Our view coming into Monemvasia - certainly looks pretty good from here.
We heard pretty good things about Monemvassia so of course we had to check it out. And yes it truly is an amazing spot. We were lucky to have fantastic settled weather so could anchor off the island. We decided to celebrate getting to the Aegean Sea with a breakfast out. This turned out to be a fantastic idea as we were able to wonder the streets of Monemvasia in the early morning light with no one else around. We had a taste of how busy it gets when we left breakfast to find the place overrun with load people following colour coded sticks around the narrow streets. This is definitely ON the tourist trail.
`So breakfast, well yes it was epic ... waffles will never be the same again!
Yithion is another town with a biggish port which would seem a little if it wan't for the visiting yachts and the confiscated boats sadly going to ruin.
Business idea number 254, buy up these abandoned boats super cheap, do them up and sell them on.
There were some bigger ones too, which possibly had a few stories to tell.
Anyway this is a interesting town a bit off the tourist trail - even has octopus testicles drying in the sun. We decided to have dinner and had an authentic Greek beer and a complimentary dessert ...ok so we passed on the sundried optopus!
The south coast of the Peloponnese has 3 fingers the most eastern one is called the Mani peninsula. It is unlike anywhere else in Greece, there are strict building codes and the building material of choice is stone. The small villages dotted over the hills are fortified, even the houses are built to avoid invasion. Everyone seems to have a mini castle/fort, so much so, Camille came up with a new word - Casouse - by joining together castle & house.
Kalamata didn't really come thru with the olives, but Sparta did. On a chilly 24 deg day we visited the Olive Museum in Sparta, and loved it, together with the historical setting of Sparta.. Camille felt inspired to write a poem and take a video.
An Ode to Olives
Old, ancient, beautiful and delicious,
history in every bite and step.
Olive, olive, olive, castle, fortress, queen,
the difference matters not.
Each has history of its own.
It's time to make history
high up high in the sky
all around underneath you see the houses and trees.
Today we got up at around 6am, it wasn't even light yet. We caught the bus and headed to the town of Sparta, then we took a taxi to the archaeological site of Mystras. It is a byzantine town from the Middle ages, but the last person moved out in the 1950s. It was pretty well preserved, especially the paintings on the ceilings. It was all built on the side or top of a mountain. The castle was my favourite even though the walk up was long, the view was great!
We hopped into a little boat, it wobbled, there were only 8 people onboard including the driver. He had a paddle to push off the cave walls. We had to duck because the roof was so low, we couldn't turn around to get our photo taken because we could have wacked our head!
We went fast and there were some tight corners, the driver was very clever.
There were lots of stalactites and stalagmites. Stalactites hang from the ceiling and stalagmites grow up from the ground. A way to remember which is which is, stalagmites has a ground for ground in it and stalactites has a c for ceiling in it.
When the light shone on them they looked like chandeliers!
You know when something good happens and you think, "Well that was great". But not really sure how great. I think I had one of those days.
It was my birthday and very early in the morning, the girls were busy in the galley, I was ushered onto deck and told to helm the boat. I glanced at the emails. A couple of friend emailed me and said happy 48th b'day. I thought to myself, am I that old? After about half an hour of coming to terms with nearly being 50, I said to Sarah, "I'm okay with nearly 50...." Sarah said, "you have a while to go before then." "Two years", I said, trying to put on a happy face. The girls jumped in and said that's not right....As it turned out, I am getting old because I need glasses, the email I read early in the morning (bad light I say) actually said 46!!! Imagine how I felt when I just gained two years!!!
Anyway, that was the start of what turned out to be an amazing day. Camille presented an awesome peach crumble for breakfast, Asia cooked the best ever torte for a birthday cake. I mean it was the best...just melted in my mouth. And Maddy was in charge of the boat for the day.
The girls were a little worried that we had a 10 hour sail on my big day. But that turned out to be one of the best things. Imagine it, me sitting at the helm, the wind was on the beam, the swell was low and the girls were running around taking care of things. A great day for the screecher!
After 10 hours sail, we arrived at a little anchorage and dropped the hook. Again the girls looked after things, while I enjoyed a swim.
Later, Sarah and I enjoyed a good red wine as the sun slipped below the horizon. I sat in the cockpit for some time in the dark, thinking, reflecting...what a day, what a super day! Maybe the best ever...
In Kalamata went tied up in the commercial port, which was unexpectedly quiet - not so much trade these days. We expecting Kalamata to have olive statues in the town square and shops dedicated to the olive. However this wasn't the case - apparently no one in Kalamata is aware of the olive connection. It is however an unexpectedly cosmopolitan town, with some lovely shops and some beautiful old buildings.
The walk into town with a bit further than we thought so we grabbed some food before returning to the boat. Maddy and Sam had some type bet that turned bad.. you really can't take some people anywhere!
After much hunting these were the only olives we found!
Getting back on board at the port required a leap of faith...
We're an ordinary family of 5 dreaming, planning and now beginning our adventure around the Mediterranean (and further afield), having an awesome time! Look out for our boat and come and say hi.