"" Writer's Wanderings: Nafplion, Greece

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Nafplion, Greece

The light streamed in the window from our balcony as Bob drew back the curtains in the morning. Surrounding the harbor where we were anchored were sun kissed mountains and hills and blue, blue water. Nafplion would be a tender port but it was kind of nice to not be tied to a dock. The view from the ship was spectacular.

We were in no hurry to get off the ship as we had no excursion from the ship to account to. Leisurely, we collected our tender ticket and waited but a few minutes for our number to be called. The ship was using its own tenders for those on excursions. They would be taken to waiting buses somewhere. Our tender ride would be on local boats and right to the downtown port area. Perfect.

In doing my research, I had stumbled upon a place we could explore on our own, the Bourtzi castle, which it turns out is really a fortress that was converted to a hotel of sorts back in 1930. So, I guess it was someone's "castle" for a while. 

The only way to get to the castle is by boat since it sits on a tiny island in the middle of the harbor. I had found that there was a ferry but it wasn't obvious which way we should go once we got off the tender. Thankfully, Bob spotted a tourist information booth close by and we inquired there. 

"Oh yes," she said and pointed. "That way 200 meters. 'Odeseus' cruise."

We thanked her and walked in that direction for what we thought was 200 meters until we were about to pass the city tour train and thought that the ferry to the castle had to be there somewhere. No, said the train operator and pointed a bit farther down. "My meter reader is off," said Bob, "I thought we'd walked 200."

In front of a row of large sidewalk cafes sat a small well used passenger boat and the sign across from it said "Odyssey Cruise". And there it was. Our ride.

For a mere five euros each we could get a roundtrip to the castle. The boatsman spoke enough English and had enough body language (with a smile) to indicate when it was time to get on and off and how to pay, in cash of course.

The ride to the island was fun on the old boat that ran quite well under the skillful hands of its captain and soon we stepped off and into the castle. A lady sat in a little cubby hole and almost scared us as she greeted us just inside the entrance arch. The price was four euros for residents over sixty-five but five euros for everyone else. Senior status did not get us a discount as foreigners.

We met another lady inside who was there to greet us and let us know she would answer questions but we were on our own to explore. She did tell us that the castle had sat closed for eighteen years and in the last eight years, they had done major renovation. It was still a work in progress as they were planning on putting in a small cafe and gift shop. 

There were lots and lots of steps. Most had handrails but not all. Bob's only comment on that was, "This wouldn't fly in the States." It did have some spots where someone could easily fall or make a misstep. I climbed most of the several layers to the castle but passed on the one that went to the very top. There was no handrail and a whole lot of steps. Bob braved it and took a few pictures from the top.

Several signs gave some information on the castle. One of them dated the fortress back to the late 1400s. Cleverly, they had surrounded the castle with layers of rocks that were hidden under the water's surface. Any large boat attacking would run aground. 

For anyone interested, please note that there are restrooms and an elevator for handicap accessibility although I'm not quite sure how you would get there if in a wheelchair unless somewhat mobile. And, in the future, there will be a lovely cafe, I'm sure.

After about an hour of walking around and up and down, we boarded our sweet little ride back to town and decided that we would rather take a city train tour than to walk the streets ourselves. The sun was warming the day and we weren't up for a hot walk.

The city tour train was only four euros each and was almost an hour long. It showed us enough of the city to get the flavor of it. Lovely narrow side streets, shuttered windows open to the sun and fresh air, small iron balconies and hanging plants. Here and there a church, a school (the kids all waved), and of course lots of open air cafes. All in all, a very pleasant place.

The train tour ended not far from our tender dock and we arrived in time to catch the tender as it was loading again. Lunch, a little R&R and here I am again trying to get this posted before my internet gets funky again. Oh, one last thing...

Last night we had a great performance from a stand up comic. Simon Palomares. One of the best lines from his talk about life aboard the ship was how it made him uncomfortable to go into the gym and see the captain exercising---on the rowing machine. "Think about it." HIs delivery was a lot better than mine. 

Just one more smile. Last night, according to our account statement, Bob drank 770 cups of coffee! After a good laugh, we straightened it out. "Glitch in the system." I think someone just hit too many keys on the register *smile*.

Next up is a day at sea and then the Pyramids in Egypt. We will be returning to Nafplion in another week or so on the second segment of our cruise. At that time we'll be visiting Corinth on an excursion. I'm excited.

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