Greece. “A travel tale in the (spiritual) traces of humankind“, is what I wrote about my first real visit to Athens in February this year. Those feelings of awe still ring true today. If anything, my understanding about Greece, the current plight of its people due to the crisis, has all but deepened. Perhaps despite (or because?) of the crisis, the Greek people nevertheless manage to put a spell on us travellers. Making my way roadtrippin’ from Thessaloniki to Athens, or exploring the South-East of the Island of Crete: No matter if it’s the Greek Islands or the mainland, it will “always be Greece”, in a way – wonderful, intense, full-on, and simply magical.
Today, let me take you all the way to Kalamata. Into the backcountry of their famous olive groves and … to meet with a couple of creative minds on the Southern Peloponnese!
“So you’re driving all by yourself, from Athens to Kalamata?!”, my taxi driver in Athens gasps. “Well, why, sure”, I smile back, thinking it no big deal to drive for two and a half hours from Athens to Kalamata. Indeed, there are only very few cars out on the highways, most likely due to the high fuel prices & toll fees. Driving, my eyes keep hugging the pretty landscape all around, consisting of hills, mountains, and more hills, while thinking of the millennia of history, of early human settlement, and just how many wars for these fertile lands have already been waged here.
Arriving in Kalamata brings me back to the present moment: My meeting with Inga & Tassos, a German-Greek couple, inspires me to follow their enthusiasm in having set up a network for creative travel in Kalamata & the Peloponnese, “LocalMoods.com“: Check it out for gathering ideas for your next trip there!
Further north on the Peloponnese peninsula: After Kalamata, consider visiting Corinth & Loutraki, only about an hour west of Athens.
In Corinth, it is mainly the extensive excavation sites, as well as the historical museum, which are worth your visit. Some of the most important passages in the Bible, written by the “Apostle Paulus to the Corinthians”, are still very well visible here – a fascinating fact. Although I am not very “bible-minded”, so to speak, I can definitely warm to a well-told story. Full of awe, I listen to my travel guide Kostas Tsevas, who joins me for one morning and whose extensive knowledge of Paul the Apostle, and his work in the ancient Greek temple town of Corinth, leaves a big impression on me. I therefore recommend you a guided tour, likely reviving the ruins of Corinth today. Check this out.
Next up, I’ll tell you all about my trip to Crete, and especially Mirtos (thank you for this tip, Janett!) and my trip researching the monasteries of Toplou, Ierapetra, Siteia, Agios Nikolaus as well as the beaches & bars in the east & south of the island … beautiful, you’ll see.
And you, what is it that you love so much about Greece?