A Voyage into the Light: Discovering the Argolis in  Henry Miller's Footsteps

 

American writer Henry Miller in his book “The Colossus of Marousi” leads us on a “voyage which began at Poros and ended at Tripolis perhaps two months later” - only months before the outbreak of World War 2

 

It was a voyage into the light. The earth became illuminated by her own inner light. At Mycenae I walked over the incandescent dead; at Epidaurus I felt a stillness so intense that for a fraction of a second I heard the great heart of the world beat and I understood the meaning of pain and sorrow: at Tyrins I stood in the shadow of the cyclopean man and felt the blaze of that inner eye which has now become a sickly gland: at Argos the whole plain was a fiery mist in which I saw the ghosts of our own American Indians and greeted them in silence. I moved about in a detached way, my feet flooded with the earthly glow. I am in Corinth in a rose light, the sun battling the moon, the earth turning slowly with its fat ruins, wheeling in light like a waterwheel reflected in a still pond…. In each place I open a new vein of experience, a miner digging deeper into earth, approaching the heart of the star which is not yet extinguished. The light is no longer solar or lunar; it is the starry light of the planet to which man has given life. The earth is alive to its innermost depths; at the center it is a sun in the form of a man crucified. The sun bleeds on its cross in the hidden depths. The sun is man struggling to emerge towards another light. From light to light, from calvary to calvary. The earth song…

 

We suggest seven different and independent excursions on Henry Miller’s traces to our visitors. Each excursion is a day trip. We use the Catamaran and the hydrofoil for our sea trips, a limo and a driver or a hired car for the inland transportation. For lunch or refreshment we gladly prepare a rich and tasty Greek picnic basket for our guests including wine from the Argolis region or alternatively suggest local restaurants of distinct quality and character.Each excursion is shortly described, referring to distances, road conditions, special features en route, and schedules when necessary. Detailed literature may be suggested and provided, in English or Greek language. Every exchange of impressions with our guests is most welcome and even hoped for!

 

1. Poros and Hydra:

...suddenly I realized that we where sailing through the streets. If there is one dream which I like above all others it is that of sailing on land. Coming into Poros gives the illusion of the deep dream.. Our destination was Hydra.. This purity, this wild and naked perfection of Hydra, is in a great part due to the spirit of the men who once dominated the island...

 

Daytrip by catamaran from Poros to Hydra – discovering Hydra – return by hydrofoil in the late afternoon. A relaxing trip of unbelievable beauty, 10.00 am – 18.00pm approx , map of Hydra provided, restaurant on Hydra may be recommended.

 

 

2. Mycenae and Tyrins:

...At Mycenae the gods once walked the earth, of that there can be no question. And at Mycenae the progeny of these same gods produced a type of man who was artistic to the core and at the same time monstrous in his passions.. At Tyrins the day before I was introduced to the Cyclopean world...

 

Daytrip by car to Tyrins and Mycenae, about 2 hours drive one way, picnic suggested.

 

 

3. Nauplia and Epidaurus:

"…I don’t like Nauplia. I don’t like provincial towns. I don’t like jails, churches, fortresses, palaces, libraries, museums, or public statues to the dead… We awoke early and hired a car to take us to Epidaurus. The day began in sublime peace.. indeed I venture to say that there is more of Mozart here than anywhere else in the world. The road to Epidaurus is like the road to creation... I never knew the meaning of peace until I arrived at Epidaurus...”

 

Daytrip by car to the most beautiful town of Nauplia, first capital of the modern Greek state in 1823, suggestions to visit Palamidi Castle and the old town center, and Epidaurus, recommendation for lunch at Drepano.

 

 

4. Argos:

...Can I be sure there never where Indians here? Everything connected with Argos, shimmering now in the distance as in romantic illustrations for text-books, smacks of the American Indian. I must be crazy to think thus, but I am honest enough to admit the thought. Argos gleams resplendent, a point of light shooting arrows of gold into the blue. Argos belongs to myth and fable: her heroes never took on flesh...

 

Daytrip to Argos, the eldest city in Europe, built in the shade of the hill of Larisa with natural defense props of the Aspida Castle. The most ancient traces found in the city date back to 2000 BC. About 1 hour and 45 minutes drive one way, map available, restaurtants suggested.

 

 

5. The Canal of Corinth, ancient Corinth and Acro-Corinth:

...at the canal we stop a moment. First touch of red; something distinctly Egyptian about the Corinth canal..
Old Corinth is several miles away, built on a piece of rising ground overlooking a waste land. In the light of a wintry afternoon the site takes on a prehistoric aspect. Above the ruins rises the Acro-Corinth, a sort of Aztec mesa on which, one might easily believe, the bloodiest sacrificial rites were performed.
Once amidst the ruins the whole impression changes. The great plinth of the Acro-Corinth now looms soft and ingratiating, a giant megalith which has grown a coat of wool. Every minute that passes sheds a new lustre, a new tenderness, upon the scene…

 

For this daytrip we are driving further the Argolis province to Corinth, trip by car takes about 2 hours and 20 minutes one way, there are various “truck drivers’ inns” on the road, a lovely little tavern on the old canal crossing, a picnic basket is recommended anyhow, due to duration of trip.

 

 

6. Sparta and Mystra:

...Sparta seemed even more appealing to me than at first blush. It seemed very like Sparta, is what I thought – which is a meaningless phrase and yet exactly what I mean… If you think about it all, Sparta must give rise to an image exactly the contrary of Athens. In fact, the whole Peloponnesus seems inevitably to awaken a suggestion of notness. Against the brilliant, diamond-pointed Attica one posits an obstinate sloth which resists not for any good reason but for the perverted pleasure of resisting...

 

Our most demanding excursion, about 3 hours drive one way, leads again out of the Argolis Province, via Nauplia and Tripolis in Arcadia Province to Laconia’s capital Sparta and the remains of the Byzantine fortified town of Mystra. The ruins of ancient Sparta are merely existing and even difficult to find. Mystra, of outstanding beauty and newer historical importance, leaves deep impressions on the visitor. Restaurants suggested.

 

 

7. South along the Argolis coast to Ermioni – Kranidi – Porto Cheli optional set over to Spetses:

...When we took the boat for Spetsai Katsimbalis was still talking. The two of us were going alone. Spetsai was only a few hours away.. As we neared our destination it began to sprinkle a bit. We got into a small boat and were rowed ashore, Katsimbalis remarking that the place looked strange, that perhaps we had pulled in to the opposite side of the island. We got out of the small boat and walked along the quay. Suddenly we were standing in front of a war monument and to my surprise Katsimbalis began to laugh. I’m crazy, he said, this isn’t Spetsai, this is Ermioni – we’re on the mainland...

 

This daytrip combines car trip and ferryboat ride. It is a ride through beautiful Mediterranean countryside. Driving along the southern Argolis coast, past lemon groves and lovely little bays, we arrive at Porto Cheli after about 1,5 hours. Weather permitting a picnic combined with a swim in the crystal clear sea is obligatory. Travelling with our limo service you may continue the excursion by sea. Our driver shall then leave you at Porto Cheli. From Porto Cheli ferries connect to Spetses, from where we take the afternoon boat back to Poros. Suggested Picnic on the way, coffee and sweets on Spetses, or alternatively restaurants recommended on the island of Spetses.