The Road Less Travelled in Greece

The Road Less Travelled in Greece

As we leave Olympus, we are armed with a list of places to visit. Peloponnese locals are so friendly. Two shopkeepers last night made lists or told us places to visit.  The first is Katakolo, and so we head back on the same road we had come along yesterday.

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Exploramum and Explorason – roadside shrine, Greece

When we arrive, we discover this is in fact a port for cruise ships, and two a day (one morning, and one afternoon), dock here.

So there are a lot of tourist events. My legs are feeling weary from the Olympic run this morning, so we decide to take up the offer of a horse and wagon ride through town and along the beach.

We of course negotiate a deal for half fare for Explorason. I was unaware until watching the funny movie about Greece tourism again last night ‘My life in Ruins’ that negotiating is in fact the thing to also do in Greece.

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Exploramum and Explorason – horse and wagon ride at Katakolo

We are joined by a few from the cruise ship, and off we head.  It is quite a sandy beach, and it is still quite wet in areas leading to and from it as a result of the solid rain the last few days.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Katakolo beach ride

This is quite a sleepy fishing village otherwise. The homes are simple, and tourism has kept it alive.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Katakolo home

We head back and I am a bit disappointed our horse gets nothing to drink or eat. I do notice the traditional decorations adorning it, and the wonderful leather workmanship on the reins etc.

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Exploramum and Explorason – decorated horse, Katakolo

There are lots of tables and chairs and shops and restaurants along the front pier. The aqua water is just beautiful. The shopkeepers are happy people, with patience to talk and explain, which I like too.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Katakolo waterside restaurants are lovely

So we leave here, and try to head along the coast.  The road is really, really bad. It has puddles, and holes, and patches, and a lot of bushes. Strangely though, there is a load of traffic.

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Exploramum and Explorason – the road to the coast

We pass cemeteries, and wildflowers. It is quite pretty and very diverse.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Greek Cemetery

We pass through quite a few towns. Sadly half the places are empty. Deserted or left to ruin, and many started homes are not finished. I feel a bit like I am in South America, except there are roadside shrines to the dead all over the place.

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Exploramum and Explorason – shrine

We enjoy weaving in and out of the small seaside towns, and here this railway station shows the traditional stonework.

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Exploramum and Explorason – deserted railway station

One town, Fillatra, has its own replica miniature Eiffel Tower.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Fillatra Eiffel Tower

Everywhere we drive we see various coloured and shaped shrines to the dead.

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Exploramum and Explorason – seaside shrine

As family fortunes improve, so do the shrines. In other parts of Greece, the shrines take on the appearance of miniature chapels, sometimes with interior spaces large enough to hold small ceremonies. Inside are candles, pictures, statues, crucifixes and other religious items. Some have candles flickering, others have metal boxes. All are different in content.

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Exploramum and Explorason – another roadside shrine – this time a triple

We then drive around the coast to a really pretty town of Marathopoli and also Pilos.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Gorgeous coastal views of Pilos

Old aqueducts can be seen in Greece. Sadly I notice a lot of graffiti is ruining Greece’s history. One end of this is spray painted.

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Exploramum and Explorason – aqueduct

Next town is Methoni.  It has a lovely and as you drive in the castle is quite grand on the foreshore.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Methoni castle wall from the hilltop

It has a wonderful cove, and we would have loved to have stayed here.  We tried a few places, but as it is low season and we had no telephone, we didn’t manage to get an apartment.  After this we tried two caravan parks and the accommodation was more expensive for a unit than an apartment in town, so we gave them a miss too.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Methoni castle wall defends to the shores below

I did get the feeling Greeks thought Australians were ‘rich’. In fact one lady even said so to our face at a hotel, which really put Explorason off.  However, Methoni is a place I would consider going back to stay.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Methoni castle to the right, and a lovely beach

In the end we finally stumbled across Finikounda and fell in love with the little fishing village.

I’ll blog about this tomorrow – it is just a wonderful little place, and reminds me of the movie ‘Shirley Valentine’.

BOOKINGS and ENQUIRIES: Book A Finikounda hotel here

 

 

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