I arrived in Nafplio Friday afternoon on a bus from Athens. My arrival was not without complication. I had missed the stop where I was supposed to disembark and now was without accurate directions, or Wi-Fi, in a place where I had never been before.
A woman to whom I had been talking with prior to our departure from Athens, offered assistance and spoke with the driver of the bus in an attempt to get me oriented to this new city which I had added to my itinerary on what amounts to be a whim. They explained that I would need to take a taxi because the address to where I was going was too far to walk. I assured them I’d find my way and thanked them for their assistance.
Barely an hour later, I was checked in to my accommodations and freshening up. Oh, and I had stopped for a bite to eat along the way.
That afternoon and evening, I walked for hours exploring this lovely, old city, utterly charmed by the narrow, pedestrian streets and well kept buildings. I found that it was easy to keep my bearings, as long as I remained aware of the location of the harbor and the fortress towering down from the city’s highest ground.
As I walked, I took pictures, including one of a man outside of a small shop. He was sitting in a chair, reading, and there was something compelling about him. He looked content, even at peace, if that makes any sense. I thought he seemed as if he had been part of this place for many years.
On Sunday, I wandered the Old Town of Nafplio once more taking photos and casually window shopping for a belated birthday gift for a friend. I noticed a display of earrings in a store and ventured in only to encounter the same unmistakable man from two days before. In no rush, I roamed the shop as he finished a phone call.
He hung up the phone and greeted me. I asked for the earrings from the window. He asked me where I was from, as he retrieved the display. “New York,” I said, giving him the simple answer. He smiled and indicated that I should wait a moment.
In a moment he returned holding an article from the New York Times in which he had been mentioned. It had been published in February of 1995. The man, Konstantine Beselmes, was an artist and the bright landscapes around the shop were his work. I had been correct in my impression, Mr. Beselmes had been in his location for many years.
He graciously allowed me to take his photo with the article and afterwards, he watched as I secured my wallet and cash and got myself organized to leave the store. I told him I had taken his picture the other night, too and he smiled, seeming to be very happy.
Later, I posted a photo of Mr. Beselmes I had taken that day and a man who follows the #nafplio responded to my post and noted that he lived two streets away from the man and had always admired his work. Sometimes the size of the world overwhelms me.
I think I may need to return to the shop to consider purchasing a small piece of work, described by the NYT as “engaging paintings on wood of village scenes, ships and landscapes.” Maybe I’ll take another photo of the artist, too.