The Peloponnese in the Spring is a beautiful time with wild flowers growing in the olive groves and Easyjet now fly from 31st of March from London Gatwick to Kalamata, flying Tuesday and Saturday in April and 3 times a week in May and 4 times a week June to October.
These are some photos taken by our friend Trond from Norway who came to visit us with 15 friends at Gargarou Retreat last April.
A meeting of beauties at Gargarou
A walk to the Grivitsanis Monastery
An ophrys orchid in the olive grove at Gargarou Retreat
Poppies and olives by Chomatero
Ox-eye daisies by Gargarou Retreat
We had a lovely walk in the sea along our local beaches Gargarou to Peroulia and Akti. It was 26 degree centigrade on November 3rd and a wonderfully bright day.
I love the shelters people make along the beach from the bamboo
and a picnic on the beach… in the shade.
and back towards Gargarou beach
Wonderful warm and sunny days here on the Peloponnese, we are having a glorious October with temperatures 23 and above. Plants are growing and flowering, feels like a second Spring and Autumn is also here with fig leaves falling, still fresh figs for breakfast, vines changing colour and olives ready to harvest. We had a day out yesterday to our favourite beach at Methoni by the castle and had a picnic on the huge rocks that fill the beach, no one there except us
On the way back we walked along Lampes beach, a beautiful sandy beach with sand dunes looking across to islands, a few people enjoying the sun and swimming.
Both beaches are still natural beaches with wild flowers growing on the dunes and in between the rocks.
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.
After a spring that has been colder and wetter than usual today was warm and sunny, marking a change into the long dry summer ahead. The walk started from the main road above Lampes beach, between Finikounda and Methoni. We followed a dirt track up into the hills to the small pleasant village of Finiki where we stopped at the Kafenio, then along the hills above Methoni, circling back and down to the main road, about 15 km in all. With the rain the wild flowers and grasses have flourished this year, intense colour everywhere complemented by bright blue sky:
I was really hoping to do this one but there was a lot of heavy rain and thunder overnight. October is a very cheageable month, there can be sudden storms with a huge amount of rain then within minutes the storm passes over and blue sky appears overhead. The rain seemed to be clearing so we decided to risk it; it rained a bit on the first part but then was ok, a nice day for walking in the end. Kaplani is in the hills above Finikounda, there are amazing views of the coastline and islands from up there. Kaplani is not far from Finikounda and a very pleasant village yet surprisingly it still seems to be entirely Greek – no new villas tagged on built by foreigners. The walk of 12km took in two other villages, Akritochori and Yamia.
There are countless dirt tracks connecting the many small villages in the hills that make excellent walking routes. Our first walk of the winter season was on 1 Oct. We were planning to go but I walked into a plank and has a sore toe and Rachael was getting ready for a visit to the UK so we though we’d missed out. However, we met up with the group at the Monastery enabling us to see inside the church. Normally it’s locked but she had arranged to pick up the keys from the local Priest. The Monastery, near the village of Homatero, was abandoned many years ago but the church is still in use. It’s a tiny church located in a beautiful peaceful valley, byzantine in style with the remains of some lovely frescoes inside:
This small building is now the Priest’s office, these are some of his own paintings, original and captivating, that line the walls of the office:
|the old man at leasure
|Church of Panagia Eleistria
We went for a walk in Koroni to visit the Prodromos Monastery which is in the grounds of the Citadel. Although it’s the end of September the weather is still very warm -30c in the middle of the day. There is an entrance to the Citadel on the cliffs above the port but today we went in from another gate on the road leading down to the town end of the beach. This leads along a tree lined avenue to the church of Panagia Eleistria who is the protector of the people of Koroni. The icons of Eleistria, found on the site where the church was subsequently built, are carried in procession around the town once a year on the Friday after Easter.
To the side of the church is her tomb and a small chapel built into the rock
To the left of the church are steps leading up to the top of the castle walls where there are great views along Memi and Zaga beaches. Follow the path down through gates and on the left you’ll see another gate leading to a church:
When you enter the church you’ll see a door opposite that leads into the Monastery grounds; it’s like entering an enchanted hidden garden, very peaceful and somehow in it’s own world:
At the far end of the grounds there are steps leading to the roof of a small tower, the views from the top are magnificent but take care, there are no railings around the top and it’s a long way down!