Among the referendum, capital controls, and other general madness, Dave and I decided to take a two-week break and go to the Peloponnese. In fact we decided to go there because two of my best friends were getting married close to Neapoli Voion, in the area of Lakonia, but we thought it would be a good idea to extend our visit and see some places where I had been before, and also some new ones 🙂
The wedding took place in a small church overlooking the sea. I won’t go into lots of detail about the wedding here, but I should mention that Greek customs require that the groom’s male friends shave the groom (yes, properly shave him) before the wedding! Somehow I was invited to this all-male event, and this was the result 🙂
Future advice to self: If you have a wedding to go to in the evening, don’t go swimming at 4pm as your hair will never dry and though beach hair looks good in several occasions, it’s not the best style for a wedding. Obviously Dave doesn’t have that problem. My hair dried eventually, a couple of hours or so after the wedding!
Next day, everyone left to go vote for the “Yes / No” referendum… but we decided to stick to our plan and continue our trip!
Our first stop was a small island called Elafonisos with the famous Simos beach. This was by far the best beach we saw in this trip, and in retrospect I would have liked to stay there another day! However, there were more umbrellas than 15 years ago when I was last there… I also loved the sunset from the west side of the island – red sun sinking in the pink sky.
On the next day we visited a cave in Kastania area which has been open for a few years only, and as it’s a bit remote it doesn’t attract big crowds – it’s really nice, but photography is not allowed which we thought was a shame. More photos = more advertising = more visitors! In the evening we arrived at our next stop, Monemvasia, and swam in Pori beach – a really long sandy beach and almost no people! Bliss!
We spent a few hours on the next day checking out the churches and other buildings on the rock of Monemvasia. I had been there twice before, and it’s a shame that visiting the castle was not possible due to reconstruction. Perhaps next time! To be honest I was not so impressed with the castle this time, possibly because it was too hot and I couldn’t wait to go to the beach! So we asked around and were told to go to Xifias / Ampelakia beach, six kilometres from Monemvasia. That was a small family beach close to the road, and I didn’t find it particularly relaxing – Pori was much better. What I loved, however, was our little drive after our swim – we arrived at a nameless village with a little cemetary literally next to the sea. It might not be the happiest of places we saw, nevertheless that image stayed with me.
Our next destination was a small coastal village called Limenas Ieraka, which is really a lagoon. To get there we first had to go up the mountain and then down again, and the view over the village was amazing – this place could have easily been in Switzerland!!! We stopped for a quick snack and I went snorkelling – super clean water, and lots of fish! The Mediterranean is not exactly well known for its sea life, still snorkelling here was both refreshing and relaxing.
We then set off for the picturesque town of Gytheio, which would be our next stop. On our way there, my eye caught something really strange along the coast. It looked like a piece of rusty metal somewhere far and high… but as I was driving, I thought I had made a mistake. A little later, though, that piece of metal came up again. It looked like a mast… Crazy? Yes! But true. We went down to the beach to discover a huge shipwreck just sitting on the sand!
It turned out that the boat had reached the coast in the beginning of the 80s, and noone had cared to do anything with it – apart from tourists and visitors, who no doubt have taken thousands of pictures. To me, this was one of the highlights of our holiday 🙂
Getting to Gytheio, we decided to stay there for the night. We had the biggest dakos ever – even Dave couldn’t finish it! But the best meal was the next day, on a beach called Mavrovounio, where we stayed at the camping that time forgot – Camping Kronos, one of my favourite places to relax. And so, this was our first camping meal – we somehow managed to forget the olives, feta, peppers and onions, still we call it a greek salad!
And this is the end of part 1 – click here for part 2! For those interested, you can check out our full itinerary here… Can you guess where Mavrovounio is? 🙂