Stormy skies developed while we slept — the first real weather disturbance in the over three weeks we had been in Greece, so we really couldn’t complain. (Well, there were some unseasonal lightning storms one night in Athens, but they were brief and did not interrupt our plans–in fact, it was awesome watching lightning over the Acropolis!) After having our favorite Greek breakfast in the studio, we decided to venture out and defy the weather. We had planned to walk to the other side of the peninsula, and set about doing that this morning.
Ermioni is a peninsula, with the harbor on one side and another “arm” of the Peloponnese on the other. (The Pelopennese were described to us as being like an open hand, with four fingers and a thumb — we were on the “thumb.”) Each side of Ermioni is very different from the other, and both are equally beautiful. The harbor side, at the edge of which we were staying and walked yesterday, is the busier of the two. There are estiatorias, tavernas, and cafes along with souvenir stores, bakeries, green markets (produce stores), neighorhood markets, a butcher shop, a pharmacy, and a grade school–funny, I don’t recall seeing any high end clothing or jewelry stores…hmmm.
From what we observed on our bus trip from Nafplio to Porto Heli, it appears that high school students are bussed out to fairly distant locations to attend school. We saw students board in Nafplio that got off along the way as far as Kranidi, over an hour away. We wondered how long the school day was for these kids–they had boarded mid-afternoon–and what time these kids had to catch the bus in the morning). The bus drivers appeared to know who they were and dropped them off in front of their homes.
The road along the grade school is where the open market/bazaar that we visited last week takes place. There is no real beach near the harbor, though there are places heading toward the forest that one could wade in or even swim. Mostly, though, it’s occupied by boats of various persuasions.
The sea side, where we were headed this morning, is mainly residential with some guest apartments, cafes, and tavernas — we observed no retail. The street that goes through this side of the peninsula is almost all on one-way driving, facilitating strolling and enjoying the amazing views of the rock walls going down to the sea. Walking along the street last Thursday, we had observed heads bobbing up and down as some people (likely locals) were treading water and chatting. Today there was only one hearty soul to be seen in the sea.
Both sides are divided by a small forest that runs along the sea on one side and the one-way street on the other. It is a popular place for people to walk and talk, children to run and play, and owners to walk their dogs. (This is the only place we’ve visited where we saw a number of dogs along with the usual infusion of cats. All were on leashes until they reached the forest edge, then turned loose to run.)
As we got down the hill and past the point of no return, the temps plummeted (from warm and balmy to probably in the low 60s) and it began first to sprinkle then actually rain. We took refuge in a cafe where, to our chagrin, the power had gone out. The owner was able to make us some brewed coffee on a gas burner, though, for which we were grateful! We hung out there, enjoying a second cup of coffee, while waiting for the rain let up (again, no one bothered us–we could probably have stayed for hours). Then we returned “home” to get some warmer clothing and go on with our day.
First order of business was to get some lunch. Because the Tzieris Taverna, which is on the sea side of the peninsula around the corner and very close to our studio, was not only a favorite spot but also had very dependable internet connectivity, we went there for lunch with iPad and cell phones in hand to check email and work on this blog.
We ate inside this time, due to the weather being blustery and cold, and had yet another amazing lunch of fish soup (preparation of the day — not what we expected, but two bowls — one consisting of fish broth, and the other with the fixings including whole fish, served along with with empty soup bowls. Obviously the intent was that you served yourself from both and the fish/veggie bowl then enjoyed your “fish soup.”)
With that we had cabbage salad (their version of cole slaw, with shredded green cabbage and carrots smothered in olive oil and spices), skewered grilled chicked, and local white wine (he had run of rose “for the season”). After our fix of lunch and internet time, we returned to our studio for a siesta, which had become an enjoyable habit. This time, though, we could not blame the heat — do you suppose it was the wine?
After our siesta, we took a walk down to the harbor and had some (hot this time) cappuccino. Then we decided to again make it a light evening and have an early dinner. Once again we chose Ganossi as it was also noted for its pizza (finding pizza and gelatto, which are quintessentially Italian offerings, surprised us–but probably should not have given Greece’s close proximity to Italy). The pizza was fabulous, as was the (local) red wine that we enjoyed with it.
As we walked “home” the sky was clear, the temps were warming, and there was an almost full moon — how much better could it get?! We spent the rest of the evening enj0ying the night air on our balcony, then reading — watching TV was not even a bit tempting.
Have you guessed that we’re in love with this place and wanting to come back?