Staying in a Byzantine village
Thursday, June 16: Monemvasia. We left Neo Oitilo after breakfast and drove through bouts of rain, first through the mountains of the Mani to Gythio on the opposite coast. We pulled over a couple of times to get out the rain and at one point spotted a small farm stand as the farmer waved for us to come under the shelter. This nice couple was selling potatoes and tomatoes. We sat and “talked” until we could drive on.
One of the things that I’ve forgotten to mention is that as we’re riding through the countryside, I can smell the wild thyme and sage by the side of the road. Today we drove through endless orange groves on our way to Gythio, where we had hoped to stop for lunch; we admired the many tavernas along Gythio’s charming waterfront but we were not yet hungry, so we made the effort to get to our final destination for the day, Monemvasia.
After having visited the archaeological site of the Byzantine city of Mystra, between Kalamata and Sparti, we now had a great appreciation for Monemvasia, a Byzantine city that is still thriving, albeit for tourists. We rode the scooter over the causeway that separates this town from the mainland, parked and walked through the front “gate” which was a tunnel built into the rock of this fortified town. Our first impression was not too favorable, since the main street was full of shops selling things for tourists and it seemed too cute. Upon further inspection, we realized that we were walking through a city like Mystra, but that it was still intact. After walking around we were curious about some rooms and looked into the accommodations. Each room or apartment was like no other, since each was in a restored Byzantine house. We couldn’t resist the opportunity to stay in this old city and chose one of the two “rooms” offered. Here is a photo of the living area
and the bedroom
and B sitting on our deck overlooking the rooftop of the building below us and part of the sea.