The Peloponnese – Monemvasia and Elafonissos

In part two of our trip around the Peloponnese we went to Polilimnio and the Mani.

It was time to leave the Mani even though we’d only had time to see a tiny part of it. We headed south to Areopoli and through the mountain pass towards Gytheio with a quick swimming stop at Mavrovouni beach along the way. Arriving in Gytheio just before lunch, we planned to eat at one of its famous harbourside fish tavernas.  But it was still a little early so we set off to explore Marathonisi, a one-time island, but now connected by a mole to the mainland.  There was an intriguing-sounding Museum of the Mani that occupied an 18th-century tower house that we’d hoped to visit, but alas, it was closed.  In ancient times this little island was known as ‘Kranae’, and according to Homer it was here that Paris and Helen of Troy spent their first night after running away from Sparta. We chose a taverna for lunch and sat at a waterside table where we could see the little fish feeding on the mossy rocks. After a meal of kalamari, mussels and a rocket salad it was time to get in the car and continue towards Monemvasia. Continue reading

The Peloponnese – Polilimnio and the Mani

In part one of our trip around the Peloponnese we went to Ancient Messene, Pylos and Methoni Castle.

After two nights it was time to leave ‘sandy Pylos’, as it was called by Homer. We were going to head east across Messinia, go straight through Kalamata, and then drive south down the second finger, the Mani peninsula. The Peloponnese is surprisingly compact to someone used to the vastness of Australia but we quickly found that the correlation between the kilometres we drove and the time taken to drive them had a less than linear correlation.  Main roads can be tortuously windy with secondary roads lapsing into a single lane in places. Add to that the presence of two potential pukers in the back seat and our progress was slow. Continue reading

School’s out!

School’s out for summer!  At least it is in Greece, where the kids get a cool 12 weeks off for their summer holidays.

On Friday evening we attended Lithakia Primary School’s end of year concert, which was held in the school yard as the sun set behind Megalo Vouni (the “big mountain” behind Lithakia). Our kids gamely sang songs and recited poems, in Greek, and as the evening ended, ran amok with their fellow classmates. Ralph and I sat in the audience with my parents and enjoyed the evening, mild and with barely a breeze. Continue reading

Zakynthos Update

Okay, this is going to be more of a newsy blog with an update of all the little bits and pieces that we’ve been up to lately. We’ve been here just over five weeks now, and Spring is in full bloom.  There was a frenzy of activity in the fields about a week ago with hay being mown and baled, summer vegies planted and olive groves cleared of rampant thistles. It’s slowed down a bit now but there’s always someone in one of the neighbouring fields busy at work doing something agricultural that I can’t always identify.

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First swim of the season

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Loucha Village

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAχωριό Λούχα, Village of Loucha

Taking advantage of a beautiful spring day, we hopped in the car and drove through the mountain range that dominates the west side of the island, to a little village called Loucha. One the highest villages in Zakynthos, Loucha is nestled in a triangular-shaped green valley. Continue reading

Springtime in Zakynthos

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Approaching Zakynthos harbour

So we’ve finally arrived in Koukla after our one month detour to Central and Eastern Europe. We came the old fashioned way, by bus from Athens, and then by ferry from the port of Kyllini to Zakynthos town. We were lucky enough to travel on the brand new, deluxe ferry “Fior di Levante” which made for an even more than usually enjoyable trip. Sure, catching the plane from Athens takes about four hours less traveling time, but there is nothing like the feeling of seeing Zakynthos slowly grow larger and take form from the deck of your ship, before you sail into the harbour; you really feel like you’ve arrived on a Greek island in a way that catching a flight could never replicate. Continue reading