Return to Nafplio.
People always say the early bird gets the worm, well a 5 a.m. wake up got me my worm of the day! The return to Nafplio is rushing through my mind while my heavy eyes attempt to stay open. I stumbled around to collect all my last minute belongings and made my way to the car so we can start our journey.
After the hour and half ferry and three hours of driving, we finally made it to Nafplio. The sun beamed down on us as we all grabbed our belongings needed for the day excursion. We were making a plan on a time and place to meet until a little girl around age eight walked up to us. She was wearing pink sweatpants that were covered in dirt, a blue tank top that had stains on the front and ratty flip-flops. She was begging for money and saying that she was a “dirty baby.” She approached every single one of us directly, getting into our personal space. It was hard to ignore her because she was standing literally against you begging. It was very difficult for me to ignore her and to not give her money because she was so young. Although I only had a 50 euro on me and I was not going to give her that. She begged around us even after saying “oxi” (no in Greek) until we walked away from us. As we walked away I looked back to see her walk back over to her parents who were sitting in the distance. They were dressed in much nicer clothing then she was and had defiantly showered and cleaned themselves up unlike the little girl. I can only think that the parents were using their daughter to beg for money. I do not understand how any parent could ever use their children as tools to gain money. It made me sad that the little girl is being taught to beg, rather then to receive through hard work. Throughout the day I saw a few other cases where the parents were using their children to make a higher profit. One man walked with his son and daughter while playing the accordion. The son could not have been older then five and the daughter older then seven. He walked slowly playing through the busy streets while the children walked up to strangers with their hands out asking for money.
Besides seeing the children being used I had a wonderful day. The day was filled with many laughs, sunshine and shopping. The six girls broke off from the boys. As we wandered through the shopping center that was once very quiet, I realized we were in a different Nafplio then before. When we came during the off-season most of these shops were very quiet with little to nothing in them. Now after only a short month the stores were full of souvenirs. People were pushing to get in and out of the stores, making purchases left and right. There were children screaming and running in the square that was once silent. Nafplio was a different place then I had once experienced. It turned form a quiet town with many locals to a tourist strip.
After a few hours of wandering the town it was time to meet up for the early dinner. We decided to return to the first restaurant, One Stage Place of Taste, we went to with Ioanna. We browsed through the menu trying to figure out what we had ordered originally with Ioanna. We determined that we had ordered the zucchini balls, stuffed red peppers with feta cheese dip, cabbage salad, French fries, and pork bites with red wine sauce. We additionally ordered spicy potatoes. The food was good but it was not as delicious as we all remembered. I was just ready to get to Antica Gelataria.
The line for Antica Gelataria was long and hectic as everyone just poured into the ice cream parlor. I quickly moved over to the fruit gelato to order. I found myself torn between ordering café and coconut in a waffle cone, which I have ordered every visit before or to switch up the flavors. As I began to order I found myself sticking with the café coconut before I even processed that she asked for my order. I was so excited to just be there again and to taste the best gelato I have ever tasted again, I could not break away from my original flavors. It was delicious as ever and in the end I am happy I stuck with the café coconut.
As we walked back toward the car the streets were a little bit quieter. It was around five so many of the tourist and visitors were in cafes eating and socializing. I took in a deep breath as we walked close to the coastline, I felt the same love I originally felt for Nafplio as the noise of the crowd faded away.