Our plumes will blot out the sun

Wow. A huge wall of dark smoke has just obscured the eastern Peloponnese across the bay; must be a new battlefront opening up in southern Greece's war against forest fires. Three large beige seaplanes, presumably the water-dumpers used to fight fires, have just flown overhead. Something tells me I'd better check the news before heading down the coast…

Top of the world

Palamidi Fort, high above the town.

I like towns with upper and lower sides; a bit of geography, topography, up and down bits to keep things interesting. (It was the only decent concept in Dave Sim's warrior aardvark comic: an upper and lower city connected by a staircase so long that if you fell down it you had a major expedition on your hands.)

I must have sweated off the entire 1.5l bottle of water climbing 400-odd steps, but the view is worth it. I've fallen for this little town in a crushing, futile, she's-a-decade-younger-and-dates-guys-with-much-more-money kind of way. There's a three-storey wreck on the hillside near my inn, and I'm seriously considering making 'em an offer.

I think Thermopylae and Delphi are off my itinerary now; there's so much in the Peloponnese and heading for Northern Greece (which means a trip back to Athens) would take three days out of my precious 'miniature gap year'. The events that defined western civilisation happened here, in the Peloponnese: there's enough here to fill the next twelve days.