Can you spot the tourist?
Besides wearing a “This is Sparta” shirt in bold red, nothing screams tourist more than a Asian girl with a gigantic camera having a pictorial in an ancient theater under scorching 40 C. Yes, I am that Asian girl!
Epidavros is one of our stops in a spontaneous road trip to the Peloponnese from Athens. All ears were on the tour guide as he explained the incredible acoustics of the Epidavros theater. A performer who stands on the bottom center of the circular stage can be perfectly heard by all 15,000 spectators. My test: Make my husband Pierre stand in the bottom with the camera, while I run up to the top to get directions for my poses. The result: Tons of photos with an open mouth expression “huh?” (I’m saving those photos for a special blooper story).
Back in the car, Pierre my “slashie”… photographer/ hot Greek tour guide/history teacher and all time favorite partner in crime was giving our son and I a lesson in Greek history. I am not proud to admit that most of what I know about this country’s history is based on what I saw in the movie 300 (first and the sequel.) I also picked up a habit of saying “aaa-WOO!” whenever someone would say Sparta. It may not be a detailed lecture in a class room, but I learned what I needed to know in a hundred minutes. I would also argue that those Spartans clad in leather briefs and crimson capes made history a far more compelling (and visually entertaining) subject. It was such a great coincidence that the movie’s sequel was set in the Peloponnese. It made my reading of the thick travel guide on this region an easy task.
Our road trip was heading to the beautiful and historic seaport town of Nafplio. The 2 hour drive can easily be made into a day as there are countless ancient sites to see. I even wanted to stop just to pick (or steal) olives from orchards (good thing its wasn’t picking season.) If you do plan to take a road trip from Athens to Nafplio, I would recommend these stops:
1. Corinth Canal – Not only for the historic canal but for the best (melt in your mouth) Pork souvlaki I have ever tasted.
2. Epidavros – one of the best preserved ancient Greek Theaters
3. Mycenae – The Royal palace of King Agamemnon (think Trojan war & Helen of troy)
4. Olympia – site where the first Olympic games were held in classical times
There are many more places to see but the goal was to get to Nafplio before sunset. I wanted to climb to the Palamidi castle (which is 999 steps from old town Nafplio), to get a birds eye view of one of Greece’s prettiest & romantic towns. Luckily, the sun sets at 8pm during summer so I was also able to squeeze in a boat ride to Bourtzi castle which is located in an islet near the town. I found this port town to be charming by day and enchanting at night. For proof of how much I loved this place, I stayed for another night!