Early April on the Mani

There are days of blue sky and cool winds and others where the land is drenched by great thunderstorms or smothered by blankets of grey cloud that creep over the mountains to slowly suffocate the coast. The sea is often blue glass and sunsets a simple wash of orange; under grey skies there is often…

On the eastern edge of the Taygetos Mountains

31st March 2019 The road up from the small village of Paleopanagia just to the south of Sparti, leaves the olive groves that cover the plain and winds up through impenetrable scrub oak and maquis past the turn to the village of Toriza to a shaded car park at Manganiari Spring, with a fast flowing…

The storm

The storm arrived from the north; the evening before was uncommonly humid and the cloud crept heavy over the hills. In the night, the wind got up and the rain threw itself down. The next day was equally ferocious with periods of drowning rain and the wind coming through in great gusts; it refused to…

The Deep Mani

The drive from Areopolis south east over the hills runs past ancient Pyrrichos, where a small vineyard testifies to the altitude and climate and on to a crumbling castle on the end of a ridge at Loukadika; from here there is the first view of the shimmering sea and distant Cape Maleas. With the sun…

The local olive grove

One olive grove with crumbling stone terraces just down the hill and not far from Agios Dimitrios has remained especially rich in plants for the past month, whereas many others were a blast of white chamomile Anthemis chia and stock Malcolmia graeca but are now rank grass with splashes of pink cranesbill Geranium brutium and…

In pursuit!

Alkanna sartoriana is a pretty but fairly nondescript plant of dry places. I found it a few days ago above the beautiful, new amphitheatre at Platsa; took one record shot and, only when I checked Roger Marchant’s ‘Flowers of the Mani’, did I learn it was quite a rare endemic. So another and better photograph…

Agios Dimitrios to Trachila

Trachila is a small fishing village, virtually empty in March at the end of the road from Agios Dimitrios. The narrow road runs under great cliffs and past olive groves and coastal scrub and was only recently constructed so access was previously only by boat. It is a place of wide views across the sea…

Mystras

The route from Kalamata to Sparti zig zags down one breathtaking, limestone gorge, up the foothills of the Taygetos on a road that has cracked and collapsed in many places after a winter of snow and heavy rain, through dark forests and past a deserted cafe at the crest, then cuts down through the even…

Mani Olive Groves

Below the village of Platsos, a sheepdog escorts her flock up the track and moves the herd off to let an olive pruner’s car pass. Passers by are few and are barked at as sheep watch on carefully. The endless olive trees cover the flat ground as well as the shallow slopes where ancient terraces…