After our thoroughly stimulating visit to Mycenae, Evy insisted that we go into Napflion for lunch at the culture and craft center where she has friends and participates in exhibitions and workshops. The cultural center, called Fougaro, or Chimney, is the brainchild of a woman who is heir to a bauxite fortune, and is located in an old canning
factory. We were most impressed! The site is enormous, and includes not only a hip and well-designed cafe with good food, but art workshops for kids and craftspeople, and an amazingly good art library, with current subscriptions to all the art magazines and The New Yorker and TLS. And this in a seaside town of about 10,000!
But Napflion is special. Here the First Hellenic Republic was founded, the Constitution was written, and the town was the Greek State’s capital from the end of the revolution in 1821 until 1834. Before that it was ruled by the Venetians from the 13th century until the 18th century. Its location on the sea has made it more cosmopolitan than its size would indicate. And what a lovely location!
Walking around the town, one sees substantial and prosperous buildings dating from the Neoclassical era, and into the mid-19th century–the kind of houses that have disappeared in Athens. Its seaside promenade is classic: overpriced fish restaurants and small tourist hotels line the harbor, and an old fort stands guard over the entrance to the port.
It was on this walkway that Evy took the photo of us above. Here we are in Napflion, Greece, on our 42nd wedding anniversary! (The hill above our heads is the site of a Venetian fortress/palace.) Not a bad place to be, eh?
Because Evy knows the place so well, she took us to one of her friends and colleagues’ workshop, an incredible weaver named Maria Gonidou. Her things were so elegant and we were so impressed with her extraordinary loom that I actually convinced George that he needed a scarf from her. So I was able to buy him an anniversary present of a hand-woven Merino wool scarf that I hope he has for many years to come.
Finally, Evy pointed out Napflion’s other current claim to fame: it is the home to a host of makers of one of Greece’s well-known commodities, worry beads! There must be 10 shops making worry beads of all descriptions and sizes. Who knew that they were made out of so many fine materials?
I can see why Napflion is a favorite resort town for Athenians: only an hour and a half away from the city, and filled with beautiful buildings, interesting sites and good places to eat!