Sparta - Mystras
Before we left Nafplio we drove down to the local beach - quite nice with small white pebbles, small new bathing stalls that you would store beach umbrella, some chairs and beach equipment. An interesting coast to swim, not a ripple on the water!
Off to Sparta and after travelling for 15 minutes Di remembers passports!!!! They are in the safe at Nafplio - luckily she remembered as the next time we would need them is tonight and that is likely to be 5 o'clock and a hundred kilometres away. We may stop using safes as it all seems quite safe, famous last words???
Arrived in Sparta, a town of about 15,000, fairly dense as are all the towns, quite a lively Greek town, ie not a tourist town. Being Sunday lots going on at local tavernas. We had coffee and realized that we are opposite the museum we wanted to visit - Sundays are free! Good small museum of Spartan artifacts, no one else there but overstaffed as usual.
On to Mystras, a Byzantine fortified town built in 1260, again on a strategic hill overlooking a fertile valley. The highest part was the most fortified and is about 670m so quite a climb! After climbing to the fortress we also visited the palace which is undergoing restoration work. It is a very large 3-4 storey building which will be used for conferences etc. The lower area had houses, churches, a large monastery and a very sophisticated museum housed in a restored Byzantine house around a central courtyard - very attractive. The fortified area is about 500 metres above the town of Mystras where we are staying. We are in a good small hotel on the main street with large pool and great views. Our balcony, where we are now seated and having a beer at 7 pm, is opposite a number of tavernas and looks back to the square and the historic site on the hill above the town.