Last night we left Crete from Heraklion on the 2130 ferry and arrived into Pirreus Harbour at 0630. We were met by Maria with our new driver, Stathis as Tassos our recent driver had taken his father to hospital for an operation and was unable to be with us, he will be missed by all. Our breakfast was in the Coral Hotel overlooking the sea and was a wonderful experience looking out over the sea from the 7th Floor on such a beautiful morning. Following breakfast we headed out on another adventure, this time to the Peloponnese but first we stopped at the Corinth Canal for a presentation about when the German paratroopers descended on the bridge but in the end could not stopping it being blown. The Corinth Canal cuts through the Isthmus to the Gulf of Corinth and this saves a 210 kilometre trip around the bottom of the Peloponnese.
A coffee break before we were on the road again and we called into the ancient city of Corinth and the Temple of Apollo, period 800 to 600BC. There are only a few ruins to view as the Romans destroyed the city due to its defence from their attacks. Julius Caesar actually rebuilt the city as a Roman city but over the many centuries the earthquakes have destroyed what the Romans rebuilt. The new city is away located from the mountains and is the second largest city in the Peloponnese.
Continuing our travels, we headed to Navplion, one of the most beautiful cities in Greece and one of the most historical as when freedom from the Otomans was achieved it became the capital of Greece for a short time. It also has some wonderful Venetion architecture in the old town including the castle on the original Acropolis. Navplion was one of the evacuation beaches and from here 11,200 men were successfully evacuated. Lunch in Navplion and then further south to Kalamatta over the mountains where our fellows had travelled in April 1941 as they moved further south the evacuation beaches there.
Dave's father, Nicci's grandfather and Gavin's great uncle were all fortunate to be evacuated but 8,000 were not and most ended the war as POWs. Many however took to the hills and were then taken off by Destroyers or escaped by their own means. There are many a story to be told how those resourceful fellows survived and escaped.
This has been a long day for all, especially Stathis but in the end we arrived at the beautiful Hotel Asty at Olympia where we will be staying the next 2 nights. After dinner we adjourned to the terrace by the pool to watch the sun disappear over the mountains to the West. Tomorrow we will be visiting the original site of the Olympic games.