A day of making arrangements and see sights, sunny

Trip Start Jun 02, 2010
Trip End Jun 21, 2010

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Where I stayed
Porto Hydra

Flag of Greece  , Peloponnese,
Friday, June 11, 2010

Today was a great day to be in the Peloponnese. We tried to start early because we needed to make arrangements for the return of the Rental Car, our yellow Italian steed. We have tentatively arrange to drive the car to Nafplio and give the car up near the free parking at the port. Today was the day to specifically see how possible that plan was. We were planning to utilize Greek public transportation (the bus) to return to Porto Hydra. Well we had learned that there was only one boat- departs Nafplio at 0845 in the morning, we learned that there were only three bus a day most early in the day that came anywhere close to where our hotel is and by close I mean within 10 miles of the area. The travel distance, although being less than 42 miles, takes over an hour due to the mountains, the many small villages , and the road system that has numerous narrow spots. So…..

We left for Nafplio about 10 am, stopped at a Mycenaean Tomb, found a small fossil museum, got to the post office before it closed for lunch and finally got to Nafplio at about noon and used a Greek telephone card, to talk with the caretaker of the house we are staying on Ydra, she gave me a couple of great suggestions about dealing with the rental car company, and solutions to our transportation challenges to the island. Told her what time we would probably arrive on the island etc, etc, etc. We then called the rental car company in Athens and suggested that we return the car at Ermioni, it is closer by Flying Dolphin boat for the rental guy that is meeting us, cheaper than his going to Nafplio and much better for us cuz the port is only 7 klicks from the Porto Hydra. Of course the head cheese was not in, but I sold the guy on the telephone and he suggested we call back in thirty minutes. Just enough for Kathy to get some Italian Gelato at a little stand. Called Cletus back (as many may know from my years in Italy, Cletus is any local that I don’t know their names), He told me that the boss was back out, but he liked the plan so he wanted our mobile number and he would call back with the details. So Kathy and I ran up the road, (literally north) to the town of Argos, looking for the ZEOS brewery. Well that was a bust so we had several hours to kill before dinner ,so is only Mycenae, about 12 more kilometers up the road. Okay I understand your classical Greek history is a bit rusty, remember the Trojan Wars and the King named Agamemnon, ya’ll thought that was a fairy tale, didn’t you. Homer wrote the story like 300 years after the fact, but yes that civilization existed and the Citadel of Mycenae is where Agamemnon hung his hat. And we were there. Lots of gold items were found there and we had seem a great bit of them in Athens. What a tour, ancient ruins that were older than any I or Kathy had ever seen. This is the site of the great Lion’s gate, the oldest sculpture in western civilization and we were standing under it… lots and lots of ruins from the palace, to normal shops and house of the inhabitants, a truly remarkable place. Now get this -standing in a road that was a main town road 1400 years before Christ and our mobile rings, its Cletus’ boss and not only does he like the rental car plan but he told me that his man would drive us back to the hotel before driving back to Athens and he is arriving on the 2:35 boat at Ermioni. Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together. Here in the old street of Mycenae and my phone rings because someone places a call in Athens Greece, it goes to America, bounces off of a Verizon circuit in Huntsville, and finds my telephone back over here in Greece. What technology is that. Way cool. So we visited the small museum and then drove 2 minutes down the road to the Tomb of Agamemnon. Now that is an impressive place, the oldest free stand point arch building, and the largest until the Pantheon was built by the Romans, during Christ time. Absolutely amazing. Wow isn’t history something else. Ok so now it is time for something else so we returned to Nafplio and way above the city is a vast fortress called the Palamidhi Fortress. This fort was begun during the Byzantine period, 800-1000 Ad and eventually completed by the Venetians, went Venice ruled the port. This place was the spark of the Greek independence movement in the early 19th century and it is a wonderful example of medieval castle building. Kathy and I explored the place, it isn’t in ruins; but it is a bit over grown. There is a great Lion of Saint Mark, the patron saint of Venice, above one of the doors. I use to wear that patch on my uniform when I lived in Italy.

Okay so enough of the history, we stopped and had a super dinner on the port side again, different place than the night before; talked to Dan Brooks in Afghanistan via Skype, he is doing well. Answered some emails (each restaurant has wi-fi) and then walked around the old streets of the town. What a marvelous little town, at dinner the owner of the restaurant gave us (no charge) a traditional dessert of pears and some specific Greek fruit, with honey, that is typically provided to good friends, when they visit together. I have traveled many places in the world and the hospitality of the Peloponnese Greeks is unequaled the world over. These people are super hosts as Kathy and I ask questions, ask for directions, and ask for explanations and use just the very few Greek words that we know. This truly makes traveling and experiencing new customs and culture so wonderful.

We return to the Hotel about 10:30 pm, Kathy talked to Tyler on Skype, used the telephone to talk with her parents, my mom was out, but she left a message. All in all a great day here in Greece. Oh yeah, the Fossil museum, it is called the Kotsiomitis Museum of Natural History, it is a private facility, a labor of love by Mr. Kotsiomitis. He has been collecting and displaying Ammonite from this region of Greece for a number of years, I gave his wife our business card, you know the one “We dig … for Food“. She gave us her husband’s published book on Greek Fossils and yes it is in dual languages. What a score, and Kathy really isn’t mad that we found some fossil stuff on this trip.
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