I loved being in Athens with my friend Shannon. Earlier in the trip, we had almost missed our flight from Berlin to Athens. Our response? If we miss it, let's just take the next flight, regardless of where it goes.
Needless to say, we made the flight (by 1 minute!) and spent a couple days exploring Athens tourist sights. But, like me, Shannon is always itching to move, so we wandered to the bus station to see where we could go for a day. We had three possibilities, of which we knew virtually nothing about. To choose, we decided to use a similar strategy as the one we conceived at the airport – we would take whichever bus leaves first.
We ended up going to Napflio, a small coastal town around 2 to 2.5 hours from Athens. The only other tourists on the bus were two ladies from London, and they had heard how great Napflio was, and were going to spend a couple days. This encouraged us that we had make a good choice.
When we arrived in the town, we discovered that Napflio is a big tourist destination, as evidenced by the multitude of shops and restaurants with English menus. But as it was early November, almost everything was closed up, with not a tourist in sight. Besides the London ladies, we had the whole place to ourselves!
Immediately upon exiting the bus, we saw a huge castle on top of hill overlooking the town. We swiftly found the start of the stairway, and 999 steps later, we were looking over a castle wall at the scenic town nestled between hills on the aqua blue water of the Mediterranean Sea.
We explored the middle-century castle, which was much larger than we could see from down below. It is actually made up of three fortresses, required as Napflio was an important port and one-time capital of Greece. The views were incredible, as were the ancient fortress walls, starting to crumble with plants growing in them.
Before descending, we noticed a walking path going around another hill along to water and back into town. After a walk through town, this was to be our next exploration. Napflio town is truly beautiful. There were narrow stone streets meandering, with hidden staircases and pretty flowers cascading. We climbed around and up and down, enjoying the peacefulness of the off season. I was definitely wishing we could stay longer.
As we headed around to the coastal path, it started to rain. We pushed on anyway. While we enjoyed the lovely path, we were soaked and cold by the end. Taking it in stride, we made our way to a small café, where we had some hot tea and snacks.
During the bus trip, we had met a Greek Russian man named Cristos. He was born in Russian but was Greek by ancestry, and had only lived in Greece for 15 of his 35 years. This was his first trip to Napflio as well, and he had just come for the day, like us. When he discovered that a nearby ancient archaeological site (Mikenos) was closed, he joined us for the day.
After the castle, Cristos walked with us some more and then wandered off for a bit. He found us again at the café and took out a bottle of ouzo he had just purchased. Ouzo is a traditional Greek drink, but he said that his one was made special in a nearby town and was the only ouzo in Greece to have 59% alcohol content! I’m sure it goes without saying that rubbing alcohol might have tasted better than this stuff, but it did provide a nice warming sensation after our chilly walk!
We purchased a few chocolates for the bus ride home, and we were off back to Athens.