Week 25 – Greece Week 2 – Ancient Olympia to Koroni

Stuart discovers Greece

This week we dropped the pace of travel a bit and for the most part stayed in the one spot on the Messinian peninsula.  That’s the left hand ‘finger’ of the three peninsulas which point southwards from the Peloponnese in mainland Greece.

The spot we chose was Koroni, a small harbour town between the Gulf of Messinia and the Ionian sea. It has a vibrant feel to it even though it was off season and there were few if any other tourists around.

Sitting at any of the harbour front bars, the views across the harbour to the Mani Peninsula – the second ‘finger’  –  were mesmerising…

…. like this one taken at sunset when the still snow capped peaks of the Taygetos mountains looked like a mirage.

Before settling at Koroni, we stopped off here…

…at a campsite beside Glifa beach with a view across the sea to Zakynthos, a peaceful spot where the nearest shop was in a village about 2 k away, a pleasant walk…

…which took us past olive groves….

…and orchards of lemon trees…

..and small farms…

…which were all in soft focus on our return journey thanks to the local shopkeeper who was in celebratory mood.

He’d just become a grandfather to twins and insisted we join him in toasting the new arrivals with ouzo and then more ouzo, washed down with wine and more wine.

We got plastered…

…and map drawing to describe where we were from became more challenging.

Despite my efforts at cartography, our host still thought we were from Holland.

Ancient Olympia:

Heading south down the peninsula, we stopped off at Ancient Olympia where it looked like the flame was out of control.

We had a wander around the ruins of the site where the Games were held every four years from 776 BC to 393 AD ….

…and saw the spot where the Olympic Torch is still lit every Games…

…and with the Spring flowers, it was a beautifully peaceful place for a stroll….

…and the fields of colourful blooms brought back good memories of London 2012 to Stuart.  Those wild flower meadows of London 2012 have only recently been replaced as his laptop screensaver by a fish. Sorry by The Salmon A fish in every country (plus one).

Camped up in Koroni:

Then finally we reached Koroni and the sun was shining so we decided to stay a while and do…..well…. not very much which is why this post is so much shorter than other weeks.

We’ve been exploring the town ….

.. and become regulars at Angelica bakery where she’s adept at ensuring you buy more than a loaf by insisting you smell what has just come out of the oven….so apple pies one day, cheese and spinach pies the next.

And walking up the cobbled lanes to the hill overlooking the harbour….

…there are the ruins of the Venetian Castle …

….with great views over the town below.

We’ve had some good food ….like this plate of grilled sardines…

….followed by a spoon sweet of delicious sweet grape preserve, served on a teaspoon with  yoghurt.

And back at the campsite, the Campervanamatters kitchen was producing more modest fare…

….like lunches of tsatski and salmon..

….and barbecues lit with olive pips….

….which make a very decent fire…

…leaving  leftovers for the local residents……

….and their children.

We also got to see some football…here’s  Koroni and Kalamata in action.

And by just staying put for a few days, there’s been time to crack on with the knitting project….still to be sewed together and dropped stitches recovered but almost there just as the sun is shining and the last thing we’ll need is a big woolly blanket.

And we’ve finally opened up the cribbage box but remembering the rules and doing the maths is making a muggins of us both…

There’s also been plenty of time for reading. The new page now added to the blog ‘Molly’s Book/DVD Club’ has some of the books read so far but any recommendations on a good read will be gratefully received.

So it’s been a very relaxed week and Koroni was the ideal spot for it.

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