Monday, 15 May
Dolora and I took the chance to sleep in a little this morning. Breakfast started at seven but our walk through Monemvasia did not start until nine. Our first stop on the way was a small local supermarket. Ioanna, our guide, showed us an assortment of popular Greek items. There were local olive oils, local balsamic vinegar, mountain tea, olive oil soap, red saffron, spices, and then saving the best for last – Greek chocolate. The Greek chocolate is from two companies and comes in dark and milk chocolate. Along with almonds, there are also many different bars with fruit. One of the Greek favorites is potato chips flavored with oregano. Dolora had her eye on the milk chocolate with orange. I have been sampling a dark chocolate bar with espresso so I can already vouch for the excellent flavor. Since we have only carry on bags, our choices for “souvenirs” from the grocery store are limited.
Then it was to the bus stop for the short trip to Monemvasia. Monemvasia is a rock island that was once home to 60,000 people. It was attached to the mainland until an earthquake. The island consists of an upper town, which was home to the upper class, and the lower town. The upper town is in ruins but the lower town has been largely restored. We entered through the main gate of the walled lower town. There is only one way into the town. Since the gate is so narrow, all supplies are still being brought in by horse or wheel barrow. The main street is lined with shops and cafes. There are churches and chapels everywhere. We passed some of the sites including the main square and sections of the wall. A steep staircase leads to the upper town. Dolora and I went up far enough to get a view of the roofs below but came back down the slippery stone steps.
We enjoyed a coffee with another couple from our group and then went off in search of lunch. If I had paid a little more attention to the guidebook, I would have seen that the restaurant we were looking for did not open until six. So it was chicken pitas for lunch followed up with a little gelato, turmeric mango for Dolora and of course chocolate for me.
We enjoyed the walk back with a couple of other ladies from the group and wandered around Gefyra which is the town on the mainland where our hotel is. On the way back to the hotel we made our stop at the grocery store. Purchases included soap, chocolate, tea, saffron and chocolate cigars. We passed on the oregano flavored potato chips.
Dolora went for a walk to the beach and reported that the water was warm although she only went in up to her knees. I enjoyed the weather out on the beautiful patio while she was gone.
Tonight we had a cooking lesson before dinner at the hotel. Six members of our group, including Dolora, had the chance to help in the preparation of tzatziki, chickpea patties, eggplant moussaka, and baklavas. Rena shared her recipes and Dolora helped make the baklavas. Dinner included salads, moussaka, chickpea patties, beef, pasta with shrimp and vegetables. Dolora’s baklavas were still warm when we had dessert.
Yesterday I finished my bag of olives that I picked up at the Athens market. I can attest that you do not get sick from eating too many olives. Along with my bag of olives, I have supplemented my diet with olives served at each meal including breakfast. I may be having olive withdrawal when I return home!
Tomorrow is a travel day to Nafplion, Greece’s original capital city.