Saturday, January 27, 2018

How Sweet that Taste of Tripoli!

No, not that Tripoli.

Not the one in Libya. And for that matter, not the one in Lebanon.

I am talking. . .‘our’ Tripoli – the one in the Greek Peloponnese. The one located about half way between our home in The Mani to its west as it is from Athens to its east.  A two hour drive from either direction will get you there.

Tripoli - the heart of Arcadia
Overview of Tripoli  Photo credit: traveltripolis.gr

It’s one of the largest cities in the prefecture of Arcadia, And it boasts a population of somewhere between 26,000 and 42,000 depending on which Greek statistics you want to use. We know its a big city because it rates more than one exit from the Athens – Kalamata highway.

I have to admit we've driven past those exits numerous times - as we've done with other such cities and villages along our route -- speculating on whether or not to go explore. Other ex pats had recommended the place for car repairs or for shopping. Certainly, not for a getaway. 

But on this particular trip we decided it was time to check out the neighbor to our north.

The distance between the highway and the city center is a long boring stretch of unimaginative buildings that house car repair shops and industrial equipment (down-right dull and certainly not inviting) that we could understand why no one we knew went there for a get-away.

But after that introduction, we were blown away by the city itself!

It was a treat to arrive at the main square, a bustling place where cars and pedestrians jostled for space. We found a curb-side parking spot several blocks away and set off to find our hotel with the clack-clack-clack rhythm of our suitcase wheels alerting those we passed, that tourists had arrived in town.

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St. Basil's Square Tripoli
Past the towering Metropolitan Church of St. Basil, which was built on the site of former the Beqir Pasha Mosque.  Who knew such a structure with such history would be this town’s centerpiece?

We were in search of a 4-star hotel that had been highly recommended on a number of traveler review sites. A 4-star. . .in this Tripoli!?  Somewhat skeptical, (based on our preconceived notions of the city), we decided to take a look before we booked a room there. A few stops to ask directions and we arrived at the Hotel Anaktourikon (also called Anactoricon) – the oldest hotel in the city.  Those travelers reviews had not steered us wrong! It was 4-star!

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We arrived at the Hotel Anaktoricon Tripoli
We'd just arrived at what turned out to be one of the nicest hotels we’ve ever stayed at in Greece – and we’ve stayed in quite a few. Its location on Ethnikis Antistaseos, one of the city’s many pedestrian streets that branch off St. Basil’s Square, was perfect for strolling to the town’s many dress, gift and bookshops, cafes, bakeries and restaurants.

Being off-season there was availability and we could choose the room we wanted. After looking at a couple we chose one with a balcony overlooking the pedestrian street. The bed was as comfortable as a Marriott bed and a 2016 renovation had made the hotel’s interior simply stunning.

Gallery image of this property
A room at Hotel Anaktoricon - Tripoli, Photo credit: Hotel Anaktoricon
The room rate 65-euros ($77US) included a buffet breakfast – a perk that as is pretty typical at many Greek hotels. What wasn’t typical was the massive buffet feast we found waiting for us the next morning.

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Breakfast buffet was included in the room rate at Hotel Anaktorikon Tripoli
After getting settled for our overnight stay we set off to make the most of the remaining daylight hours. Back we went to St. Basil Square to begin our explorations. 

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Newspapers on paper are alive and well in Greece
While in the United States the general feeling is that 'print media' is going the way of the dinosaur, as a former newspaper reporter, I am delighted to tell you there’s no such thoughts here – print-on-paper media is alive and well as evidenced by this display outside a grocery store.

Directly across the square from the church we found the somewhat famous Mega Kafenion, the Grand Cafe, a place that has drawn locals and visitors for more than a century and has become a trademark of Tripoli. Elderly Greek men gathered around several tables played Backgammon and sipped Greek coffees at the time of day we stopped by.

PicMonkey Collage
Mega Kafenion, the Grand Café, is a trademark of Tripoli

Back down the pedestrian street we went past one of the city's many museums, this one the Archaeological Museum, housed in one of the stunning neoclassical buildings - there are many such buildings here. Past the Malliaropouleio Theatre, that overlooks another of the city’s squares, Petrinou Square.  Open since 1905, two theatre groups are based here and give performances and host events throughout the year.

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Malliaropouleio Theater - Tripoli
People watching is made easy in this town. Beautifully decorated cafes and bars have interior and outside seating that open onto the pedestrian streets. It was difficult to choose which one to use as a viewing stand but we finally chose a place about two blocks from the hotel called the Chocolate Bistro.

PicMonkey Collage
A chocolate bistro - our kind of place Tripoli
We strolled the well-lit pedestrian streets, ate dinner, and visited stores until late into the evening. A final stop at Areos (the Courthouse) Square, bordered by a large park to one side and cafes on the other, it begged for a return visit when we had more time to spend here.

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Areos Square - Tripoli
Our taste of this Tripoli was enough to bring us back again. For you outdoor enthusiasts, there is seasonal mountain climbing and skiing on nearby Mount Mainalo. There is plenty to see and do in the city - we'd recommend picking up a copy of the tourist guide that offers information and maps in Greek and English.
 
It is definitely worthy of a 'get-away' whether you live just down the road as we do or are visiting the Peloponnese as a tourist!

Travel Tip:  We found that hotel we stayed in on Booking.com. When I put in my date the site said, 'One room left. 125-euros’.  Knowing it was off-season and the likelihood of the hotel having only one room left, we decided we’d go directly to the hotel and check it out first.  As I said above, we had a choice of rooms and paid 65-eruos.  Just sayin’ . . .

For more information on Tripoli check out their tourist website at http://www.traveltripolis.gr  (its in Greek and English).

That’s it for this week. Safe travels to you and yours. Hope to see you back here next week. Bring some friends and family with you!  Thanks again for the time you spend with us!

Linking this week with:
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday – 
Photo Friday
Weekend Travel InspirationBest of Weekend

28 comments:

  1. Very interesting! Apart from the bus station and passing by on the motorway we have yet to visit Tripoli... great to see your photos.

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    1. It really was a great stay - we are looking forward to a return visit with a few more museum visits included!

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  3. Thank you for the nice post. There are rarely any articles in the media about Tripoli, it is quite underestimated. I have family from Tripoli and have spent many summers there since childhood-I appreciated the post.

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    1. Elena - what a treat to here from you! So glad you liked the article and how lucky to have family there so that you can visit!! Keep in touch!

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  4. I liked your comment about the fact that the city is so big it has two exit signs from the highway. Haha!! You are really making me homesick with all those photos.

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    1. Actually I am making myself homesick with all these photos as well, Mary! (And glad you recognized the significance of two exits!)

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  5. I remember passing through (or by) Tripoli but you surely make it sound enticing as a place to spend a couple of days!

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    1. We certainly didn't give it enough time. . .way too much to see there to get it covered in a few hours. We will go back soon I hope!

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  6. I've never been here before, and I'm astounded at how green it looks from the air. :-)

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    1. It is on the edge of our wine country and the olive groves and orange groves and truck gardens to green up the scenery from above.

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  7. Looks like a beautiful place to visit!

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  8. What great photos - looks like you had a wonderful time visiting Tripoli.
    Thanks for linking up at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2018/01/fun-with-textures-in-photoshop.html

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  9. Thanks for educating me (I didn't know there was another Tripoli!) and also for the hotel tip. We are planning an off-season trip and I think I'll try your hotel trick:-)

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    1. We've now had a couple experiences where that booking site led us to believe the rooms were scarce, but when we checked with and booked directly with the hotel, we've had a choice and the rates were better.

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  10. It feels good to visit a place that is close to you yet so far in a way. I love to take short trips from home. I feel reenergized after being outside the house for a couple of days. That hotel looks so nice! I am going to use your idea of booking directly with a hotel. #TPThursday

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    1. So agreed, Ruth. A one-night getaway can totally rejuvenate me!

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  11. It looks beautiful there, but now you have me humming "from the shores... :-) ). Great that you found a better price for the hotel room than on the booking site. Good idea.

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  12. well done for finding a boutique hotel in tripoli! Like you I would have doubted that was possible but the pictures don't lie!

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    1. No and I can say the rooms and the meals were fabulous - we'll be back there; hopefully soon!

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  13. Tripoli in Greece is not someplace I'd ever heard of or would have considered visiting. I was particularly surprised by how green it looks in your first picture. The Greece I've visited is very dry, rocky and scrubby.

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    1. We are in a very agricultural area and also near the mountains (where there are pine trees) so it is green and this photo I borrowed certainly points that out!

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  14. Tripoli sounds like a great getaway place. And your hotel room looks wonderful.

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    1. We are eager to go back - lots more to explore in the town and yes, that room was great (as was the breakfast!)

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  15. OMG I've learned before to approach the hotel direct when all the booking sites say there are no rooms available. I think they each only have a designated amount to sell and when they have no more it doesn't mean the hotel doesn't. How laughable is it that booking.com was twice the price though!!! I for one didn't know Greece had it's own Tripoli, but now thanks to you I do!

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  16. Who would have thought there'd be so many Tripolis? I love your definition of "big city" because of the exits which is how we used to rate towns throughout Montana,Idaho and Texas when we lived there. 🙂 Tripoli looks like it has plenty to offer a tourist or a neighbor who's just looking around the hood and your hotel is lovely. Your tip on checking out the off-season room rates in person is definitely worth considering!

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So happy to see you took the time to comment. We read them all - and each is much appreciated. We hope you will be a regular here and comment often!

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