Would you like some Tzatziki with that?

Trip Start May 22, 2009
Trip End Feb 16, 2010

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Flag of Greece  , Peloponnese,
Thursday, November 12, 2009

Weather report said ‘fair’.  that’s exactly what we had all morning while lounging around in the nice warm hotel room with occasional peeks outside.  Sun was what we saw while eating the breakfast we didn’t have to cook and enjoying that 2nd cup of coffee.  A bit of cloud while we leisurely packed up the bikes.  But, I kid you not, not 2 minutes on the bike and the rain started!  Not a little drizzle either.  Full on downpour.  And the most exasperating kind of rain that takes place while the sun is shining.  Like it’s purposefully saying ‘well, you asked for sun, didn’t you?’

Passed a turn off to Kalamata that went through the mountains.  We were going to go around the tip of the coast.  It was all I could do to stop Brian from taking the turn.  Kalamata is the nearest ferry terminal on this part of the island and he wanted out!

But the rains didn’t last too long and we eventually dried out.  Along the way we were able to stop at a few sites as well. 

The first was the fortress of Pylos (or Niokastro).  Build way up on a hill overlook Navarino bay.  Built by the Turks in 1573, strengthened by the Venetians in 1686, recaptured by the Turks in 1715, and finally turned over to the Greeks in 1821!

Leaving Pylos, we got our first taste of the mountainous roads to come.  Flat all the way to Kalamata?  I don’t quite think so!  Or if this is flat, what’s to come?  Up some large hill to get beautiful views of the water and endless olive trees shining silver in the light.  Harvest is in full swing with ‘whackers’ going full tilt.  To harvest olives, the ground is layed with cloth, and then with a special stick you hit the branches repeatedly.  Ripe olives fall from the branches and are caught by the cloth for gathering.  Large burlap bags full of olives sitting by the side of the road - already drenched in oil from just a few hours in the sun. 

Wizzing at 60km.hr down the hill we flew into the town of Methoni.  So called from the tradition that ONOI (donkeys) carrying wind would get METHOUN (drunk) from the heady fumes.  Very cute town filled with huge Venetian wells and hibiscus trees growing along the road.  The landscape is dominated by a castle along the water with an interesting Bourtzi - a fortified islet off in the water.  Walking along the decaying stone bridge to get to it, I was sprayed by the waves rushing in. 

One of the most interesting things we’re doing here is indulging in food.  Normally trying to keep a tight budget entails cooking up dried food at night.  But there are just too many fabulous foods to eat here.  I think I could eat traditional greek salad every day and not get sick of it!  Strange how so much culture is wrapped up in food. The other day we were stopped on the street by a woman shouting ’you want a pita?’.  I looked into the dark narrow restaurant with chipped counter tops and duck-taped glass and thought ’yes!’.  Weaving around plastic tables, we sat on some creaky chairs while she set out an ashtray and pink napkins for us to use.  While she scurried around making wonderful smells, I stared at the Coca cola clock on that wall.  When the pitas came they were wonderful!  No options of what to put on, you got what was served and she chose it all - even the french-fries!  But you never heard any complaints!

Tonight we arrived at a little campground along the shore.  There are several other campers here, so I guess we’ve finally found the right place to be.  Nothing but sand, clear water and blue skies.  Hopefully this will make Brian a little easier to live with for awhile.  I guess he deserves a break. 
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