Goat tracks and Fortresses!

Trip Start Oct 13, 2013
Trip End Nov 14, 2013

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Flag of Greece  , Peloponnese,
Tuesday, October 22, 2013

We were sorry to say goodbye to Nafplio, both the gorgeous town and also Kostas, our front desk guy at the Hotel Athina who repeatedly helped the three stupid Australian tourists, who thoroughly enjoyed their morning yoghurt and honey and spanakopita for breakfast but couldn't
quite work the mysteries of the childproofed hot water dispenser.....we never did get the hang of it. Gwendols and I are also constantly challenged by the doors. Mmmm yes I know, opening a door doesn't really sound all that difficult but every lock seems to spin multiple turns around, and I'm talking like 5 or 6, so if you start turning the wrong way and then give up thinking you've done it incorrectly and go the other way etc etc you can end up spending WAY too much time on a simple procedure. Liane has no trouble with the doors, indeed she doesn't seem to have much trouble with anything; she may have been Greek in a previous life or something. She constantly tells us how to pronounce town names and how to say things in Greek and she is definitely now driving like a Greek as she casually passes traffic by crossing over the double  yellow lines.....Only when safe though Mum I promise, she isn't truly Greek enough do it on the blind corners like the real ones! Also fortunately she hasn't quite progressed to the stage of just stopping the car in the middle of the road so she can pop into a shop but it may be in our future! It is AMAZING to us to witness this...... With the narrow roads and cars parked every which way, willy nilly all over the place, it is common for there only to be room for one car to pass so cars are constantly reversing to let someone past before they get their turn through the gap.....and yet if that gap is outside a shop they want to enter then well "shoulder shrug"style I guess, they just park there, as in RIGHT THERE!!! If someone comes driving through the village and can't get through due to parked cars they just honk on their horn until the person comes out to move their car......all done with maybe a shout out but no real animosity at all.....don't try that at home folks! Our trip from Nafplio to Monemvasia took justa little longer than expected as Jane inadvertently plotted us a path on the road Liane had previously said of...."we DON'T want to accidentally go that way as I've read on TripAdvisor that sometimes parts of the road have disappeared down the side of a mountain".......Mmmm well yes, we were with her on that one......and we thought we had checked Jane's directions quite carefully and yet somehow we ended up on it regardless! As it turned out it was interesting in parts, like the detour down through an olive grove that we were convinced was a farmer's thoroughfare as opposed to a public road.....and slightly hairy in others, like a windy road up through the mountains that seemed to get thinner as quickly as it got higher and then turned into a rough dirt track......OMG are you KIDDING me???!!! But all in all in actually wasn't too bad......OK I must admit I may possibly have had my eyes closed for parts of it so perhaps I am not the best judge! Obviously such a road did though slow us down so we arrived in Monemvasia slightly later than intended and didn't have time to explore the old town on the rock that afternoon which was kind of the original plan. We stopped briefly in Gefira, the village on the coast directly opposite the fortress of Monemvasia and asked the prices and looked at rooms in one place and then popped up to the rock itself and asked prices and had a drink up there.....it was prohibitively expensive to actually stay up there but we were all quite happy to stay in Gefira given the plethora of dining options and the fact it is actually a really quite a pretty little seaside village. So once we'd come back down we enquired at another place and took that one as it was very reasonable as well as being far "swisher" than the first place. We had a lovely meal on the waterfront and a bit of a wander about and then retired for the evening .....tomorrow would be another day!

(L) So ends my 2 nights of having my own room, we did originally plan to all share a room but as I may or may not have already explained the rooms have been so cheap and we decided to get 2 rooms and take it in turns to have some time alone. I would definitely recommend if coming at this time of year to not  book ahead, providing you get into a town at a reasonable hour there should be no problem picking something up for a great price. We wanted to get on the road earlyish and managed to get away around 10.... no problems at first with Janes directions until we got to our lunch stop at Leonidio, where we drove straight past the cafe but all missed seeing it so went around the block which as usual was an interesting view into the back streets of the town ( we do a lot of that, taking the routes that head through the back streets!! ). Anyway.... as we came back around I decided I was just pulling up and if I wasn't supposed to park there then *throws hands up*... another of our constant chanting here seems to be "we're in Greece, there are no rules, do whatever you want"... which seems very much to be the case. I had to use my little bit of Greek to make the lady understand I didn't want meat but muttering the phrase I'd learnt for "I'm a vegetarian.. no meat" she immediately offered me a tomato and cheese toasted sandwich... not really the gorgeous spread of greek food we've had up to now but we were all starving so made do. $30 AUD for 2 toasted sandwiches, one platter of fried bits for GJ, chips and 3 softdrinks, it was rather revolting and way too expensive however she did have free WiFi so GJ checked her facebook etc!! We popped into the market for some apples and nuts then on our way, this is where Jane led us astray. GJ hadn't found the setting on the SAT NAV yet that lets you pick only main roads so we put our trust in Jane as she led us down the most interesting route of our trip! Deb has described the road but not how we were all laughing hysterically as Gwendols... reading Janes map... " oh there should be a bridge up here to cross a river" when we came around the corner and there was a wide and thankfully dry river bed, this was the icing on the cake after driving through the farm saying... "really Jane"!!!! as we rounded every corner and the track got smaller and smaller!!! Oh what an adventure! GJ then took firm control of Jane and instructed her to take us to the "red road", oh how we love a red road.. and Gwendols reckons they should actually be red so we know we're on the right road! From here it was a smooth drive into Gefira which is on the mainland right at the causeway to Monemvasia. We found a great place to stay, the Hotel Flixoxenia, which funnily enough had been on my list when I was doing my research. We got two gorgeous rooms for EU 70 or $100AUD, what a bargain! Dinner tonight was at a lovely taverna on the waterfront, I think this may possibly have been the best meal we've had so far, an enormous spread that cost us EU 29 ( $42 ) amazing value. We have been ordering wine by the 1/2 litre jugs which are really a barrel ( or maybe cask ) wine and it's usually pretty ordinary taste wise, it cost around EU 3.50 ($6) and is about 4 glasses, they come in a range of aluminum jugs ( like the old coloured picnic ones we had as kids ) or sometimes a crockery or glass one... very interesting all the different customs!

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Barby on

This gets better and better! What a trip (I'm having.. with you! FDL)... I can't even decide which town I like best..they're all so wonderful and Greek! Thanks for the awesome meals, the picturesque streets ( vine/bouganvilla covered no less!) , the olive trees. the blue skies ( they're nowhere bluer than in Greece!) and how about that grocery shop..OMG and the goats..ha ha! yes, loved it all. Thankyou my darlings. I'm just so happy you're having SUCH a fantastic experience (of a life time) I could cry. God bless...stay safe and happy. Mum xx

Barby on

Forgot to comment on your drive from Nafplio to Monemvasia.. What a goat track indeed. Scary stuff on a road like that...liked your commentary Debs!

Lyndal on

Keep 'em coming...loving the blogs and agree with Aunty Barby about being on the trip too ;-) now of course I'm confused about where to go next year when we visit Mahala in UK...it was to be Spain, Portugal & Morocco...but I've never been to Greece and am desperate to go...Mmm..decisions...decisions... xxx

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