March 16, 2009


The Old Prison of Nafplio: In Town:At the top of the Castle, looking out onto Nafplio:Typical Greek appetizers: Our first mini road trip took us to Nafplio. It is a village with a cafĂ© lined water front, watching an old prison floating in the water. I suppose escaping from the old jail was a bit tricky while being surrounding by water! Nafplio was lined with narrow streets, accommodating a wide range of shops – from funky boutiques, to souvenir shops, to bars and restaurants, to contemporary shops. Behind and beyond the village, 999 stairs climb up to the town’s castle perched a top a tall hill. The trek is worth it, as it provides a gorgeous view of the orange-roofed town, the surrounding villages, the sea, and mountains. The castle is fun to climb around too! After all that climbing, we built up an appetite, and upon recommendation, we went to a restaurant a little past the main street, quietly sitting right beside the water. Many of the traditional appetizers are vegetarian, and the cheeses are almost always local. Now, brace yourself, because I tasted the best food of my life in Greece! Firstly, the olive oil used for dipping bread into, as well as cooking, is so incredibly fresh, rich, smooth (you could describe the oil like a fine wine!) it makes all the dishes have an unmatchable taste. The fresh ingredients, including lots of vegetables, are much healthier then any typical American fare. Tzatziki is one of the most famous sauces - a dreamy, garlicky, cucumber, greek yoghurt concoction. There is also Tirokafteri, a spicy cheese spread, and an eggplant dip called Melitzano salad that's chunkiness makes is shy of baba ghanoush. We had Saranoki Cheese, which is a salty fried cheese, and Saranoki Shrimps, which is a rich tomato mixture of soft cube cheese, spices, and large shrimp. Other dishes included – balsamic soaked portobello, Peppers stuffed with a form of Tirokafteri, Gigantes (Giant beans sometimes mixed with tomato sauce), Crete Salad (tomatoes, feta, basil, olive, on top of hard brown bread) and thinly sliced sardines (not my taste, but a favorite of many). After all the tasting and eating, we headed for our home for the night. A 10 minute drive from the main part of the city, we found a group of traditional homes, with rooms for nightly rent. The large house we stayed in had 4 residencies. Ours was a large stone-walled room, with a fireplace, kitchen, and on a sectioned off place for the bedroom. From the windows, we could see the lit-up castle we had climbed just hours before, and all of the town’s lights that looked like fallen stars at the bottom of the mountain. It was a very pretty landscape, and it was nice to be able to watch it from the secluded distance.

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