A story of how I went abroad, and how York followed me.
Well, I’m not sitting indoors all day. I may have just arrived, I may be recovering from the double-whammy of the worst sunburn and the worst hotel breakfast I’ve ever experienced, but I’m not kicking my heels with this paperback all day. This is still Greece, and I’m still exploring. Michael Palin wouldn’t sit here reading Himalaya, he’d know the ending for a start but more than that, he’s an explorer. So go explore, matey.
There isn’t a single wrong colour in Nafplio.
The only sound you can hear is the sizzle of things baking: roof tiles, plants, mopeds, the dregs in coffee cups. Any noise you make is suppressed faster than a singing nun in Hania – it’s just too hot for any real sound. In Britain, beer-garden parasols are slightly ironic: here, they’re an act of mercy.
Now, there’s some kind of fort around here somewhere, isn’t…?
Ah. That’ll be it.
Well, you know, Himalaya is actually a really good book, and it would be nice to finish it before…no no NO. Jason and the Argonauts, Mike. Herodotus. Alan Whicker. Get a grip. Be a hero. Now walk. Hut hut hut.
Type: Venetian military fortress, est. 1711-1714; Turk control 1715-1822; Greek control 1822 to present day.
Steps: oh, you wouldn’t believe.
Can I die now? I’d like to die now.
Number of steps: 857.
Height: around 215 metres.
Once above the town, the sea air wafts against you as you clamber up in the shade of the impossibly solid-looking bulk slabbing against the sky. I lose count of the number of times the defenders would have been able to pick me off with ease, or with something more effective like bullets or bloody great pieces of rock. It’s formidable. I’m truly formidablised.
If I look back, I can probably see the whole of…oh blimey.
Several hundred years later, I reach the top. I sit for a while.
I see something that makes me think of Evel Knievel.
Greece has the best blue in the whole world.
While I’m sat there, I hear someone say, very distinctly, the un-Hellenic phrase “Eeee, I’m knackered”.
That’s Kate. She was there with her boyfriend Travis.
And they’re from Escrick, just 6 miles away from my home in England.
York? You are creepy.
(All photos, M. Sowden 2007).