We left glum Pyrgos early this morning and arrived much earlier in Nafplio than we expected, by a happy accident of good timing. Our buses rocketed across the Peloponnese, so we have seen a complete diagonal swath of the peninsula.
Now this is more like it.
We confess to being easily seduced by tourist pleasures, but we’ve decided that residents in tourist towns just have more confidence and sparkle. They’re used to dealing with crazy people from all over the world, and they take us in stride.
Our hotel here is lovely and we have a room that is definitely of this century, as opposed to our “luxury boutique” digs in Pyrgos, which harked back to the early 20th. It’s also less expensive.
We celebrated our arrival and return to modernity with lunch, and then strolled around this charming town for several hours, just soaking in the ambiance.
All over Greece we have seen abandoned buildings, or newly constructed empty buildings – casualties of the financial crisis. No one can afford to fix them up, and the owners are just praying for some friendly fire. That was particularly painful to see in Athens – 19th century buildings that could have restored to their original beauty, but which are instead painful signposts of urban blight. There are some buildings in that condition here, but not as many, and most still with some charm.
At one point we saw some young filmmakers in action. Who knows what these kids were expressing, but they were captivating to watch.
All in all, we feel younger and lighter here. Yes, environment matters!
Don’s Food Corner
By a stroke of transportation luck we were able to beat the odds and arrive here early today. Greek bus schedules are a bit of a joke. Even the travel agents are confused. But we got here. The hotel is on a pedestrian mall (though punctuated by motorbikes), one block from the waterfront and an endless line of attractive restaurants.
Since we are near the sea again, today I returned to grilled sardines. A hefty portion of perfectly prepared sardines. I think the key to the grilling process here is slathering a lot of olive oil on them.
Jo went the veal route, of course. The menu promised a piece of veal scallopine, but an actual veal chop arrived. This too was grilled and though slightly pinker than Jo ordered, it was wonderfully tender.
We shared a Greek salad as always, with an unusually generous slice of feta.
Best of all, they had large bottles of sparkling water.
Later we stopped at an Italian gelato shop. This was real gelato with an effusive Italian owner who couldn’t tell us enough times that this was the authentic stuff. And it was.
Our excuse for going out later was that we had had an early lunch. Also, we wanted a drink. And, we wanted to see the sun on the water. Mission accomplished with our favorite Aperol Spritzes and a very Italian pizza.