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Published: July 17th 2009
BYE BYE CAPTAIN DAVE
He would never admit it but he will really miss Frangie!!
SAILING DAY 20
Finally Skipper Dave calls out to us that are still below deck to “get up, we are coming into Athens”. Now we are moving. It is still windy, but warm. We enter the marina and it is full of boats as the weather has been rough. We find a place to moor, freshen up, dress and get off that yacht.
We have breakfast at a cafe along the beach and hop on a tram into the center of Athens. Bill comes us us. That being Angie, Francine and Yvonne. Bill was here for nine days prior to sailing so he knows the city well.
We get off the tram and walk to the parliament building where there is a small crowding gathering for inspection of the guards. It is not as grand as the changing of the guards but still very interesting considering the dress and the unusual steps that seems more like slow exaggerated dance steps.
Our objective today is not to go to the newly opened Acropolis Museum or to the Acropolis nor to the Parthenon but to the sandal shop. There is a Poet Sandal Maker that is
Athens in site
famous for his good and affordable sandals. When talking with the son who now runs the shop we found out that when he first went to the USA he lived in Findlay, Ohio then moved to New York for college. What a small world. Angie bought a pair as did Bill. Francine did not as she couldn't see a pair that she really liked and may go back upon our return to Athens. So we left to further explore the shops on the main shopping street in Athens. The temperature was at 36 C or 97F so that is an automatic reason for an ice cream stop.
The tram ride back to the marina was long (about 45 mins) and packed with people and we finally made it. This is our last night on the boat so we ready ourselves for our last dinner together.
Francine and Angie have been playing jokes on our Captain for the last few nights after he told us of the story of his being held in Martinique for drug smuggling. He was cleared of any wrongdoing but was in jail for 2 months. So we would plant items in his cabin every
night that resembled drugs or drug paraphernalia, using sugar, and spices from the galley. Dave was amused and never found out who was doing it. So on the last night we sent Frangie with a note and a fake joint, so he would know what a prankster Frangie was. We all had a good laugh the next morning.
We needed to be off the boat by 10:00am and we were just a little over that when we all left for a final breakfast together. Angie had a waffle with 2 scoops of ice cream, chocolate sauce, nuts and whipped cream. Francine had a crepe with cheese, mushroom and panchetta. A great way to finish the trip.
We decide to take a cab to our hotel because of the distance and all the luggage we have. So Francine, Angie and Yvonne bid farewell to our fellow sailors and head off. Happy travels everyone.
Our hotel is located in a nice area that is fairly close to the center of everything that we want to see. We settle in and take a siesta and at 5:00pm we meet our new group that we will
be with for the next 10 days while exploring the Peloponese area of mainland Greece on the GAP Adventures Classic Greece tour.
We have some Americans of this trip: Gloria with her granddaughter Regan from Nebraska, Yoshiko from New York and Rebekah from Florida. There is a Canadian couple Bruce and Heather and an Australian woman named Pearle. Our tour leader, Yannick is from Belgium and he has been doing this tour in Greece for years. He also does tours in Spain. He was formerly doing tours in South America and knows our old tour leader Jose from our trip in 2007. So he has a lot of experience and knowledge.
Yannick takes us to a lovely restaurant at the foot of the Acropolis. We are on the roof top with great views to watch the sunset over the city and the night lights across the Acropolis. Are they rain clouds? What's that, a drop of rain? It's raining. We all move tables under the awnings. No we are still caught outside, we move to another table undercover. Not enough chairs at this table so we move again. It feels like musical chairs. Oh no, the canvas awnings
are filling up with water. Angie stands up and the waiter stands on her chair to push the awning up to remove the rain over the edges, water goes everywhere. They prop up the awniings, we resume out seats and order our meals, which are delicious. About half hour later the rain stops. It has freshened everything up.
We leave Athens this morning to travel to Nafplio, Greece. It is a 2 ½ hour bus ride. The buses here in Greece are very iffy. They might be on time or they might not even show up. You take your chances. So this morning the bus god is smiling on us because it is here and there are seats for everyone. Our luck is following us.
We settle into a nice Pension (room) that has recently been remodeled and nicely decorated. We get WiFi in the room. The lobby is very large and they have two massive fish tanks and a very large talkative parrot. He says hello in English and makes a horrible cat cry, and says other words in Greek. Angie was having a photo taken with it when it was out of the
cage and he took a nip at her arm. Very lucky not to have drawn blood with the beak on this bird.
In the afternoon we all take a guided tour of Epidauros. This is an area that is truly the beginning of modern medicine and especially psychological healing. A man by the name of Asklepios who lived in the 500 BC era created a sanctuary for the healing of the mind. He thought that if you could heal the mind then that would help to cure the ailments of the body. (I bet he also had occupational therapist on staff!!)
His wellness center was well known and people traveled from far areas of the world to visit this center. This was also a college of medicine. People would study here and take the knowledge back to their area of the world. Many prototypes of modern medical instruments were discovered here. This area was chosen because of the clean air, green forests and water springs. This was 500 years prior to Hypocrites who followed the teachings of Asklepios but was able to add the new discoveries of the physical body to his teachings of medicine. Asklepios is sometimes
referred as the father of Hypocrites, this being physically impossible but more a philosophical reference.
One of the means to heal the mind was to perform comedies and tragedies. And several centuries later a vast amphitheater was built to continue this tradition. In ancient times this site was built under the protection of the Greek god Apollo. When this area was conquered by the Romans a decree was set down that all worship of pagan gods were forbidden so this site being connected to the god Apollo was thus abandoned. A disastrous earthquake later destroyed many of the buildings but the 14,000 seat amphitheater was saved because the top of the mountain of soft dirt fell on the stadium and buried it for thousands of years. It is 90% original and the finest example of all ancient stadiums. It is still used today for the traditional productions of comedies and tragedies. But on a rare occasions it has been used for musical productions of the ancient plays by artist such as Maria Calias and Jose Carrera.
Upon our return at 7pm, Francine is not feeling well and goes right to bed and sleeps all night. We put it
SON OF THE POET SANDALMAKER
Now the owner and sandal maker in his fathers foot steps. Also once lived in OHIO! GO BUCKS!
down to the heat and not enough water. Angie goes out for a walk around the town and has a small sandwich for dinner and returns around 9:30pm and does some blogging before bed.
This town of Nafplio was the first capital of Greece after Independence and has been a major port since the Bronze age. It is graced with attractive narrow streets, elegant Venetian houses and lots of quay side cafes. It is located 12km southeast of Argos and has three fortresses, one of them is on an islet, and the biggest, the Palamidi Fortress, stands on a 216m-high rock.
First thing in the morning we take a taxi up to the Palamidi Fortress.
The fortress is well preserved with great views of the entire valley. Locals claimed that there are 999 steps. Francine and Yvonne (has a soar hip) taxi back to the hotel and Angie walks down the 999 steps and was able to beat them back to the hotel.
Later, meeting the group at 1:00 pm we all go and get taxis for a journey to the Mycenae site. The price was given as 100 E per taxi and Angie
No idea what this is just wandering around the town. Not into sighseeing just yet. Will do all of that when we return in 10 days.
was able to negotiate an 80E per cab that made it 20 E each for the three hour round trip. A half hour drive each way.
Mycenae Site is the ruins of a culture that precedes the ancient Greeks. In the second millennium BC Mycenae was one of the major centres of Greek civilization, a military stronghold which dominated much of southern Greece. The period of Greek history from about 1600 BC to about 1100 BC is called Mycenaean in reference to Mycenae. Only scattered sherds from disturbed debris have been found prior to about 3500 BC that dates inhabitants to that period. 1200 BC the power of Mycenae was declining; during the 12th century, Mycenaean dominance collapsed. The destruction of Mycenae is part of the general Bronze Age collapse.
We take a late afternoon bus to Sparta via Tripoli. Once again we take a chance with the Greek buses. This time we all get seats and then they had to get another bus for the remainder of passengers as there was a large school group. As the bus was full we headed straight to Tripoli along the main road instead of through the winding mountain pass and
Caught red handed shopping again.
small villages. We arrive at the bus stop in Tripoli, that being sitting on the steps outside the corner shop. Our tour leader tells us that on this leg of the trip we will probably have to stand up. Not so and we are lucky again, the bus is on time and we all get a seat again.
We arrive in Sparta at about 7pm and settle into our hotel, dinner with the group and sleep. We have a big day tomorrow and it is going to be hot again. Yes, we are now experiencing the European summer.
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