Mani in mid May

The Mani is spectacular from pine forests in the mountains down through the long, deep gorges to the olive groves and stony coast. The summits of the Taygetos remain snow covered and often drowned in heavy grey cloud; the plants will be at their best in another month or so. The high tops and verticalContinue reading “Mani in mid May”

Beyond Lagkada

On Good Friday (26th April) the villages come alive in the evening, everybody is in the street or eating on the terrace. In Lagkada opposite the cafe, young people light Chinese lanterns that wobble into the air and float dangerously over the stone houses. At Agios Nikolaos, after long months of winter sleep, the carContinue reading “Beyond Lagkada”

Eleochorio

The hill village of Eleochorio perches on the edge of a wooded ravine; most of the houses are empty, some crumbling away and others just used by visiting families. On the cliffs below at least two pairs of kestrels and a raven nest; the red-rumped swallows fly around the church and houses at the topContinue reading “Eleochorio”

Below Kastania

This side of the Mani peninsula is a narrow belt of land between mountains and sea, untamed where the slopes are too steep to create terraces. The narrow road between the hill villages of Kastania and Saidona runs along narrow ridge through rocky maquis where swathes of pink and white cistus are flowering as wellContinue reading “Below Kastania”

Beachcombers and fish hawkers

The beach is wind blown under a grey sky. Usually it is empty, but the season brings an assortment of wheatears, little egrets, yellow wagtails and common sandpipers; all are foraging after a day of torrential rain. Two fishermen at the water’s edge sit, hunched like herons, over long rods. The harbour wall at AgiosContinue reading “Beachcombers and fish hawkers”

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 oftenContinue reading “Early April on the Mani”

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 toContinue reading “The storm”

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 sunContinue reading “The Deep Mani”