Saturday, May 24, 2008

Roadtrip, Part I

With Kelly at the wheel, we “safely” escaped the hectic Athens traffic and headed to the Pelopennese peninsula. The first stop on our route was Náfplio. We would have arrived in Náfplio after about an hour except we got stuck in traffic and ended up moving about 6 km in about 30 minutes. When we finally made it to Náfplio, we followed four tour buses (to us tour buses equal free guidance to many popular destinations) up to the top of the city to Palamidi Fortress. Unfortunately, the buses didn’t contain the usual group of 65-year-old-plus tour group but instead a gaggle of obnoxious pre-teens. We did our best to avoid the madness and came away with some great photos of the Mediterranean:

We also snagged some delicious oranges picked fresh off the tree:

After touring Palamidi Fortress, we continued on with our road trip to Olympia. Even though Olympia looked close on the map, we soon learned that the “major” highway between Náfplio and Olympia was actually an extremely curvy mountain pass. As we wound through mountains of Greece, we came across several cute towns where we admired the wildflowers and enjoyed baklava soaked in locally produced honey.

Upon arrival in Olympia, we were dismayed to learn that the site of the original Olympic Games was also operating on “winter” hours. We decided to check into our hostel and tour the site early the next morning. As we wandered the main drag in Olympia we noticed that we were the youngest people in town by at least forty years. We realized how fortunate we were to have rented our car, because we are able to see a lot of the important sites that many young people miss.

The ancient Olympic site was worth the wait. It was inspiring to stand in the place where the Olympic Games were held over 2,000 years ago.

The site of the original Olympic torch is still used today to light the torch for our modern Olympic Games:

We also spotted some crafty tourists who had brought their own sun reflector to enhance their many photographs. We only wish we had planned ahead like them so we could look picture perfect too!

Back on the road again, we headed to Delphi, but not before crossing the newly-built bridge connecting the Peloponnese peninsula with the mainland. It must have been expensive because it cost us 11 euros (about $16) to cross!

Delphi is the site of the famous Delphic Oracle and the Temple of Apollo. We barely squeaked in before the 2:45 “winter” closing time (don’t worry we’re not bitter…even though it is 85 degrees out!).

After Delphi, we hit the road for Meteora, where we spent the night at Hotel Meteora.

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