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1,000,001 Steps: Ups and Downs in Greece for 3 Weeks

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1,000,001 Steps: Ups and Downs in Greece for 3 Weeks

Old Nov 13th, 2014, 01:27 AM
  #41  
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Day 11 – October 7th: A Roll through the Neman Vineyards

It was raining in the morning. Really raining. My head cold was worse and DH was sniffling. His knees were sore but not hurting too bad. I had several alternative plans for the day but heavy rains were scheduled for the afternoon, limiting the choices. Hydra was out. Maps and spreadsheets were consulted and the Trip Planning Board made a decision.

We made our third visit of the trip to the pharmacy (a few more were still in our future) and left with a package of good old Panadol Cold & Sinus, the real formulation, the one with pseudoephedrine that cannot be sold anymore in the US because it can be used to make crystal meth. The one that actually works. Yay! We also got some more cough syrup, a Nasonex nasal spray (obviously without a prescription) and chewy tablets for sore throat.

The rain was beginning to subside so we walked around and found a place for breakfast. I had a spinach pie and DH had a humongous egg, ham, cheese and salad wrap that would stay with him for the rest of the day and remind him every so often of its location within his digestive system.

During the planning stage for this trip I read countless trip reports and advise posts from the Greece regulars. All agreed that Ancient Nemea was one of the semi-secret jewels of the Peloponnese. So I had included it as an ‘if-we-have-time’ item on my list.

I will be concise on this one. Go there! 100% Whole heartedly recommended. This should be a top destination for anyone in the area. I was skeptical on all those ‘Skip Olympia and go instead to Nemea’ posts. They were dead on.

The drive itself was gorgeous. To the point where I could have passed the pictures as if they had been taken in Tuscany. A connoisseur might have detected a little bit more ruggedness in the landscape but otherwise, we might have been driving through hills around Piensa (one of my favorite places in the planet so this is a raving recommendation).

We were greeted in the almost empty parking lot by the resident Nemean Lion; it was really a big, scruffy looking dog but I’m sure he perceives himself as a more of a noble beast. The museum was quite interesting and we visited it leisurely. Until a bus full of Italian teenaged students showed up. It was clearly time to go see the ruins.

I cannot say that we had the place to ourselves as there were other people in the site; a grand total of 5 (the students were still in the museum).

The site is big, lovingly maintained, and particularly well curated. This is good as most guidebooks only provide a few paragraphs of information about Nemea, if any. The partial reconstruction of the temple was as good –actually even better with the possible exception of the Temple of Apollo Epicurious in Bassae (more on that later)- as any to be found in other well-known sites.

Also, since it is very flat it does not take much physical effort to make the tour. Two sick people, one with sore knees, notice this kind of things. I think that strollers or motorized wheelchairs might even make it here.

But in my opinion, the crown jewel of this site is a few hundred meters down the road: The Stadium. Though not as accessible as the main site, I think it can be managed by most. It is located in a natural depression and the backdrop is just plain beautiful. It did not have a lot of seats as the audience sat on the steep hills surrounding the arena. The tunnel used by the athletes to enter the stadium from the ‘locker room’ is perfectly preserved.

I will end the suspense and just say it: Nemea is everything that Olympia is not. Although the museum in Olympia is really awesome so that you might still want to go there.

It was still early in the afternoon so we looked for other possible destinations in the map. Aha! Daphni is near. Isn’t there a monastery? So we proceeded to drive for about 2 hours through spectacular scenery and winding roads. No one in town ever heard about big churches or monastery. I have a nagging suspicion that we were just in a namesake town. Complete failure of the Travel Planning Board. But again, the drive through Tuscan-like vineyards was worth the useless detour.

And then it began to rain. Like they meant it. As in streets flooding within 5 minutes.

It was obvious that there would not be any more sightseeing that day so we headed back to Nafplio under a deluge. After waiting more than 20minutes in the parked car we just decided to make a run for it into the nearest restaurant.

The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent dashing from one café to another under the rain, first drinking warm tea and then switching to red wine at a barely socially acceptable hour. Dinner was had in a nondescript restaurant selected for its closeness to the hotel than anything else. Greek salad, Pork Souvlaki, double doses of Panadol Cold & Sinus and copious amounts of cough syrup rounded up the night.

And that was how we spent 4 nights in Nafplio and never made it up the fortresses. So those were a couple thousand steps that were sadly not taken.

Next: The Underground Boat, The Towers of Vathia and The Best Sunset in Greece
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Old Nov 13th, 2014, 06:35 AM
  #42  
 
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Marigross you'll catch the fortresses next time. Beautiful view from the top. Regarding tax evasion we were in Nafplio just after reading this story:

http://boingboing.net/2010/05/04/sat...hotos-cat.html
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Old Nov 13th, 2014, 06:52 AM
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PS I know you are not crazy about heights. I had a hard time at the bottom of the climb up to the main fortress. It got a little better near the top (just in case you ever return).
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Old Nov 13th, 2014, 08:15 AM
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Another tip for the fortress ... if you have a car, or are up for a €6 taxi ride, just drive up the BACK way to Palamidi (all its conquerers went that way anyway), and walk DOWN the steps ... it still will give you achey knees but easier in the huff & puff department.
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Old Nov 13th, 2014, 10:55 AM
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cold, that article could have easily been written about Puerto Rico and the San Juan suburbs. I would LOL if it were not so sad.
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Old Jan 14th, 2017, 10:10 PM
  #46  
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Oh no! Where is the rest of this report!?!

Many, many thanks, marigross, for the parts you filed -- such a wealth of detail, and such helpful and candid comments! Greatly appreciated, and a delight to read.
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Old Feb 1st, 2017, 12:11 PM
  #47  
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Hi kja! I really regret never finishing the last part of the trip because it might have been the best part of the entire vacation. Maybe I put up a few things from my file just to share the highlights.
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Old Feb 1st, 2017, 10:51 PM
  #48  
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I think that would be great, marigross -- I'd love to hear more about your experiences!

BTW, thanks to you, I have a reservation at Aethrio -- it sounds absolutely perfect for my needs! Great recommendation. If you have other suggestions, I'm sure you know how to find my planning thread. ;-)
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Old Feb 5th, 2017, 07:49 AM
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Hi marigross, DH & I just found your trip report. We are getting ready to take a very similar trip to Greece and really love your commentary & information on driving, hotels, dining, etc. We would love it you would post more about your trip!
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Old Feb 5th, 2017, 08:34 AM
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Hope to read more!
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Old Feb 6th, 2017, 12:27 AM
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Great trip report, I would love to read more. You have planned it so well and I am sure you'll enjoy it!
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