Last night we left Crete from Heraklion on the 2130 ferry and arrived into Pirreus Harbour at 0630. We were met by both Maria and Tassos our excellent driver. 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 the German paratroopers descending on the bridge in order to capture it intact so as to make their chase of our retreating force easier. But due to a lucky shot, it was 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. Nero thought it a good idea but did not have the expertise to take on such a project.
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 which meant that those living there were classified as Roman citizens. It is in ruins now as over the many centuries the earthquakes have destroyed what the Romans rebuilt. The new city is located away 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 2 years until the capital moved to Athens after the Turks were completely expelled form Greece. 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.
Tim's father made the long trip to Kalamatta and was fortunate to be evacuated to Crete. At Kalamatta, many were left on the beach when the arriving Germans precluded sending more ships in to try to evacuate those left. 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 Tassos but in the end we arrived at the beautiful Hotel Asty at Olympia where we will be staying the next 2 nights. Tomorrow we will be visiting the original site of the Olympic games.