Raised anchor at 6AM and set sail for Nafplios, staying between islands to miss the worst of the Meltemi. Stopped en route for a refreshing swim off the stern platform in 72F water that was blue and crystal clear. Before resuming our way, we were treated to a Greek BBQ lunch under awnings on the top deck.
We arrived at Nafplios on the Peloponnese Peninsula about 2PM and had a quick look around before boarding a bus for the 20 minute ride to Mycenae. Built around 1300BC (though graves from earlier eras are also found here), it is the legendary home of King Agamemnon, leader of the Greeks in the Trojan wars. The citadel or Acropolis (literally "Town on a Hill") boasted walls 12M high and 8M thick. Some of which had suffered earthquake damage and had been repaired in a visibly different style, 1000 years later.
Outside the walls is the immense honeycomb-shaped tomb whose dome was the highest in the world until the Middle Ages. We toured the museum (archaeological work is still going on since only ¼ of the fortress has been uncovered so far), then up a sweltering incline to the famous Lion Gate and finally, into the fortress itself. The Mycenaeans built here because they had access to a natural spring. The digging so far has uncovered evidence of trade with Egypt, Asia Minor and even Britain (probably through intermediaries).
Finally, wilting in the sun and with the heat beating at us from the rocks, we trudged down to the bus and returned to the dock. We really did look up at the Venetian fortress (begun by the Franks, conquered by the Turks and retaken by the Greeks over its 500 year history), but the 999 steps convinced me that I’d rather have a cold drink and admire the fort from a distance. In the shade.
Rallied later for a stroll into town for a little light shopping and a Gyro pita with French fries sprinkled with Oregano (Delicious! Try it!) at a harbour-front café on a perfect, balmy evening. The towns come alive at about 8:30 when the locals join the tourists for a cooler evening stroll, meet their friends, eat and recover from the heat of the day.
Reggie swimming in the Med
Beauty aids from 1300BC
Agmmemnon's Death Mask
The Honeycomb Tomb, tallest dome in the world for 2500 years
The Lion Gate