Leaving magical Monemvasia behind us, we began the next part of our journey. We headed to Nafplio with a few interesting stops on the way. Our days were filled with canons and castles, goats and greek mythology, olive trees and ocean.
We left Monemvasia late afternoon after stocking up on a few supplies at the local supermarket. Lars was in a particularly good mood as we had finally found the elusive ‘Goji and Blueberry’ Green Tea.
We can’t remember where we first happened upon this flavour of green tea but it has become a strong favourite for Lars. We have since looked everywhere but without success …until today! Therefore, he is one happy chappy. We have become slightly obsessive in trying different flavoured teas as we travel around Europe – actually, better make that tea and dark chocolate!
I digress. We hadn’t gone very far, about 10 minutes out of Monemvasia, when we came to a little beach where we could easily park up near the ocean, at Palaio Beach (coordinates N36.728555 E23.026278).
Although the weather was windy, it was also sunny and therefore perfect to do some washing. I am getting adept at the old ‘hand washing’ technique. I wash, rinse and then it goes through the spin cycle (that’s Lars!). Teamwork at it’s best! Sometimes we use a self-serve launderette but they are virtually impossible to find in Greece as dry cleaners seem to be the go here. Doing our own washing saves us money and is good exercise because you get quite an arm workout! Also, not a bad setting to be hanging out the washing.
The next day was a little cloudier and not so warm, so we mainly stayed in the van catching up on bits and pieces. You’d be surprised how busy we are! What with keeping our expenses updated, planning our next stops, looking for any Geocache locations that will have us climbing mountains or going to out-of-the-way places, quality checking our photos, updating Instagram and Facebook and more recently, getting our website ready – it all mounts up! We wouldn’t have it any other way – loving it! Everyday we appreciate how lucky we are to be living this life, to be doing what we have dreamed of and to have taken that leap of faith to just go for it!
The following day, we set off towards our next planned stop, driving sedately through the mountains of the Peloponnese. Sampatiki is a small, pretty harbour town nestled among the scenic hills on the Arkadian coast. After driving down some very narrow roads, we stopped in a car park overlooking the harbour (coordinates N37.189344 E22.90933). We have been so spoilt with our stopover locations here in Greece, as there are so many free spots in fabulous locations. For almost an hour, we just watched the comings and goings of this quaint little harbour; fishing boats chugging in and out, locals going down to collect the days catch and even someone in a wetsuit snorkelling! We were very relaxed and happy; drinking our tea, lapping up the late afternoon sun and enjoying the idyllic view.
Kids and Koutroufa
Our plan was to head to Nafplio which we had heard was one of the prettiest towns in Greece. On the way we passed a pen full of baby goats. There were about fifty of them! We’re suckers for anything slightly resembling ‘cute’ – well I am particularly – so we just had to stop to take some photos. Unfortunately, they were pretty timid and I couldn’t entice any over to the fence.
On our way, we planned a stop to have a look at a 2000 year old olive tree in the village square of Koutroufa. Its trunk measured about 11 metres diameter and it still looked hardy enough. Apparently, the village holds an annual festival every July, the ‘Tribute to the Olive Tree’, where villagers share olive dishes and play Greek music.
Greek Mythology in Mylio
Our next stop, was to find a Geocache near the small village of Mylio.
Geocaching is an activity directed from an app that points you to a hidden location in search of a ‘cache’ or container where you can log your details on paper within and do the same online. It’s akin to a treasure hunt! The beauty of this is that locals hide these caches in the most scenic places so you get to see sites you might otherwise pass by. Find out more about Geocaching and read about this particular cache.
We followed the Geocache coordinates, which led us down an overgrown path beside the River Lerna. On our way, we came across ‘Constantinos’, an elderly Greek gentleman who was clearing the overgrown reeds near the river.
Speaking excellent English, he asked us where we were from. He proceeded to tell us the Greek history of the area, including the story of Hercules and the many-headed snake, Lernaean Hydra, which had its lair in the area. He told us about his favourite philosopher, Plato (of course), and his favourite quotes. Constantino was quite the storyteller, laughing in among his ever-increasing divergent stories. In his younger days, he had been a bar tender and travelled through the US, which explained his great penchant for spinning a yarn. He was clearing the river surrounds on his own accord and was upset that they had been left to overgrow. Reluctantly, he let us go on our way, leaving us much wiser in aspects of greek mythology and the many inventions which originated in Greece!
After finding our Geocache on the railway line, we continued along the path toward the sea. A beautiful sight greeted us. As the river met the sea, there was a little bridge with a few trees and reeds around it. The sea mist hovered over the ocean and it looked absolutely magical.
This particular cache that we had found, gave us information about a concrete compass in the nearby area. It was apparently built by the Germans and originally had a canon in the middle pointing towards the town of Nafplio across the bay.
We strolled back through the tiny village and stopped in the bakery for a savoury treat. We don’t often eat out, we strive to save the pennies, but we allow ourselves the occasional savoury slice or cream cake. With food sorted, we were ready to set off to Nafplio.
We parked at the huge harbour car park (coordinates N37.571177 E22.800955) and set off to explore. Firstly, we made our way through the narrow passageways on our way to the top of the hill, where the old town used to be. This also led us to the tip of the headland and hence to ‘The Five Brothers’. The name derives from the five canons that point out towards the bay. From here we had a great view of the Bourtzi Fortress, situated just off the coast on a small rocky islet.
As we walked further up the hill we came to the walls of the oldest castle in Nafplio, Acronauplia. The ruins were impressive but I was much more taken with the multitude of cacti plants growing along the walls. To be fair, we have seen quite a few ruins in Greece!
The old town area was worth a visit. However, we realise we are not really fans of the bigger towns, much preferring the quieter, out-of-the-way places.
We wandered back down through the town and headed back to the camper. The plan had been to overnight there but the car park wasn’t the nicest spot. Consequently, we decided to head off to find somewhere a little less busy and more scenic.
While walking to the van, we came across two stray pups who probably hang around the area hoping for some food. Luckily, we keep some dog food in the van just for these types of occasion! They eagerly followed us back and were keen to tuck into some biscuits and lap up some water. It looked like the two of them hung around together. The black one only had one eye, so it was good that he had a buddy. After some food, they both enjoyed a tickle around the ears and some attention. Fed and watered, they were soon off to investigate another dog that had arrived which made our exit all the more easy.
Overall, we had a busy day and were looking forward to finding a stop to settle down for the night. After putting our new coordinates into the navigator, we headed towards our next destination, Corinth.
After finishing my Law Degree I decided to become a teacher. I am passionate about teaching, learning and most of all, about inspiring others. Now, as a writer and blogger, I love sharing our travels and our musings on life’s journey. I hope, through these, we can play a part in inspiring you to do whatever ‘satisfies your soul’.