Friday, June 1, 2012

Nafplio, Greece: The Lower Town

This is the second part of our tour of historic Nafplio. The commercial town is built on a peninsula below the limestone hill on which the Venetian Palamidi fortress is situated. Unlike Athens and many other Greek towns, Nafplio was spared the worst of the post-World War II building boom, when characteristic and elegant late-1800s buildings were torn down and replaced with mass-produced concrete boxes.



The touristic center town is Plateia Syntagmatos (Constitution Square). I remember years ago when it was asphalt and rather grungy, with traffic. Then, about 15 years ago, an energetic major cleaned it up and paved it with marble. Now it is rimmed with caf├ęs, restaurants, and boutiques. When it is wet, the surface is slick. (The photographs above are scans of Kodachrome 25 film, taken through a 20 mm Russar lens on a Leica M3 rangefinder camera).

The side streets are pretty interesting. This one leads west away from the Plateia. The shops on the right are built into a former mosque.

They squeeze some pretty small shops into odd corners.

This narrow lane is west of the Plateia. The restaurants here are cheaper and better than the ones along the waterfront.

The scene above was taken from a rather basic hotel where the family and I stayed in 1992. The view down the street was interesting, but one night was enough. (Scanned from a Kodachrome slide exposed through a 135 mm Tele-Elmar Leica lens).

The view directly down included this genuine Mini - a perfect car for narrow Greek streets.

On another street, an old Austin or Morris car. The body shop in town must have had a sale on yellow paint.

A surprising number of buildings are deserted or have absentee owners.

An abandoned shop, which once would have been a typical neighborhood store with groceries and odds and ends.

Near the store in the previous scene was this abandoned swimming pool.

I would think swimming in the sea would be more fun, but one day in 2005, we saw these things bobbing in the bay. No swim that day.

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