Archive for the ‘sailing’ Category

h1

Navplion – A City To Visit In Summer Or Winter

November 11, 2013

Fortress-Navplion-GreeceNavplion – A City To Visit in Summer Or Winter

My first glimpse of Navplion was from our chartered yacht as we rounded the headland during a glorious evening sail in July 2012.  As we approached we could see the magnificent fort on our port side, which the Greeks once used to guard the entrance to the harbour.

Our berth (one of the last available against the harbour wall) was to be between our lead boat and a vast high-sided catamaran with a rather anxious gentleman on board who began pacing up and down even more quickly when he saw a female at the helm.  Once safely ensconced for the night, we couldn’t wait to explore this city which had seen so much history.

Navplion History

Bouboulina

Greek Naval Admiral

Navplion was the capital of Greece before Athens (1821-1834) and sits at the head of the Argolic Gulf in the Peloponnese.  It is here where the fearless sea captain Laskarina Bouboulina and her fleet of eight ships sailed to and took part in the siege of the fortress which she eventually captured.  Bouboulina was born on the island of Hydra, moved to Spetses following her marriages to two sea captains who left her wealthy enough after their deaths to buy several ships and form her own fleet.  Very sadly, Bouboulina was shot on 22nd May 1825,  in a family dispute. Bouboulina was one of the first women to play a major revolutionary role and without her and her ships, the Greeks may well not have gained their independence.

Within walking distance of the (industrial) harbour wall is the most amazing ice-cream shop … further on a plethora of side streets lead you away from the main road to the pedestrianized area and grand main square which is adorned with the most attractive Venetian-style houses, restaurants, bars, shops and tavernas.  There is so much to do in Navplion, you would be hard-pressed to get round it all in a day, well, that is if you take in refreshments, food and shopping like we did!

During the hot summer months, pretty much all the restaurants feature those welcoming ice-fans to cool you down while you sip your vodka-martini and watch the action – always lots going on in the way of outdoor entertainment.

Easily accessible from Navplion is Mycenae

Mycenae

Entrance to the underground water source at Mycenae

What a spectacular coastal view from the home which used to belong to the King of Sparta, Agamemnon.  There is an almost eerie silence which surrounds the ruins now and the highlight for me were to treat the well-worn steps from ground level, leading underground to an extensive plumbing system which provided Mycenae with fresh drinking water.

History: The site of Mycenae was first excavated in 1874 by Heinrich Schliemann, the German amateur archaeologist who had also discovered the ruins of Troy.  A magnificent palace used to reside on this hillside, which was surrounded by great walls.  The city was crowned with an acropolis even before the Mycenaean civilization, and the location of the site was of huge strategic importance.  The ancient city boasted houses, bakeries, workshops, and even a granary. Several of the tombs in Mycenae have been named after the family of Atreus. There is Agamemnon’s tomb, the tomb of Clytemnestra and Aegisthus’ tomb.
Mycenae was almost completely destroyed by a fire in the 12th century. The Mycenaean civilization declined, but the area was still inhabited. It is believed it was abandoned in the 3rd century AD.

The findings from Mycenae can be viewed in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, but all over Greece there are also smaller museums that hold Mycenaean objects.

Summary:

Navplion is a joy to visit.  From a sailor’s perspective, no showers immediately available on the quayside but lots of small hotels if you are desperate in the winter.  You can eat with the locals at a typical taverna offering local dishes in one of the back streets or dine out in your finery at one of the high class (and more expensive) restaurants that Navplion has to offer.  The buildings are amazing with a strong Italian influence and there is lots going on.

Return soon to read more about Greece, her islands and all she has to offer.

 

Advertisements
h1

Time to think about remote Greek Islands

June 2, 2010

Time to think about remote Greek Islands

Elounda Fishing BoatAt last we had a sunny start to the day in London today but in a way it makes me yearn even more for the warmth of the Greek sun on my back as I remember how good it feels to sit on the harbour wall in Elounda with my toes in the water, sipping a nice cool frappe and watching the boats depart for the island of Spinalonga.

Elounda has grown in the 20 years or so since I lived there but somehow, although the buildings have spread, it really hasn’t changed that much.  I’ve since visited various destinations throughout Europe, none of which quite match up – except of course those cherised islands we’ve sailed to by boat – all of which are well worth a visit.  I’m concentrating on the Ionian for now with snippets of information I hope you’ll find useful when researching your Greek Island holiday.

Lefkada

View of Nidri Town in the IonianNidri is a fun place to be any time of day or night.  It’s great to sit outside at a cafe or taverna watching the yachts jostling for a berth on the quay.  If however you are an avid watersports fanatic and love windsurfing, then Vassiliki Beach is a must for you.

Meganisi – Abeliki Bay – A quiet picturesque idyll

If you relish peace, this is one of the quietest anchorages which still has a taverna within walking distance!  Lovely to arrive late afternoon for that long-awaited swim off the stern to the nearest olive tree with your shoreline coiled up around your shoulder!

Fiskardo, Kefalonia

Probably the Fiskardo Harbour on the Greek Island of Kefalonia most well known place in the the Ionian after Corfu!  Lots of tavernas to choose from and always something or someone to watch in this bustling harbour town.

Kalamos – Beautiful views

Kalamos Island in the IonianAccording to mythology, Karpos was the son of Zephyrus and Chloris. He sadly drowned in the Meander river while competing with his friend Kalamos in a swimming competition. In his grief, Kalamos also drowned and transformed into a water reed, whose rustling in the wind was interpreted as a sigh of lamentation.

Vathy (meaning deep water or harbour) Ithaka – real Greek atmosphere

Homer’s ItVathy Harbour Ithakahaka, the birthplace of Odysseus, whose delayed return to the island is the subject of the Odyssey.

If you’re not sailing, take a boat from Kefalonia to this wonderful lush island which is steeped in history and well worth spending time driving around to appreciate all the wonders it has to offer.  There are day boats with outboards you can hire to explore and swim in the cool caves just around the coast from the magical port of Vathy.

Sivota, Lefkas – popular with sailing flotillas

Sivota is built around a secluded harbour with traditional stone-built houses and provides perfect shelter for yachts.  There is a great choice of tavernas and bars but probably not the best location for those wanting to swim, although children (carefully watched over by their parents) love to fish here from the harbour wall and there is a small stoney beach on the opposite side of the bay.

Sivota Harbour on the Greek island of LefkadaRead more from The Greek House blog:

should-we-feel-sorry-for-the-greeks/

greece-her-captivating-islands/

sailing-in-the-ionian/

h1

Sailing in the Ionian

April 2, 2010

If you are thinking of sailing this summer, the Ionian is a paradise for those with young children who are not wanting the challenges of the full blown meltemi winds of the Dodecanese and Cyclades islands.

http://www.sailingissues.com/meltemi.html

Sailing boats moored at Spartahori

We're the one stern to the end of the pontoon

If instead you are after some shelter and are looking for routes easily covered during daylight sailing hours, the Ionian might just be for you.  Flights from the UK tend to leave from Gatwick and land at Preveza from where it is a short taxi ride to the marina at Lefkada  (Lefkas island is connected to the mainland by a bridge).  Having sailed from here a couple of times, it is easy to be put off by the initial relatively narrow waterway which carries you out into the wider deep blue Ionian Sea.  Don’t be put off by first impressions!  Lefkas town, although not specifically pretty in the usual Greek way, is perfect for vittling up your yacht – there are also a couple of supermarkets closer to the marina if you can’t wait to get going and just need the essentials. We found some great restaurants in the back streets serving delicious Giros Pitta (soft pitta bread spread with tzatziki, spit-roasted chicken or pork, succulent sliced tomatoes and a few chips thrown in then wrapped up like an ice-cream cone).  http://www.explorecrete.com/cuisine/gyros.html

Once out in open water, one of the islands I would recommend for fun nights  in tavernas is Ithaka where there are several restaurants lining the port of Vathy which is where, in mid summer, you can watch the Greek jetset arrive in their superyachts – well, maybe one or two if you’re lucky.

Unless your yacht is very large, you need to moor up on one of the pontoons on your left as you enter Vathy harbour and it is a good walk to the main town from here.

The other fun harbour is Sivota on Lefkas island where you can sit in your cock-pit or in a taverna and watch the jostling for position and goings on of those who have left it late to secure a berth for the night.  Sunsail have a habit of rafting several boats together in the bay here so be warned!

One of the quieter islands is Meganisi where we have stayed and sailed to.  I must admit I became a bit bored during our week at the hotel but there is a wonderful taverna on the beach at Spartahori.  This beach is great for kids who can row safely ashore and feed the fish right from a table next to the water.  The ferry from the main port of Meganisi comes in and out of Spartahori a couple of times a day which you need to watch out for.  It is possible to anchor in the bay but you would be better off stern to on one of the pontoons if you arrive early enough.  For me this is a magical place and somewhere I will never forget.

Check back soon for more on sailing holiday tips in Greece and to read more about Greece and her magical islands go to The Greek House