My Morning in Nafplio

Nafplio pier

I was up before the sun and outside waiting for its arrival. We had only one overnight stop in lovely Nafplio Greece and I knew my camera and I would find good pictures here in the morning light. Our hotel was at the water’s edge, facing the old fortress that guards the small harbor. I saw a few fishermen set off for the day in small boats and an old man fishing for octopus. Then the sun peeked over the hills and the water came alive with color.

Nafplio fisherman with octopus

I wandered into the center of old town in Nafplio looking for more scenes to capture. I walked through Constitution Square, past the best gelato shop, and through narrow streets illuminated by the morning light. I found a small café and had a fine breakfast of Greek yoghurt and fresh fruit and strong black coffee. It was a morning to remember.

Nafplio hotel with bougainvillea

Nafplio is a popular tourist destination but the season must be short because we found few tourists there in mid-September. What I did find were small “pensions” (B&B’s) and cafés that I’m sure are worth investigating. I look forward to returning one day to explore and enjoy this lovely place.

Nafplio harbor scene early morning


A delightful young woman from Poland served my breakfast at a café on the ground floor of this pension:

The Greek Tourist Office site about Nafplio:

A private, non-commercial site about the town:

I’m very grateful to my friend and client Wally Jamerson, who visited Nafplio as a child, for telling me about it.

See my pre-visit blog entry about Nafplio here.



Mykonos, Greece

Mykonos may not be a “little known place” but it is a delightful place to wander through with a camera in hand. Mykonos is one of the most popular islands in Greece and I’ve heard that it’s very crowded in summer. I was there in mid-September and, while it was busy, I wouldn’t call it crowded.

I’ve created a quick slide show of a few of my favorite photos. I hope you’ll enjoy them — and I hope this works! It’s my first effort at inserting slides into this blog.

Mykonos slides


Cape Sounion, Greece

temple of Poseidon - Sounion Greece

The remnants of a 5th century BCE temple rise at the southernmost tip of the Attica peninsula south of Athens. This temple was dedicated to the god Poseidon, and it’s located on a cape called Sounion. Our excellent tour planner arranged a late afternoon ride there for us. Our ride of about an hour in each direction featured a terrific lunch in a seaside café on the ride south and beautiful sunset views on the return trip.

Homer made the earliest reference to Sounion in his account of the struggle between Odysseus and the Cyclops (who was a son of Poseidon). Odysseus made the mistake of boasting to the Cyclops that it was he who had blinded the one-eyed giant, leading to Poseidon’s punishment, the ten-year ordeal of Odysseus’ journey home.

The temple at Sounion was probably built in ca. 440 BC and originally included 34 columns. Today 15 columns remain, making an impressive appearance on a promontory 200 feet above the sea. For 25 centuries people have traveled to this temple and to Sounion. In the days of ancient Greece they came to pray to Poseidon and to defend the sea entrance to Athens.  Fortresses were built here and battles were waged.  More recent visitors come to admire the view and the remains of the temple. Lord Byron boldly carved his name in the stone of the façade. Sounion is about 40 miles south of Athens. It would be a terrific ending to a day spent on the beaches found along the route south. If you come, plan to be here at sunset for the very best views. On the first day of summer, the sun sets exactly in the middle of the caldera of the island of Patroklou, the extinct volcano that lies offshore.


Our tour of Greece was expertly planned and arranged by Windmills Travel & Tourism of Mykonos. They not only managed our group tour for 16 people but also arranged perfectly travel in Greece for some of my other clients this year. (I received no incentive for telling you about Windmills Travel – I am just a very satisfied client.)


Wikipedia has an interesting history of Sounion here:

Go to Google Images and do a search for “Sounion” to see many beautiful photographs.

What a great vacation!

sc 3

A few days ago I returned from three-and-a-half weeks in the Mediterranean region including 11 days on the exciting Star Clipper. While I collect my thoughts and organize my photographs, I will share this with you: a beautiful video of the Star Clipper, the world’s tallest sailing ship.

A very professional video has just been posted on the Star Clipper company’s blog.  It’s less than three minutes long, but it will give you an idea of how thrilling it can be to sail on this beauty.  I hope you’ll follow this link to see it.


Places I’m Going: Olympia, Site of the Ancient Olympic Games


Olympia greece

The site of the ancient Olympics

One of the places we will tour during our September cruise on the Star Clipper is Olympia, Greece, site of the ancient Olympic Games. The games were held here from 776 BC until 393 AD. Today’s visitor find columns and other pieces of ancient structures.

Olympia is in the western part of the Peloponnese which, according to Greek mythology, is the island of “Pelops”, the founder of the Olympic Games. Imposing temples, votive buildings, elaborate shrines and ancient sporting facilities were combined in a site of unique natural and mystical beauty. Olympia functioned as a meeting place for worship and other religious and political practices as early as the 10th century B.C. The central part of Olympia was dominated by the majestic temple of Zeus, with the temple of Hera parallel to it. (from where you will find other interesting information .)

There is a small museum at the site which holds a number of important relics. Nearby, the modern town of Olympia is well suited to cater to the visitors with some very nice hotels, a lot of restaurants and tourist shops, and some nice beaches within a half hour drive.

Katakalon is the port town near Olympia where we will dock. It’s located on the western edge of the Pelopennese peninsula. A tiny town, home to around 600 people, Katakalon claims to be the second busiest seaport in Greece. Perhaps our ship will pass by the old lighthouse that’s been warning mariners of the rocky shoreline here since 1865. Katakalon has been a railroad town since 1881.  Remnants of the old town can still be found in the old warehouse buildings along its back streets, some of which have been nicely restored to preserve the history of Katakolon Port. (Read more here:

In our time the flame of the modern-day Olympic Games is lit by reflection of sunlight in a parabolic mirror in front of the Temple of Hera which is then transported by a torch to the place where the games are held.


From the official site of the Olympics:

Some interesting historical resources are here: and here:

There’s a site with a gallery of photographs of this area here:  I hope the owners of that page don’t mind me borrowing the photo at the top of this page – I’ll replace it with one of my own soon.

Places I’m Going: Nafplio Greece


Nafplio, Greece

When I began my blog of “little known places” I intended to write not only about places I have visited but also to record my research into places I hope to visit in the future.  In the very near future – on September 11 and 12 – I’ll be touring the Pelopennesia peninsula of Greece and overnighting in the delightful city called Naplio.  Soon I’ll be posting my own photographs of Naplio, but for now I’ve “borrowed” one from Wikipedia (above).  And I’ll be telling you my impressions of this small city (population about 15,000).  For now I’ll share a few paragraphs found elsewhere on the `net and some links I like.

Nafplio is the prettiest and most lovable city I’ve seen in Greece. The setting of the red-roofed Old Town, on the Bay of Argolis, backed by the rocky heights of Acronauplia and even higher Palamidi, is spectacular. For centuries, Venetians and Turks took turns ruling Nafplio, leaving behind palpable layers of elegance and exoticism. At one end of the immense, marble-paved piazza, Constitution Square, is an arcaded brick building constructed by the Venetians in the 18th century (now the Archaeological Museum); at the other end is a converted Turkish mosque. Bougainvillea grows through the wrought-iron balconies of many neo-Classical mansions and spills overhead on narrow streets. In the evenings, tavernas put out tables and chairs in these alleys, so you can eat and drink beneath the stars and flowers. (Greece at Its Most Greek, from the New York Times)

And for a bit of the history of this ancient place I’ll also borrow this paragraph:

According to mythology, the town was founded by Náfplios, the son of god Poseidon and the daughter of Danaus (Danaida) Anymone. The town’s history traces back to the prehistoric era when soldiers from here participated in the Argonautic expedition and the Trojan War alike. The town declined during the Roman times and flourished again during the Byzantine times. Frankish, Venetian and Turkish conquerors left their mark in the town and strongly influenced its culture, architecture and traditions during the centuries. Ancient walls, medieval castles, monuments and statues, Ottoman fountains and Venetian or neoclassical buildings mesmerize the visitor with their unique architecture and beauty.” (From the site of the Greek National Tourism Organisation.

As we travel from Athens to Naplio, we will be stopping at these most interesting places:

Our first stop will be at the Corinth Canal where we’ll have a view of this deep, narrow waterway that’s less than four miles long.  Little used today, it was an important short cut to Athens when it was built in the 19th century.

Far older, Mycenae, is one of the most important archeological sites in the country.  Mycenae was one of the major centers of Greek civilization in the second millennium BC.  It was a military stronghold which dominated much of southern Greece.  At its height in 1350 BC the citadel and the lower town had a population of at least 30,000 people.  Highlights still visible today include the Lion’s Gate and the Tomb of King Agamemnon.

As we approach Nafplio we’ll go to the fortress of Palamidi, built by the Venetians in the 18th century. Located on a small mountain, today it’s best known for its views over Nafpoli and the sea.


There are links connected to these names as well: Corinth Canal, Mycenae and Palamidi.

Practical Information:

Our tour of Greece has been planned by Lori Messina of Windmills Travel and Tourism in Mykonos. (Tel. +30 (22890) 23877;  Lori, an American who has lived in Greece for a number of years,  has been a pleasure to work with.  She’s created a terrific tour for us.