winter 2018/19 travel blog



















































Back in Lefkas, catching up with people we have met over the winter – lovely. Also decided with the uncertainty of Bregxit we would keep the car for a few more weeks and do some travelling around.

Spent a few days driving around the Peloponnese which was just brilliant. Booked accommodation in Sparti and then travelled around visiting various places such as Monemvasia (Monemvasia is set on a stark, steep and rocky islet just off Laconia’s eastern shore. It was first settled in the Early Middle Ages, but its main flourish, dominating the present appearance of the place, lasted from the 12th or 13th to the 17th century, a period during which this strategic spot repeatedly changed hands between Byzantium, Venice and the Ottoman Empire. The top of the promontory, a virtually unassailable citadel surrounded by a cliff-top system of defensive walls, now holds the ruins of past dwellings and a superb 12th century Byzantine church.), we spent our time wandering around the lower town.

We then travelled around the Mani peninsula (the Mani Peninsula, is a geographical and cultural region in Greece that is home to the Maniots, who claim descendancy from the ancient Dorians and Spartans. It is peppered with tower houses and stone villages). The drive was wonderful winding through mountains and hugging coastal roads.

The next day we visited the ancient site of Messini (Ancient Messini was founded in 371 BC after the Theban general Epaminondas defeated Sparta at the Battle of Leuctra, freeing the Messinians from almost 350 years of Spartan rule. Built on the site of an earlier stronghold, the new Messinian capital was one of a string of defensive positions designed to keep watch over Sparta. Epaminondas himself helped to plan the fortifications, which were based on a massive wall that stretched 9km around the surrounding ridges and completely enclosed the town.

Apart from its defensive potential, Ancient Messini was also favoured by the gods. According to local myth, Zeus was born here – not in Crete – and raised by the nymphs Neda and Ithomi, who bathed him in the same spring that gives the modern village its name.
) The site was very impressive – on par with Delphi and Olympus.

We enjoyed wonderful drives through the mountains especially from Mystras (a fortified town. Situated on Mt. Taygetos, near ancient Sparta, it served as the capital of the Byzantine Despotate of the Morea in the 14th and 15th centuries, experiencing a period of prosperity and cultural flowering. The site remained inhabited throughout the Ottoman period, when it was mistaken by Western travellers for ancient Sparta. In the 1830s, it was abandoned and the new town of Sparti was built, approximately eight kilometres to the east.) to Kalamata – magical we travelled (some 80kms) through the gorges, through a tunnel in the mountain and the winding road up to 2000m above sea level. Wonderful!!

We visited the marina in Kalamata and were thinking it’s a good thing they were full over the winter as it didn’t look that comfortable should there be winds of any strength.

Thoroughly enjoyed our couple of days travelling around although the tolls on the motorway were a bit extortionate. Travelling from Lefkas to Tripoli we paid over 40 Euros just in tolls. On the way back we took a different route through the centre of the Peloponnese – very picturesque even in the rain.

Now it’s time to get ready for Summer 2019!

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