The little village of Marathopoli on the west coast is a great spot for day trips around the countryside. It is a popular tourist area with little cafes, restaurants, a grocery store and two bakeries. We went to the Palace of Nestor, the Archaeological Museum of Chora and then drove down to the Voidokilia beach all in a day.
We left Nafplio and headed to the coast where we stayed in a little town called Marathopoli. One of our first adventures was to the city of Ancient Messene about 60 km North of Kalamata. Ancient Messene was built on the ruins of Ithome around 369BC.
A major centre of Greek Civilization from 2000 BC to 1100 BC the city of Mycenae was home to 30,000 people and likely the seat of power of Agamemnon. We drove from Nafplio as a day trip.
We wanted to do a road trip and also see a couple of islands. After doing an assessment of our time available (based on reservations in South Africa – our next destination) we chose to concentrate on the road tirip to the Peloponnese. The first leg was from Athens, through Corinth, to Nafplio. We actually stayed in a small town called Drepano which is along the Agean Sea.
The Acropolis is a beautiful site to visit and explore the rich history of Ancient Greece. The signage was fairly good so no need to hire a guide but it would be worthwhile to brush up on your history so you have a better idea of what you are looking at. The entrance was 20 Euros per adult and free for the kids. It was worth a one day visit on top of our touring around Athens.
As the last days of our time in Nicaragua faded we were looking at options on where to go next. I had seen enough of South and Central America that I wanted to see something different. We were thinking Spain or Portugal as they are generally cheap destinations – budget travel, remember? Our family meeting ended with general agreement to go to Greece (although one voted to go home – take a guess!) and what a smart decision it was! The only funny part was the cheapest airfare to get there was routing through Toronto so we spent three days in rainy/cold Toronto to replenish some necessities, meet up with my brother Don, and get ready for a long flight to Greece.
Considered one of the biggest game parks in South Africa the Kruger National Park which was formally established in 1926 covers over 19,000 square kilometres. We bought a South Africa National Parks pass which gave us unlimited access to the park and we drove our rented Toyota Corolla (Quest – a car with no pick-up btw) into the park four times!
The conditions of entrance are that you drive on the paved or graded dirt roads and that you only exit the car in designated areas. Funny enough, the best views of the animals are when they cross the roads. Sadly we did not see any lions or leopards (although we saw a group of people looking at a leopard about a kilometre a way). We had one fright when our car was charged by an elephant but other than that it was an amazing time to see the animals at our own pace.
We went into Kruger Park a couple of times as a self-drive tour in our rented Toyota Corolla. At the end of the last day we were headed to the gate to exit just in time for closing at 5:30 p.m.
We arrived yesterday at the Protea Hotel Kruger Gate which is beside the famed Kruger National Park along the Sabi River. We spent the day enjoying the hotel and then went on a three hour guided night safari.