Leaving Athens after a week felt like leaving home. We knew the route from the hostel to Monastiraki by heart and found favorite spots that we claimed as “our place”. How could our second week in Nafplio measure up to the amazing experiences we had during our first week in Athens?
Spoiler alert: Nafplio is my new favorite place.
Our itinerary in Nafplio was just as jam packed as our Athens itinerary, but in a different way. Whereas in Athens we visited lots of museums and spent time in the city, in Nafplio the focus was on exercise and healthy lifestyle habits. This meant entire days devoted to hikes along the coast, boat rides to nearby islands for swimming and exploring, and long meals with friends.
However, despite all of our amazing planned activities, my favorite part of our course was starting out my days by swimming in the Mediterranean Sea.
Professor Sidossis let us know that he would be hiking down to the beach and that he urged us to join him for an “optional but highly recommended swim” each morning. Did I love getting up at 7 in the morning everyday? Nope. Was it worth it? Absolutely.
We met, half asleep and a little grumpy, in the hotel lobby at 7:30 am sharp. From the lobby we set out on the 10 minute walk down to the beach which was a beautiful experience by itself. To the left of the path was a rock wall lined with bright green cacti and colorful flowers. And when we looked down over the edge of the cliff to our right, turquoise waves lapped gently at the shore.
After our short and scenic walk, we end up at the beach. But this is not a beach, or “shore” like we call it in Jersey, that I was expecting. Instead of sand, the shore is rocky. And the beach features a bar by day, night club by night. I could get used to this…
Once I jump into the water though, it’s just me and nature. The water in the Mediterranean Sea is so salty that hardly any effort is needed to stay afloat, so we all float on our backs and stare up at the sky. From our vantage point we can see the Palamidi Fortress at the top of the mountain, the old town square around the corner, and the open sea all around.
These morning outings became something that I looked forward to the most because amidst all of the chaos of traveling and school, we found a moment to relax and reconnect with nature.
Moments like those made my trip to Greece unforgettable, and made me realize just how much this world has to offer, and that I cannot wait to discover more.