We’ve been here quite a few nights: Not many miles travelled: No more countries since the last time!
Both my Mother and Grandmother regularly used pressure cookers when I was a child but we were also fed stories about exploding stews and soup being sprayed all over the walls. That, along with the horrid hissing sound they made meant that we avoided the kitchen as though there was an unstable nuclear reactor being used to cook dinner.
So it was a big decision to buy a pressure cooker as part of our preparations for the trip. They cook faster than a conventional pan so use a lot less fuel and modern pressure cookers are lighter with more safety features. Nevertheless I watch and listen the whole time it is on the heat. But this was my only concern on Christmas morning. We made avgolemono (egg-lemon chicken soup) and hirino me prasa (pork, fennel and leek ragout) to share with other lovely Brits for lunch. Chris and Catherine cooked a delicious lamb kleftiko while David and Carol provided the essential roast potatoes and pigs in blankets (it just wouldn’t be Christmas without them.) There wasn’t a brussel sprout or a mince pie in sight and nor did I miss the hours of traditional peeling, stuffing and basting.
Our campsite is about half way along the beach at Drepano. There are strange rock formations along the water’s edge but the water is Greek clear and it is easy to spot and avoid the sea urchins that cling to them. Small boats regularly fish the bay against the backdrop of islands and distant mountains.
The western end of the beach is buttressed by the fortified acropolis of Asine, an ancient city that participated in the Trojan war. Little remains after it was used as a gun emplacement by Italian troops during the second world war.
The village is in easy walking distance and there is a lively village community.
Local shops had a warm festive buzz on Christmas eve and we have been wished ‘kali hronia’ countless times over the new year.
Nafplio was the capital of the newly formed Greek state in the 19th century and the old town is the most beautiful we have seen in Greece. There is plenty to see and do but we love just to sit with a coffee and watch people go by.
Epiphaneia is marked on January 6th by a blessing of the waters where a cross is thrown into the sea at the end of a religious ceremony. The cross is then retrieved by local volunteers. We were unaware of this tradition and arrived in Nafplio just as the parades had ended. If I had realised we were missing the sight of young men diving into the harbour I’m sure I would have got out of bed an hour or two earlier.
We have so enjoyed travelling over the last six months that we wondered how we’d ever manage life in one place again. However we are well into our fourth week in Drepano and can’t imagine wanting to leave. We occasionally get the maps and guides out….and then they are put away again. So we aren’t putting ourselves under any pressure to make firm plans in the hope that we find ourselves back on the road without even noticing.
Happy New Year!
M & G xx
Treat of the week: The phrase ‘oranges are in season’ will always take us back to being surrounded by them over Christmas 2015