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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Hydra & Heroines

My last day in Nafplio — for at least a year, anyway! — was a wonderful but exhausting excursion to taste the Argolida's islands. First a bus to Tolo, then hop aboard Pegasus cruises to Hydra. For those in the know, pronounce ee-dra. Arriving by private yacht is for those really in the know! But however you get there it's a delightful place to spend longer than the Pegasus cruise stop allowed.

Lunch at the 2nd-most beautiful view restaurant in the WORLD was wonderful. How do I know its standing in the view competition — the menu told me so right on the front cover. Homemade bread with olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, and capers accompanied a grilled gilt-head bream on a bed of roasted veggies. The waiter said I wouldn't need a salad, and he was so right. All of this in the company of a few cannons and a trio of Brit-Canadians from the Pegasus. I was there for lunch, but this sunset view shows the cannon to good effect (AND I can't seem to upload photos right now)

The bad news: photo upload isn't working.
The good news: the Apple store is just a few steps downhill from the hotel. By now, my idea of a few steps is anything less than 999. I'll stop in before leaving Athens to see if I can solve the problem.

Now, about that heroine: Lascarina Bouboulis AKA Bouboulina. While on a short stop at the island of Spetses, I took in a museum tour guided by one of her descendents, a very handsome young man who spoke fantastic English. This article gives you a down-and-dirty account of her heroism, although I can't figure out the connection with Briton's genitals. Please comment if you get it  — still a little jet-laggy here, so I must be missing some subtle point.

There are tons of poetic tales and a Wikipedia entry online if you want to know more than this brief overview. EVERY Greek knows Bouboulina, AND I bet they're hoping that the 1 drachma coin with her image on the front and the Agamemmnon on the reverse remains a souvenir. I don't remember ever getting a coin as a parting gift from a museum. I'm holding on to this coin in case it gains some value beyond the story it tells — maybe  when I return next year?

At the end of the cruise, I walked uphill from the harbor in Tolo to the first gift shop on the left. If the next bus had been scheduled to arrive in less than two hours, I never would have experienced another memorable moment: an inquiry for a taxi, and the shopkeeper replied in New York accented English. For a minute, I wondered if I was in Times Square. She asked me where I was from and then delighted in telling me she'd  grown up in Queens!! While I waited for the taxi to arrive, she HAD to fill in the rest of the story. Her parents immigrated to the States when she was eight. She came to visit relatives in Greece when she graduated high school, and sure enough, she left with an engagement ring around her heart. Her husband-to-be needed to work a couple more years before she could rejoin him in Greece, and she's been in Tolo every since.

She gave me the inside skinny, from a shopkeeper's perspective, on the Greek economy/Eurozone relationship. She said Greeks DO work really hard: her son keeps the shop open 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, 8 months of the year. (It rains the other other four months, so there are no tourists, anyway) She said everyone in her town is sure that Angela Merkel is eager to seal a deal with the Greek prime minister, but her interest in Spyrias is not economic. "We've seen how she looks at him!!" So fun to laugh my way into the end of the stay in Nafplio.

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