The end of the adventure

Morning view from our house on the Mani peninsula

Morning view from our house on the Mani peninsula

Today was our last day in Greece with the kids. Tomorrow we fly back to Paris and from there we head back home to turn our attention towards the next season at Maison Conti. We drove up through the Pelopennese, crossing the Corinth canal and stopped at a hotel on the mainland coast. The journey was about three hours.

I leave you with a few views of the Bay of Megara. I'm not sure when I'll be back to the blog, but I appreciate your company for the last weeks, and all your kind comments.

 

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Somewhere out there is Hydra

Somewhere out there is Hydra

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At the end of the earth

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What an incredible part of the world this is! It certainly makes you dream of Odysseus. You can almost believe you see him sailing past... 

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We began the day by crossing the river Styx into the underworld, locally known as the Diros Caves. It is a huge series of grottos, navigated by boat.  

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We took a counter-clockwise tour of the Mani peninsula though hardscrabble villages carved into the steep mountains.

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We visited the temple of Poseidon where we laid our offering next to all the others left by travelers before us. 

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It's hard to imagine the kind of rough existence which people have eked out here over thousands of years. Currently the population of the area is 5000 hardy souls, but 200 year ago, 60,000 lived here.

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Around every bend in the road is another beautiful view. This is the southern most point of continental Europe.  

Mani penninsula

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Today we left our little place in Xiropigadou and head down to the southern tip of Peloponnese. The scenery on the way was spectacular. 

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We stopped in Mystras, the site of a Byzantine church and ruined castle which overlooks the plain of Sparta. We have taught Quinn and Zinnie to exclaim "ancient footprints are everywhere."

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Our new location for a few nights overlooks the sea, but is a few kilometers up a rugged mountain.

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We are staying in a self-catering stone house in a complex of similar ones, all run by the same family. 

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From one side of the house we see the high mountains, 

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And from the other the sea. 

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Epidavros

Quinn's treasures

Quinn's treasures

Today we drove to the east coast of the Pelopennese to see the ancient amphitheater at Epidavros. The site was a famous center for healing in the 6th century BC, and the theater, which seats 12,000, was built in the 4th century BC due to the popularity of the sanctuary there.

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The theater is famed for its excellent acoustics. A person standing on the stone in the middle of the ground floor can be heard by all. 

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The site is rich in ancient statuary and artifacts. 

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A few miles away is the town that bears the same name. We found a restaurant for lunch overlooking the breathtaking vista. 

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After lunch we took a very rugged dirt path through a lonely forest towards another archeological site, but realized it was going to be too far and too arduous for the kids. We got a glimpse of it in the far distance.

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Quinn pointed out three islands illuminated by the afternoon sun. He thought they made a worthy subject for a photo, and so did I. 

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Astros

The evocative coastline of the Bay of Argolic

The evocative coastline of the Bay of Argolic

We had a rather less adventurous day today. We try to vary the rhythm so as not to wear out the kids. We stayed fairly close to home, visiting the little harbor town of Astros, just south of where we're staying, and had a nice lunch. Afterwards we played around the marina, climbed to the lighthouse and horsed around in the local amphitheater. 

Astros harbor

Astros harbor