2023 Europe – Day 12 – Mani Villages


Sunday, 14 May

Dolora and I were up early to pack since we were changing hotels. Another nice outside breakfast overlooking the Ionian Sea. Today is warmer and sunny. We drove to Kastania, a traditional Mani village on the mountain side with a population of 53, mostly pensioners. Makes you wonder how much longer the town will exist. The visit included stops in two Byzantine churches with frescoes, Church of St. Peter (12th century) and Church of St. Nicholas (18th century). The St. Petter artist was much more talented than the St. Nicholas artist. Ioanna filled us in on some of the Byzantine rite customs. A stop at the nearby cafe for Greek coffee and some snacks before getting back on the bus.

Lunch was at O Takis in Limeni Bay. We ate right on the water and the colors were glorious in the sunshine. Bread, Greek salad, vegetables, calamari and fried fish. Dessert was sheep milk ice cream from across the road, chocolate brownie for me and mint chocolate chip for Dolora. After a short walk it was on to our hotel.

Today’s drive took us through citrus groves for the first time. Still lots of olive trees but the first time for oranges and lemons. Tonight we are staying at Hotel Panorama in Monemvasia. Our room is really nice, even with hot water! Our building at the last hotel had no hot water so showers were pretty quick. Monemvasia is pretty much a big rock sticking up out of the sea. There is a short bridge that leads to it. Tomorrow we will visit the town at the base of the rock and will consider a hike to the top. There is also a small beach to possibly dip in my toes.

After settling into our rooms, Ioanna gave us an orientation to town and filled us in on tomorrow’s details. Dolora and I had gyros for dinner. Proper Greek pronunciation is like “year row”. I finally got that cleared up.

A few days ago, Ioanna, our guide told us a joke. A priest and a bus driver died and went to heaven. St. Peter was taking them around to show them where they would be staying. The bus driver was shown to a luxurious mansion with all the amenities. Then the priest was taken to a hovel. The priest demanded to know why he was given a hovel and the bus driver a mansion since the priest preached the word of God and the bus driver only drove a bus. St. Peter explained “While you were preaching the people went to sleep, while the bus driver was driving, people were praying.” When you see some of the roads, traffic and skill of the drivers, this doesn’t seem as much of a joke as reality,

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