Michael and Pam's Travels

Sink Holes, Palamidi Fortress and Ancient Mycenea, Greece. 2015

Travelled: 163 kilometres from Metamorfosi to Nafplio, Peloponnese
Visit: Ermioni and the Didima Sink Holes
Stayed: Nafplio (Karathiona), beachside aire, water and toilet service, free. N37.54377, E22.82255

 

We really enjoyed Metamorfosi, mind you it was getting busier the morning we left.

We really enjoyed Metamorfosi, mind you it was getting busier the morning we left.

 

We depart Metamorfosi with a little sadness, this beach with it’s inviting crystal clear water and isolation is our perfect little piece of the Peloponnese. We have said goodbye to our Austrian neighbours, it’s their 15 year holidaying in Greece and staying at this beach for a couple of weeks.

 

Not a very interesting photo admittedly, but here we are having bacon and eggs overlooking the Island of Hydra.

Not a very interesting photo admittedly, but here we are having bacon and eggs overlooking the Island of Hydra.

 

Heading south we pass through Galatas and stop for breakfast on a little headland on the southern tip of the Argolis. Overlooking the Gulf of Hydra and the island of Hydra in the distance, it’s peanut butter on toasted baguette. Luckily Pam doesn’t like peanut butter (what sort of person doesn’t like peanut butter ?) or I would surely run out. Mental note for next year bring two jars of peanut butter. As we sit enjoying the view a steady stream of classic soft top sports cars rubble by every couple of minutes. Alphas, Porches, Mercedes an Austin Healey or two and a couple of lovely E Types. It’s a real drivers road and we hear them changing up and down gears through the many hairpin bands.

 

Get Directions

 

Continuing on to Ermioni we park at the Port and have a wander about. Ermioni has a daily ferry service to Athens or other ports in the Peloponnese. As we walk up the quay the ferry sound its arrival. Twenty or thirty backpacker depart and almost the same number disembark. It’s a very pretty little village with a lovely bakery and lots of waterside taverns. But the bay is not that inviting for a swim, if there’s lots of yachts and cruises about as a rule we don’t swim near them for the obvious reason. So armed with some lovely baklava we push on.

 

The port in Ermioni, a very pretty little village, but not that camper car friendly.

The port in Ermioni, a very pretty little village, but not that camper car friendly.

 

Seven kilometres later we are on the western side of Argolis and heading north. We are looking for a wild camping spot but either the beach is a bit ordinary or the water a bit murky. The road swings inland and away from the coast and we climb into the mountains but perhaps hills is a more appropriate description. ย However Greece is one long series of hairpin bends and the Hymer is kept busy.

 

Get Directions

 

 

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Near the little village of Didyma we pass a brown tourist sign pointing to caves and I have a little memory jolt ? Didyma caves ? We stop on the roadside and the Lonely Planet comes out and we do a bit of revision. It describes Didyma Caves as two giant collapsed sinks holes, one holds a surprising secret. As entry is free Pam is keen to have a look and we do a u-turn and start looking for a big hole in the ground.

 

A sink hole perhaps.

A sink hole perhaps ?

 

 

Entry into the sinkhole is through this elaborate wrought iron gate. It's a pretty little spot with a bit of shade under the pine trees and a little breeze, so we lunch here as well.

Entry into the sinkhole is through this elaborate wrought iron gate. It’s a pretty little spot with a bit of shade under the pine trees and a little breeze, so we lunch here as well.

 

The locals have dug a shaft down through the rock into the sink hole. Steps are cut into the rock, the walls are white washed but it's still a little challenging. The end is worth the wait with this lovely little chapel constructed into the cave.

The locals have dug a shaft down through the rock into the sink hole. Steps are cut into the rock, the walls are white washed but it’s still a little challenging. The end is worth the wait with this lovely little Byzentine Church constructed into the cave.

 

This is a staged picture as you can tell.

This is a staged picture as you can tell.

Soon enough we are on the road again looking for a place for the night. After a couple of of false starts, I finds some co-ordinates in our Greece road atlas and 20 minutes later we drive down onto the beach in Karathiona, about 4 kilometres from Napflio. There are about 10 other motorhomes under the trees and we feel comfortable already.

 

Travelled: 66 kilometres Nafplio to Mycenae and back, Peloponnese
Visit: Fortress of Palamidi and the Citadel of Mycenae.
Stayed: Nafplio (Karathiona), beachside aire, water and toilet service, free. N37.54377, E22.82255

 

Get Directions

 

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Napflio from the Fortress.

 

Napflio is a ancient port town at the top of the Argolic Gulf. Sitting beneath the towering Palamidi Fortress, it’s graced by narrow streets and laneways providing shade and atmosphere. After a swim in the refreshing waters of the Aegean, coffee and fruit we make an usually early start and arrive at the Palamidi Fortress just after 9 am. It’s already very warm and it’s obviously going to be a hot day again. The carpark at the Fortress is relatively small, but there’s room for the Hymer saving a walk.

 

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Entry gate to the Palamidi Fortess, built predominately by the Venetians construction was completed in 1715 just in time to be captured by the Ottomans. ย It’s actually four seperate forts joined by a series of ramparts. ย Each designed to withstand attack independently.

 

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A view of the ramparts at Palamidi Fortress.

 

 

Get Directions

 

 

An hour later we have had enough of the Fortress and point the Hymer north for Mycenae. In the foothills of Mount Argos the Citadel of Mycenae has stood as a settlement since 6000 BC. For almost a thousand years from 2000 BC it was the seat of the power of the Mycenaen Kings. Obviously the Citadel is not in ‘as new’ condition but the Lions Gate is something to behold. We wander the site with 3 coach loads of tourists. It’s passed midday and it’s very hot in full sun and most of the older people hang near the Lions Gate as it provides the only shade. Suddenly we see a group of Koreans making their way back to their coach. It appears their selfie sticks are drooping in the heat.

 

The Lion's Gate at Mycenae.

The Lion’s Gate at Mycenae.

 

Burial Circle A, the Mycenae Kings were entombed here in shafts dug into the circles.

Burial Circle A, the Mycenae Kings were entombed here in shafts dug into the circles.

 

The Cistern, Pam and I missed the do not enter sign and went down several levels with the assistance of our iPhone torch.

The Cistern, Pam and I missed the do not enter sign and went down several levels with the assistance of our iPhone torch.

 

Mycenae is such an interesting visit, the burial circles and the cistern are amazing. The air-conditioned museum is very popular I can tell you. We listened in to an interesting lecture on Agamemnon, the most famous of the Mycenae Kings as written by the Greek poet and philosopher, Homer (not Simpson) in his writings and the allegation he was a fictional character created by Homer. In the lower gallery a copy of Agamemnon gold death mask is on display. This caused quite a ruckus as the selfie sticks clashed. It was reminiscent of Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker going at it with light sabres in Episode IV.

 

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Agamemnon’s gold death mask, apparently there is still some controversy regarding this claim. In any case it would look nice hanging in the lounge room.

 

The incredibly fine detail of the artefacts given their age (1200-1300 BC) and being buried under whatever.

The incredibly fine detail of the artefacts amazed us, given their age (1200-1300 BC) and being buried under whatever for a few thousand years.

 

By mid-afternoon we are back on the beach in Karathiona having a late lunch and a pre-nap beer and wine. In the early evening we take the Hymer back into the port of Napflio to wander about with the locals before finding a little pizza place with wifi.

 

Michael and Pam

 

2 thoughts on “Sink Holes, Palamidi Fortress and Ancient Mycenea, Greece. 2015

  1. Stephen

    Great adventures. We are on Samos Is in drizzle. Really strange as we are not used to rain since we left NZ. By the way peanut butter and boysenberry would be my favourite mid night snack.

  2. Denice

    Hi Guys, what a great time you both seem to be having. Seeing all the news reports back here about all the refugees etc & was getting worried you might be getting caught up in some of it, thankfully not….keeping on travelling & keep safe…..Cheers Denice

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