Kalamata, Mystra and the Mani

We sailed from Porto Kayio to Kalamata on Friday to Kalamata Marina, the first marina we had seen since Agio Nikolas in Crete.  It is wonderful, with a wonderful taverna and the best AB supermarket we have seen.

Kalamata is in the Mani, a ‘state or province’ in the Peloponnesse. The Mani is abundantly beautiful, with Mountains creating a ridge down the spine. Mount Taygetos is about 7800 feet, so comparable with Aspen and the drive from Kalamata to Mystra brings to my imagination what the Leadville Road out of Aspen circa 1950, would be like. Hairpin turns, sheer cliffs, boulders fallen onto the road the size of bowling balls.

Road to Mystra
Road to Mystra

So yes, I am turning into my Mother, James’ Mother and mothers everywhere, when I tell you there was a dent in the floor where my brakes would be. Sheer fright! No photos because I was too busy holding on and there was no where to pull over.

I am not familiar with this area of Greece, but I am enchanted with it. So you can learn along with me.  Visit http://www.maniguide.info/  and read about this incredible hidden peninsula. Google: Mani.

Mystra
Mystra

We drove to Mystra to visit its Byzantine fortress and monasteries. This is the Sparta you may not have heard about. Medieval intrigue and the Crusades meant a fortress was needed but in this case, it wasn’t the Venetians but the Franks. There still seems to be some nuns here in one of the Monasteries and the buildings were beautiful.

Mystra
Mystra

We left after hours of walking. Even with tour buses full of people, the site is so vast that you are virtually walking by yourself only occasionally passing another person.

Fresco
Fresco

We decided to drive back to Kalamata by way of Gythion, a lovely harbour, where they are building a much larger breakwater and then to Diros.  This followed the same route we had sailed up so we could visit Aghia Nikolas, Stoupa and many other small villages.  The views from the escarpments were superb.

View of Mani Coastline
View of Mani Coastline