A Travellerspoint blog

Komboloi

Nafplio, Greece

Today was a bit of a wasted day, between checking out of a hotel, then going to drop off laundry, then finding a hotel to check into to, it was late in the day. I'd rather use a coin launderette, but from scouring the city the past couple of days I don't think they exist so have had to drop it off at a staffed launderette.

Found a bunch of things to do, but was slowly disappointed as I went out to do them.

I went to the dock to take a quick ferry across to the island fortress Bourtzi. But the whether wasn't good enough. It didn't seem to bad, just a little overcast. But ether the threat of rain is enough or there was too much wind.

I then went to the Archaeological Museum, but the times I saw on the internet were wrong. I felt bad since I'd missed the closing time by a half hour, but then realized it was closed on a Monday anyway. The city is actually very quiet on a Monday.

I did go to the Komboloi Museum. Komboloi are worry beads and are based on the same thing rosaries are based on. But these aren't religious, just something to keep your hands busy. Though they are related a little to the mantra "idle hands to the Devil's work". But the museum is basically the top floor of a shop to help sell the beads.

Everything else has been closed so I've just had an easy day.

Posted by cannon_fodder 11:26 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Palamidi Fortress

Nafplio, Greece

Slept in today, both because of the late arrival to the city but also a bit of a catchup. Was hoping to get a day tour to Sparta today, but in the scramble around last night I wasn't able to find where I could get a tour. So resigned to the fact that I would probably be too late for any day tour once I found one today, I decided to climb the hill to the Palamidi fortress.

PalamidiExternal.jpg

It is an old, abandoned fortress at the top of a huge hill. Officially 999 steps, but 857 in reality. I thought it was easy when I thought I'd reached the fort, but I then realised I'd only reached the fortified section of the steps up. Overall it was a pretty brutal climb. I did see this though.

PalamidiViewpoint.jpg

Not sure why there is a gap with a single stone going out to nothing, but reminded me of an Assassin's Creed viewpoint. I dont' have the stones to consider it perching on it for too long though.

The views were fantasic, this is a view of the city from the fortress, with an extra to show the seaside since the first one doesn't.

PalamidiLandView.jpg

PalamidiSeaView.jpg

Exploring the ruins was also fantastic. There was a prison which consisted of a single cell, but it would have been the worst place to be kept in. Extremely dark, rough and claustrophobic.

Though it just looks like a castle, the fortress ruins extend a long way. Other than the ticket gate, which it was free on a Sunday, you are left alone to explore. I was able to go along paths, that although trodden, other tourists weren't following in general.

Afterwards I looked for a place to do laundry, rather than do any other sightseeing, before it was too late. It was in vain though.

Had dinner at a nice restaurant near the hotel.

Posted by cannon_fodder 11:12 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Trains and Automobiles

Patras to Nafplio, Greece

Spent all of today getting across the Peloponesse from Patras to Nafplio.

Nafplio is a name I've taken a while to get right. I think I've said every combination of Na****o today. It's like the name was designed to be butchered by an englishman. But I've gotten it right by now.

Going through other countries, I've occasionally been thinking I should have tried learning either French or Italian instead of Greek at school, but not anymore. Greece is the only country I've visited without a latin alphabet, and even though a lot of the stuff has atrophied, just knowing two thirds of the letters when arriving has helped greatly. Also just knowing how to count, even though it is only to 29, has also helped.

This would be a transit day but I did look at getting some sightseeing done on the way. I stopped at Diakopta on the way to take the cog-wheel train down through Vouraikos Gorge to Kalavrita. Coming back the same way without leaving the train since I needed to get back to resume the journey to Nafplio.

The gorge was beautiful, the driver slowing down at one stage to leave a tunnel with a brilliant reveal. As well as the great scenery, I saw a shepherd leading a small herd of sheep. And saw two different groups of mountain goats along the way (don't know the collective noun for goats).

It was already late in the day when I got back to resume my complicated journey. Bus ride to Kiato, train ride to Corinth, then bus ride to Nafplio. Oh and a taxi ride from the train station to the bus station in Corinth. But a nice lady shared the taxi since she was going to the same place, so conversed with the taxi driver properly to get me where I wanted to go. She insisted on paying the taxi though, which seemed wrong as she was helping me, but she insisted saying it was Greek hospitality. It has made me feel bad though.

By the time I finally got to Nafplio it was late and has taken me a while to get situated. Finding dinner, then finding a hotel, then finding an internet cafe to post this and lookup tomorrow's tour since the hotel has no internet. Hence the reason there are no photos since this isn't being written on my laptop.

Speaking of internet, I also didn't have it in Patras yesterday, but it is funny how many unprotected wifi spots you can find when you really need them. My count was up to three.

To get to this internet cafe, I had done a look around my area for a while without result, but there is an open square near the hotel with free but slow public wifi. Enough to look this place up, which is a fair distance from the area I am staying in. So I was walking through small, dark, deserted streets at 11 pm, which I have usually felt safe and confident enough to do even while abroad. But a cat jumping out of a dumpster next to me has taken about a year off my life.

Going to try to lookup any tours I can do tomorrow before returning to the hotel to get as much sleep as I can.

Posted by cannon_fodder 13:59 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Transit

Rome, Italy to Patras, Greece

Finally in Patras and I hardly believe I made it.

I'd booked the ferry that leaves at 8pm from a port city called Beri. Then when I looked at the train times to go from Rome to Beri, there was one that leaves 8 am and the one that leaves at 2:50 pm, arriving at 6:50 pm, with none between.

The italian lines are renown for being untimely, so I was starting to panic. The train didn't have any major delays, but ran 10 minutes behind. Dropping me off an hour past the recommended check-in time and a half hour before the cutoff.

I threw 20 euros at an illegal cab driver just to get there as fast as possible. He dropped me off behind the port gates though, so I had a fifteen minute walk through the docks with fifteen minutes to get there with no idea where to go.

I did get there on time though and boarded the ferry. I'd made the mistake of getting a tuna sandwich onboard the train. Knowing it was a bad idea to buy something like that on a train even as I got it. I'm not sure if I didn't realise my own nerves until there was food on my stomach or the tuna was a bit off, but my stomach was doing flips.

After unsuccessfully finding where I was supposed to stay on the ferry, I held on to my nausia to watch the ferry leave the port. After that I found where I was supposed to stay, dropped my luggage off, went to the toilet, and felt much better.

After that I had a belgian beer I'd been holding onto all this time while standing on deck, looking out into the darkness.

After finishing it and getting tea (average self-serve food), I loitered for a bit before trying to get some sleep.

The ticket I'd purchased was for a recliner chair. Another worry I had was that it might have been a deck chair outside. But it was a chair in a room that looked a lot like a cinema. There were reserved seating, but since there were few enough people, and it was overnight, everybody just staked out any available rows of consecutive chairs to lie down on.

Since I was hanging around so long, I had to try to sleep in a row of two chairs. But between 4 and 5 am we stopped at another port and I was able to occupy a four seat row. Overall I got a fair amount of sleep.

I was equating the trip to a plane trip to imagine what a 16 hour trip would be like but it was actually pretty easy and went pretty fast.

Not much has happened after that, booked into a cheap hotel. Looked for a souvlaki place but this city doesn't look like it has any, the places I have seen didn't have a giros in sight. I walked from the port instead of taking the bus too, so have seen a large area outside the city center with none in sight.

Posted by cannon_fodder 10:41 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Old Rome

Rome, Italy

This morning we went to the Old Rome section of Rome. First taking the metro to the Colosseum.

RomaColosseum.jpg

It was pretty good. The audio guide was pretty interesting, though short. Still can't shake the image of a giant model of a whale opening its mouth to release a bunch of forty bears on some gladiators. That would have had to have been the peak for the events that have happened over time.

Afterwards we walked through the area with the main Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. Quite a pretty area, though we didn't get audio guides for that, which I regretted when looking at a bunch of the ruins since there was no context for them.

Afterwards we walked up to the Trevi Fountain. It was much bigger and grander than I thought it would be. I threw a coin in.

RomaTrevi.jpg

Then on the way back we checked out the Pantheon.

RomaPantheon.jpg

For dinner I had a pasta with clams. I'd ordered the version with fish eggs, but either didn't notice them or miss-ordered. It was really nice though. Also had half a sea bass, which was separated from its skin and bones by the table.

Tomorrow I will be travelling, hopefully sleeping, across the Ionian Sea to get to Greece so there won't be an entry.

Posted by cannon_fodder 12:17 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

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