We drove through Sparta trying to find the road we needed to take us to our next stop just down the coast from Nafplion. Not finding the right road was fortuitous as we did find the statute of King Leonides so John jumped out and took photos. We are driving like Greeks now. The first rule of driving in Greece is that there are no rules. Well there are but as our guide to driving in Greece points out in the first sentence; “Greeks do not always follow the rules of the road”. We have taken to driving half in and half out of the hard shoulder and avoiding pot holes no matter what side of the road that requires us to drive on. We’ve noticed that the Greeks like to put on their hazard lights just as they do some manoeuvre that will create the maximum amount of chaos and then keep them on for a couple of miles afterwards. Saying that, they don’t do stupid things like pull out right in front of you and although they are keen to overtake no matter what type of road, you don’t get the impression they are
aggressive drivers. They also give us plenty of room when we are cycling.
We took a bit of a detour through Nafplion and drove around a beautiful bay with a sandy beach and palm trees. The road ended at the end of the bay so we turned around and drove back to Nafplion and eventually found the road we wanted. Not having the sat nav hasn’t been as problematic as I thought it would be. We have definitely had fewer arguments about directions but then there aren’t many road to choose from in most of the places we have visited so far.
We are staying about 6 miles up the road from the town of Nafplion just outside the small village of Vivari. The campsite is in a sheltered bay. It is built on the side of a hill between the road and the sea. The pitches are terraced but the road down to them is very steep and winding. Not so much a problem coming in but leaving is a bit more tricky. We have seen the campsite owner towing caravans out with his pick-up truck because the caravanner’s would struggle otherwise.
The weather has changed and today, whilst still warm, it is more overcast. After doing our washing, we cycled back to Nafplion for a look around. It is the capital of the region and an important seaport. The forts atop its steep hills testify to how often it was fought over by the various powers in the middle ages. It would appear to be the place for a school trip. The whole town seems over run with school children. We wandered through the old town with its steep cobbled streets, brightly coloured houses and souvenir shops and then took a lift deep in the rock to the top of hill and admired the fortifications that split the tiny peninsular between the Frankish and Venetian invaders. After a delicious lunch of lamb souvlaki in a pitta bread wrap and a cold beer, we headed to the Palamidi fort on a neighbouring hill. It was a steep climb up the 999 steps to the entrance (that’s how many steps the locals reckon there are but we soon lost count trying to check they are right). Inside, we wandered round the eight bastions (fascinating if
you like looking at walls) and admired the views. It started raining in the afternoon and we got a bit damp cycling back.
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