I fully understand that our trip can not continue without sunbathing. After all, we are in Greece in July. So I decide that the fifth day will be dedicated to touring small, romantic, not very popular beaches. Beaches that are usually included in the rankings of the “10 TOP beaches of the Peloponnese that you should not miss” type are located mostly around Kalamata, in the Gulf of Messenia. But we are too far from there and the local, still undiscovered, pearls should suffice.
This time we head to the west coast of our own Argol bay, hoping to find better spots than yesterday. The first thing that catches our eye is Paralia Viles, about 20 km from Naflio. Seen from the road, it looks perfectly azure and sparsely populated – exactly what we are looking for! We park on a rather narrow gravel spot by the road – having a tiny car sometimes has advantages. We descend to the beach by a set of metal spiral staircases, which can take only one beachgoer on the descent or ascent, but it is better to have them, rather than not having any, and they do a great job.
The beach is sandy-stony and the water is really very clear, but setting up an umbrella and especially keeping it against the strong breeze is an impossible task, except for the most prepared, who carry parachute ropes and spend a lot of time to place the umbrella. We don’t have such a professional rigging, so after 20 minutes of fastening, we gather the sails (the umbrella) and crawl next to the towels of a French family, who has taken refuge in the shade of the surrounding rocks and natural niches, but spends most of their time in the water, rather than in the shadows, so our intrusion is not so obvious.
By walking and swimming you can reach several other small beaches, similar to ours, and one of them is a private beach, adjasent to one of the villas up the road. The sand on the beach is so hot that you can only reach the water with flip-flops or protective shoes against sea urchins (which we often use when in Greece).
There aren’t that many people and I decide that now is the time to take unique shots of a “dream beach” from the air. It turns out that the view directly from above is not so different from the view from the road, so I let the machine go around the beaches north and south of us. It’s beautiful, but the sun is so strong, that the resulting shots are far from perfect!
After a while the heat becomes so unbearable that we decide to continue along the road in search of the next beach and if possible to eat something on the way, because it is approaching 15:00. The ideal opportunity, presenting to us is the roadside tavern Karadi, which has its own, quite nice beach in a small bay with natural caves. After a short but intense ethno-cultural dispute (in which I do not participate) whether the stuffed eggplant in the menu of the restaurant is something similar to the Greek moussaka or not at all, we eat heartily, order a couple of frappe coffees for the beach and after just a few steps we are already on the sunbeds by the water.
Here the water along the entire bay of Karakatsanis Beach is shallow enough, so it is relatively risk-free to step waist deep with a camera and take pictures of the surrounding rocks and caves from inside the bay. In the distance you can see the whole Argol bay and the rocky shores looming in the distance. This is one of the things I like most about sunbathing in Greece – due to the very rugged coastline you can almost always see other shores and even mountains in the distance, which brings a very different feeling. Due to physico-geographical conditions, one can never enjoy such view in Bulgaria seaside.
After 2-3 hours the sun begins to hide behind the hill overhanging the beach, and I have promised myself in the morning that at 19:00 I will be in Naflio for the “golden hour” to photograph the port, the city and the surrounding fortresses. We return in about 40 minutes and I head straight for the far end of the harbor, which was almost deserted the night before. Surprise! Today a big event with live music is in full force (the whole month of July in Naflio is filled with a festive program on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the Greek Revolution.) Obviously there is no option to launch a drone from the spot I planned. I put up with a curb near the port bars and take off.
I manage to take a few panoramic shots and a short video, then I land and walk with camera in hand through the narrow streets with beautiful houses, strewn with flowering shrubs in the tradition of the “white cities” of Southern Italy.
Tonight, for a change, we decide to have dinner in the more modern (read “the more miserable”) part of the city, and something more budget-friendly such as gyros. Somewhere I came across information that gyros is already a Greek national dish. It is true that it is widely available everywhere, regardless of the caliber of the city. I wondered why it was so popular and when it became so popular and searched the web.
I stumbled upon the quite implosable claim is that the gyros history dates back to the time of Alexander The Great, whose warriors strung pieces of meat on their swords to roast it on the fire (almost sounds like it was written by Northern Macedonian authors).
The other more plausible thesis is that gyros is a version of doner kebab, which appeared as a dish in Bursa during the Ottoman Empire and was imported by immigrants from Anatolia and the Middle East to Greece after World War II. The Greeks later developed their own version with pork and tzatziki sauce, which later became known as “gyros”. Choosing to eat a gyros portion even at a table with a waiter (rather than self-serving on foot) and with some drinks as an alternative to dinner or lunch at a tavern, can reduce your bill by about 30-50%.
As I eat and monitor the surrounding traffic, it strucks me that the carriage as a method of demonstrating status will obviously never die, probably even after all cars become electric and autonomous. This year, the Disney theme is obviously in fashion, because the local carriages are redecorated like Cinderella’s carriage and drive grinning children and their parents back and forth around the city all the time.
A walk through the old part of Naflio in the evening, when it is not excruciatingly hot, is very pleasant and I definitely recommend it.