August 7:

Started the morning with a weights workout – the first time I’ve lifted anything heavier than a suitcase in over a week, and my muscles were very confused.  They were then tested by the many stairs at the Palamidi fortress, the largest and most impressive (if not impregnable) of Nafplio’s fortresses.  The Venetians built the fortress in the early 1700s (and you know you’re in Europe when you think something from the early eighteenth century isn’t very old).  It’s an impressive structure – most of it is still standing, and you can tell that fortress architecture improved a great deal from the time of the Byzantines.  The ability to fire evenly-shaped bricks probably helped a lot, I’m guessing.

This fort has many levels and different bastions.  At times I felt like I was walking in an Escher painting – one stairway would take me to a place I’d have sworn I’d just been.  The fort also has a prison room that feels like something straight out of the Chateau d’If (where the Count of Monte Cristo was jailed for fourteen years).  The Greeks used it to imprison one of the leaders of their independence movement – apparently, making political enemies in the early 1800s wasn’t a good idea.  Aside from the scary, windowless prison room, the fort is pretty cool.  But it was hardly a perfect fort; the Ottomans captured it before the Venetians even completed it.

I returned to the hotel for a quick swim before checkout.  That was a really good idea.  I love this hotel, with its unforced elegance, endless fresh-squeezed orange juice at breakfast, and jasmine blooming over the bean of a pool. I’m sorry to be leaving.

The afternoon was taken up by more shopping (clothes, biscotti), more sorbetto at the gelateria, and a return to the yummy mezedes restaurant.   I’m helping the Greek economy.

Nafplio is really a lovely town; it would only be improved if they took away the many stores that sell touristy junk.  It has a number of really nice boutiques and interesting shops, and the little streets and architecture are very appealing.  Here’s the front of our hotel, and a view into town from the port:

Now I’m getting myself mentally prepared to leave the AC and drive down back to the farm.

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