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…

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…

The Road to Vathia

The small road winds through stone-walled olive groves and small villages. Areopoli at the top of hill is the largest town with an abundance of (well two of three) confectionery shops (or Zaxaroplastiki or ζαχαροπλαστική); an important first word in any language.  The road continues south and the villages appear crumbling and part-abandoned although smart, new…

The Viros Gorge near Exochori

The Viros Gorge runs from the high Taygetos to the coast at Kardamyli; it formed an ancient route between Sparta to the coast. Some way up, a narrow road finally runs out at the small church of Agia (Saint) Paraskevi near the village of Exochori; from here a track runs on and passes below the…

The Mani

The Mani Peninsula is a land of olives and honey squeezed between the steep slopes of the Taygetos mountains and rocky coastline. The limestone landscape is dry and unyielding yet after the winter rains spring brings a rich and colourful flora. After an unusually harsh winter, the February sun warms the day but the nights…