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Trips from Zacharo, palace of Nestor

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Saturday 07 July, trips from Zacharo, palace of Nestor

The palace of Nestor, Peloponnesus The palace of Nestor, PeloponnesusOn Saturday we first go for a few hours to the beach and then drive inland, looking for the palace of Nestor. The remains of this palace are about 70 kilometers to the south and we are there in an hour. It is called the palace of Nestor because the remnants found resemble the detailed descriptions of his palace in the Iliad, in which the story of the war against Troy is told by Homer. Nestor was king of Pylos and was the oldest and most valued counselor in the army of the Greeks who fought against Troy. The word nestor, which indicates a venerable old man, is derived from him.
Bathroom in Nestor's palace The throne room in the palace of NestorThis Mycenaean palace was built in the 13th century BC. but around 1200 BC. destroyed by a violent fire. The palace is about 50 by 32 meters and the excavated foundations are completely covered to protect them from the weather. You can view everything via walkways and there are clear information signs. But you still need your imagination to imagine how people walked around here more than 3000 years ago. On the internet we read a lot of negative reviews of people who find the place boring but I do find it fascinating.
Telemachos, the son of Odysseus, would have stayed here in the palace when he went looking for his father who did not return after the end of the Trojan War. Nestor unfortunately could not help him and the young man traveled on to other Mycenaean kings. Through such stories, such a place comes to life much more.
Impression of the throne chamber, palace of Nestor That's what Nestor's palace must have looked likeThe reconstructions of the buildings (also on the basis of the descriptions in the Iliad) may not be perfect, but still show quite a modern building. It was built with wood, stone and clay and showed Minoan influences. About 1,000 clay tablets were also found with texts in Linear B, the script used by the Mycenaean civilization. The tablets are well preserved by the fire and were part of the palace archive but do not give a definite answer as to whether Nestor was a real historical figure.
An overgrown Mycenaean tholos, PeloponnesusNot far from the palace several tholos (beehive) tombs have been found, a sort of dome grave covered by earth. These, however, are less well maintained than the palace that has had a major makeover in recent years. Who knows what else is to be found in the neighborhood. Why was not I allowed to take my metal detector with me? Oh yes, you risk a prison sentence when they catch you!
The coast at Navarino The town of PylosThen we drive to the present day Pylos and around the bay of Navarino that is mainly known for the sea battle that was fought in 1827 between the English, French and Russians (led by a Dutchman) on the one hand and the Turks on the other side. The intention was to only intimidate the Turks, but it ended in a fierce sea battle in which the Turks were literally torpedoed to the bottom of the sea. It was a decisive event in the quest for the independence of Greece.
In Pylos we eat something but for the first time in Greece we are pretty dissatisfied with what we get: very little, not tasty and very expensive, we have not experienced that before. Hopefully it is a one-time thing.

Sunday 08 July 2018, castles and the Eiffel tower on the Peloponnesos

Fantasy castle at Navarino Beach Fairy tale castle at AgrilosYet we go back to this area the next day because there are some rarities to see, such as fairytale castles. Especially the castle in Agrilos is special: it is private property but we drive the access road towards it. We see some people behind the windows and do not want to be too obtrusive, so make some pictures and leave again. It was built in the 1960s by the American-Greek surgeon Haralampos Fournarakis.
Mini-Eiffel Tower in FiliatraAfter his retirement he returned to the town of his ancestors, opened a cultural center and decided to build a number of striking buildings. In addition to the fairytale castle, he also had a copy of the Eiffel tower built, which you would not expect here at all. According to one source, it is 18 meters high, another says 26 meters but we have not measured it. If you compare it with the real Eiffel tower there are quite a few differences in details and unfortunately we could not figure out the reason why he had this tower built. The fact is that Filiatra got the nickname Little-Paris after that.
This type of construction is also called a folly, a purposeless and useless building. Elisabeth collects photos of follies on her website if you want to see some more.
Remains of a grave, Peristeria Restored tholos, PeristeriaAt Kalo Nero we go inland to view the excavation at Peristeria. Here was an administrative center with a fortified city which prospered around 1500 BC. There are 3 tholos tombs found, one of which has been completely restored. Although the tombs were already plundered in ancient times, archeologists still made all sorts of discoveries during excavations in the 1960s and 1970s, including gold jewelery. It also turned out that there were trade contacts with the Minoan civilization in Crete.
Unfortunately, the battery of the camera is empty when I want to take some more detailed pictures and I have no reserve at hand.
We drive on to Olympia where the Olympic games were held in ancient times. The excavation area we visited extensively a few years ago, so now we limit ourselves to a terrace and the Archimedes museum, but that appears to be an exact copy of the technical museum in Katakolo that we visited 2 weeks ago.
A stormy sea The beach at ZacharoThen it's time for the beach again, to relax, although that is not easy in the rough water. There is a lot more wind and we are occasionally sandblasted. So we don't stay for a long time and go back to our apartment early. It is our last night here and we still have to pay. That's why we decide to have a drink in the restaurant of Theodore, our landlord.
We already knew we should not eat here: not because the food is bad, but last time we had to wait almost an hour for food. And now it takes at least 20 minutes before we can even order anything. There are a few people, but the staff pretends to serve a room full of dozens of people. They run back and forth but in reality there is very little happening and it takes another long wait before we have our drinks. To pay a little faster we walk to the bar and if there is money to be made, Theodore comes out of the kitchen quickly. Because we have reserved directly with him and not through a reservation website, we pay quite little for the apartment (€ 30 per night) and we receive the drinks for free. A great place to stay if you can handle the enthusiasm of the owner.
Although we will not leave until tomorrow morning, we are already enthusiastically waved off and we have to shake hands with the whole family. Bad luck for the customers, they have to wait even longer!


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