We arrived in Napflion after a drive through Argos, all the time Ted telling us about the history of the area. The town of Napflion was built by the Venetians, and later (like all of Greece) taken over by the Ottoman Empire until the Greek war of liberation in 1821.
The town is built on the Argolic Gulf in the northeast Peloponnese. Most of the old town is on a peninsula jutting into the gulf; this peninsula forms a naturally protected bay. The town was the capital of the first Hellenic Republic from 1821 to 1847, and boy howdy, it’s quite beautiful: marble streets, a grand piazza of Italian design, picturesque churches and hotels climbing up the hill towards the old fortress, which dominates the town.
We checked into our hotel, some of us opting for rest, while others explored the town below. My room was over 250 years old, and was built into the hillside like a brick line cave! Very mysterious and evocative!
On our way out of town, we stopped at an organic Florina pepper factory and restaurant, run by two brothers who were as passionate about ther products as one can be. There were peppers stuffed with crisp cabbage, smoked peppers, pickled peppers, pepper flakes, pepper powder, marinated peppers and dried peppers, peppers mixed with tomatoes, peppers mixed with eggplant, sun dried and stewed. The quality was so wonderful that it was hard to decide what to buy.
Our dinner destination was Konto Soros in Xino Nero, where the owner chef has lovingly recreated and elevated Florina cuisine to a new gastronomic level. Our host was the charming Angelos Iatridis, founder and owner of Alpha Winery, makers of world class wine based on traditional Greek and French varietals.
We arrived home late from Sigalas’ cousin’s home – past two a.m., and had to be up and ready by 5. The winds had been increasing in intensity all day, and by the time i went to bed, they were howling. I was able to fall asleep, but only for few moments, as the sound of the winds were increasing even more.
Today was a day of exploring the island a bit and taking it easy. I woke early, as is my norm, and had breakfast on my terrace overlooking the sea. It was considerably cooler today, which was a welcome relief.
If you were to Google `Santorini wine`, or `Greek White Wine` , chances are you’d come up with an article or a mention of Paris Sigalas – arguably one of the world’s great winemakers and the master of the Assyrtiko grape.
I’d met Mr. Sigalas before in San Francisco, and had a lovely evening with him and Ted Diamantis at my friend Sara Floyd’s home several years ago. He’s an articulate and passionate ambassador for Greek culture and wine, and today we were spending the day with him in the vineyards and at his winery.
I woke up to a glorious day at 7 a.m. Seemingly I had already adjusted to European time, and didn’t feel jet lagged at all- the sun was shining and it was already warm. I looked out of my hotel window to see the Acropolis in the morning light, and folks eating breakfast in the courtyard below.
I arrived in Athens after a long and not particularly arduous flight (SFO to Paris, short layover, Paris to Athens) at around 10:30 p.m. The airport was empty and I retrieved my luggage almost immediately, found a cab for the ride to the Electra Palace Hotel in the Plaka section of Athens.