To get to anywhere on the Peloponnese Peninsula from Loutraki, I needed to catch a short bus ride to the Corinth Isthmus bus station which crossed over the dramatic Corinth Canal. Cut through a solid rock, the Corinth Canal was started by the Romans but wasn’t finished until the 19th century. Upon completion of the canal, the status of Athen’s port of Piraeus as a major Mediterranean Port was elevated.
A one hour bus ride brought me to the ancient seaport town of Nafplio. Nafplio has three fortresses including stone walls that date from the Bronze Age when it first became a major port. During recent history it was under Venetian rule and then part of the Ottoman Empire. It was the first capitol of modern Greece after independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1833.
The weather was cold, but sunny, offering wonderful views of the fortresses and surrounding snow-capped mountains. The island fortress of Bourtzi, mostly built by the Venetians, dominates the protected harbor. The Palamidi Fortress and the Acronafplia Fortress sit high on rocks and hills overlooking the harbor. The Palamidi Fortress, which juts out above a sheer cliff, was built by the Venetians in the early 1700’s. I followed the old walls of the Acronafplia Fortress, catching glimpses of the outside of the walls which appear to grow out of the side of huge rocks which plunge to the sea.
A cruise ship which sat in the harbor dropped off and picked up their guests at a nearby pier in tenders throughout the afternoon. Fishermen worked on their colorful boats at the dock. Customers in the outdoor cafes in the plazas sat bundled up, determined to enjoy the sun despite the cold.
It was a great day in a beautiful, historic town on the sea.