Author Archives: pete

Koroni rainbow lightning

By early May a pattern of dry sunny days with blue skies has usually settled in and then there may not be any more rain for another 4 months.,,,,,….. that is, after one last storm that comes literally out of the blue. We has such a storm a few days ago, dark clouds filled the blue sky and a heavy electrical storm swept through with hailstones and torrential rain. It passed over in a couple of hours onto Koroni and the sun re-appeared, forming a perfect rainbow with a 2nd ghost rainbow above.

Jane, who is staying at Gargarou, took this magical photo from the front of her Villa towards Koroni, capturing both the rainbow and lightning:

rainbow and lightning Koroni

Jane also took this one, showing the end of the rainbow meeting St Friday’s church, Gargarou:

rainbow over St Fridays

We took a couple too:

rainbow at Gargarou

Rachael took this one using the ‘panorama’ camera setting which came out unexpectedly:

rainbow-Koroni

 

 

 

 

 

Nafplio Greece

Nafplio is on the east side of the Peloponnese, about 1.5 hours drive from Athens Airport making it a very convenient place to stop if you don’t want to go into Athens. More than that, it’s a splendid Venetian town  with a large marble paved main square, many narrow streets to explore, a waterfront lined with cafes, plenty of tavernas, and all overlooked by a imposing byzantine citadel. It’s also very well placed for visits to Epidavros and Mycennae – two world class ancient sites. We  stay there usually twice each year for 1 or 2 nights on our way to or from the airport and always enjoy our time there.

The town is squeezed between the waterfront and the high craggy outcrop on which the citadel is built. The narrow lanes beneath the citadel rise up very steeply with many flights of stone steps. If you want to avoid steep climbs to your hotel make sure it is situated down in the town. Also parking is impossible in these lanes, take this into account if you have a hire car.

If you are visiting the Peloponnese out of the holiday season Nafplio is a particularly good place to stay as the town functions all year and many of the outdoor cafes and some restaurants have overhead gas heaters on in the evening. When we stayed there last week on 22 February we sat outside at the excellent Alaloum restaurant and stayed warm and comfortable all evening.

Here are some photos we took last week:

There are steps you can climb up to the citadel – a lot of them! Luckily you can also drive up, there is a road that goes up a more gentle slope behind the citadel.

The main square is lovely but also functions as the local kid’s football pitch in the evenings and can be noisy.

In summer these waterfront cafes are very busy

From the waterfront you can walk on further around the base of the cliffs to a small local beach which is very rocky, no sand at all. It’s a beautiful walk, especially at sunset.

The view from the waterfront is dominated by the Bourtzi – a small island fortress. You can visit the fortress, there are small ferry boats that depart from the port area.

 

Neolithic stone rows, stone circle and hut circles, Dartmoor

Merivale is on the western side of Dartmoor, not far from where I used to live in Tavistock. There are Neolithic hut circles there, north of the main road which are hard to find and stone rows and a stone circle just south of the road from the parking place by the side of the road up past the Merivale Arms. It’s always been a special place to visit for me. These photos were taken in October this year.

Tortoise

This very smart looking tortoise came up our driveway, it’s shell was in perfect condition with very bright markings so we think it must be quite young. There is a colony of them living a few hundred metres down the track. A couple years ago we found one lying on it’s back in the road, it had fallen down the bank. And yes, we put it back, resisting any temptation to adopt it.

Polilimnio waterfalls

Southern Greece is very dry over the summer. By early May the last rain has gone and there is usually none or very little until September. This year we’ve had one big storm a couple of weeks ago and that’s all. Usually the first big storm brings a change to cooler weather but this year it’s stayed hot, still over 30C.

Last week we needed to go to Kalamata and went to the Polilimnio waterfalls on the way back. It’s a small lush gorge with a series of lovely waterfalls and lakes, an especially beautiful place to visit in the heat of summer.

I’ve added a Polilimnio waterfalls page to our website travel guide that describes the gorge and how to get there.

 

spring wild flowers (part 3)

More photos by Trond………. All images copyrighted by Trond Arnesen:

Hordeum murinum  A wild barley

Jasminum fruticans Jasmine

Knautia integrifolia Scabious

Lavatera cretica Cretan mallow

Phlomis fruticosa Jerusalem sage

Prasium majus Prasium

Quercus coccifera Kermes oak

Rosmarinus officinalis Rosemary

Salvia fruticosa Sage, with Sardinian warbler
Silene colorata A catchfly species

Sinapis alba Charlock, long, hairy fruits

Tragopogon porrifolius Salsify, Goats beard, in fruit

Trigonella cf. sprunerana Trigonella

Vicia cf. cracca A vetch

spring wild flowers (part 2)

More photos by Trond………. All images copyrighted by Trond Arnesen:

Barlia robertiana Robert’s giant orchid
Chrysanthemum coronarium Crown daisy, two coloured type

Cistus creticus Cistus, with pollinating bumblebee

Crepis rubra Pink hawksbeard

Daucus carota Wild carrot

Ficus carica Fig tree

Fumaria capreolata Ramping fumetory

spring wild flowers (part 1)

These magnificent photos were taken by Trond Arnesen who stayed at Gargarou over the spring of this year 2012. He is from Norway and a botanist; he spent much time searching out and identifying the plants here. Most of the photos were taken on our land and some on his walks around the local area. Our warmest thanks and gratitude to our good friend Trond………. All images copyrighted by Trond Arnesen
Allium roseum Rose garlic

Anagallis arvensis Pimpernel
Anchusa undulata Undulate anchusa

Anemone coronaria Crown anemone field below Villa Fig

Add cAnthemis chia Greek chamomile field by Villa Fig aption

Arundo donax Great (giant) reed

Asphodelus aestivus Common asphodel

Avena sterilis An oat

Ceratonia siliqua Judas tree by Koroni

Cerinthe major Honeywort

Chrysanthemum coronarium Crown daisy

Panaiika – abandoned village

This was a new walk, a little over 15km  that Gill mapped out last week and a very good one. We began from the village of Melitsa, quite high up into the hills on a back road running across the peninsula from Agios Andreas to Pylos. From there we followed a good dirt track up along lush valleys, The valleys are still very green, streams still running above ground.

Higher up we came to the abandoned village of Panaiiki. The village has about a dozen houses, some ruins, some that appear to have been lived in not too many years ago. Many villages in Greece became abandoned over a period of time as young people moved away in search of work and the older residents died. This village is high up in the hills and its possible that their water supply dried up forcing people to move away. During the last heatwave a few years ago ( the same year as the bush fires) many villages were wihout water of some weeks during the hight of the summer.

From there we went on to Kato Ampelokipoi, stopped for lunch in the shade of the church and then headed back down along the top of a ridge with wonderful views all around.

Lower down along a valley we came to this unusual building

Behind the house we saw some stonework with oil drums fitted together to make a shute leading into the base of the building. The stone work must certainly be a a short aquaduct to bring water from a stream and the shute would take the water into the building. Why build out the stonework like that?None of us knew for sure and there was no-one around to ask.  Personnaly I think it was to get as steep a drop for the water as possible which indicating the building was used as a water mill, perhaps over the winter months when olives are harvested and pressed for oil. It’s an odd construction simply to collect water.

Further on we came across this beauty sunbathing on the track …. and a few inquisitive goats.