Gulf
worry beadsworry beads
worry beads

these beads seemed to be a "man thing". They are flipped back and forth, while discussing solutions to the world's problems. Also a popular souvenir.
at the tavernaat the taverna
at the taverna

we all were dancing and enjoying ourselves. Keith, David and Randy were good sports, but I will leave it up to their wives to publish their pictures! Opa!
overlooking Nafpliooverlooking Nafplio
overlooking Nafplio

from the hotel breakfast room

29th October 2008

Another great entry, shots and description but obviously the highlight of the entire entry was Keith "dancing". He should have done that when he was performing with Single Tree! How much longer do ya'll have in Europe? Thanks for sharing your travels. Peter
31st October 2008

We are so glad we found your blog!
"Dane and Kahni" here looking at your photos, reading your comments and watching the videos. Your blog is astounding. We were just going to take a quick peak, but ended up looking at all the blogs from Cinque Terre (Oh YES, your photos do it justice!) and also from Greece. The photos seem to leap out of the screen and some have a three dimensional quality about them so much that we feel we are IN the picture. I could take a thousand photos and never have one turn out like that. Are you a professional photographer? Please put us on your mailing list. We also loved hearing the voices on the videos, too. Keep talking. We just joined recently when we came back from our first trip to Thailand. Thank you for all your work; we have never seen anything like it. Dane and Kahni
31st October 2008

Nice historical place
This is nice historical place and building.. i think if go to this place, i can learnt a lot about the building, the place, the people there..
22nd November 2009

Been there!!
I just stumbled across this blog while doing some research from our June 2008 trip to Greece. Much to my surprise, I see that you stayed in the very same pension that we did! You have some very beautiful photos -- we did not make it to Epidauros, but our first ruins were at Tiryns, then we went on to Mycenae the next day. Spent an entire morning at Palamidi and got some beautiful sunset shots of Bourtzi and the harbor. I would love to find the time to put up my photos from our trip -- I took over 3000 photos! Enjoyed these very much - thanks for sharing and refreshing wonderful memories!

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