Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Finding Fokianos, Greece

“You might be disappointed in my village – it is very small,” George cautioned about visiting the small Peloponnesian town high in the hills above his Hotel Byzantinon where  he’d been born and raised; a place he  still visits regularly to tend to his family home and vineyard.

“You should go to Fokianos. Drive straight through my village. . .follow the road for another 12 kilometers.”

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With so much beautiful coastline, we pondered how we would know the picturesque beach George had proclaimed a ‘not-to-be-missed’ destination.

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Up  into the hills we went on the narrow little road (pictured above ) that pinched together at sharp curves, then stretched into gentle loops, and finally lead us straight through a little village that we hoped was George’s (the signs, you recall, were all in Greek).
 
Some kilometers beyond the village, as we rounded a curve, and just as George had promised, we saw Fokianos:

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Our paved road gave way to gravel on its winding descent through ages old olive groves  to the white-crescent beach.

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On this April morning the normally busy beach was empty but for a half dozen fishermen.

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Their  muted conversation, mixed with the water’s rhythmic gentle lapping, and an occasional bird call was all that broke the silence.

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George had told us that in summer the bay is often filled with yachts of the rich and famous, but on this morning, fishing boats at anchor were the only vessels in sight.

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Two tavernas stood side-by-side on this otherwise unpopulated  bit of paradise.  Only one of the two on this ‘pre-season’ morning showed signs of activity. It was there we sought lunch.

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“We’ve got a single portion of fish,” said the owner (who had grown up with George in the small hilltop village).  It was the same dish he and a friend were sharing at a nearby table. We ordered cheese as well – the owner provided bread and olives. The dish, an octopus stew, served warm as is the style of Greek cooking, was perhaps the most authentic Greek meal we ate during our travels.

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And we certainly had a table with a view from which to eat our feast. By now awnings are stretched over those skeletal frames, tables beneath probably filled with holiday makers, but on that day, the beach  and the view was ours alone.

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That’s it for this week’s Travel Photo Thursday. Don’t forget to stop by Budget Travelers Sandbox for other destinations.

If you Go: 

Driving in the Peloponnese: 
GreecePt12013 251We picked up our rental car at the Avis office in Naplion.  There were no requirements for an international drivers license. US license, passport and credit card (‘non-chip’ worked just fine) were all that was required.

Rental Cost: about $22US a day.
Regular unleaded gas: $9US a gallon (we were pleased this little guy got such good mileage!)

Greeks drive on the right-side of the road, like in the United States.  They also recognize the need to drive slowly on their hairpin curves. The roads lacing the Peloponnese are in many places narrow ‘back roads’ twirling around curves and climbing high into the mountains (not for those with a fear of heights or amaxophobia, fear of riding in a car).

GreecePt12013 284Fokianos: is about 33 kilometers (20.5 miles) south of the town of Leonido.  Drive toward Plaka. After about 17 km of climbing, the road flattens and you reach a junction (where the road sign is in Greek).  Go left (toward Pigadi and Fokianos). It will be an approximate 15 km more before you reach the dirt road to the beach. Note: the beach is about 25 km from the nearest gas station. 

24 comments:

  1. As always, I'm captivated by your images.

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  2. What a fantastic recommendation and weren't you the lucky ones not having to share the beach. It would have an entirely different feel come the summer!

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    1. Yes, I am certainly glad we saw it in April.

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  3. Hi Jackie,
    Recommendations from locals are always the best! It's so great htat you found a lovely little paradise all to yourselves. That photo of the view of the crescent beach from above with the flowers is so stunning! And your food description made me drool.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by. I have to admit the photo you referenced is one I took using "Lloyd" our new Droid smartphone. That smart little guy did a pretty good job I thought as well!

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  4. I do love travelling out of season, just so we can experience things like this. Fancy being able to sit in such a beautiful place with such an authentic meal and enjoy such beauty.

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    1. It was one of those special things that happen so unexpectedly when one travels. And off season is prime time for such 'things'. Thanks for stopping by Jan.

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  5. I really hope that one day I will visit Greece - but until then, thank you for taking us there.
    I can feel the warmth of the sun in your images.
    Have a wonderful weekend, and thank you for stopping by my blog today.

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    1. Oh Jill your photos are so spectacular that I can only imagine the wonders you would be able to capture in Greece. Hope you get there some day!! Thanks for visiting here today.

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  6. Ah you've transported me back to 1980, my first trip out of the UK, a minibus trip with school to Greece. I remember the hills and the views down to the sea. Gorgeous. Happy memories, thank you.

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    1. Seana, So happy to have brought back memories! Loved visiting your blog as well!

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  7. Some really gorgeous photos here, Jackie. My faves are the cove with the red flowers in the foreground, the lonely boat and the blue tabble and chairs. So very Greek.

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    1. Thanks Sophie! It really was just as I have always imagined Greece would look. . .

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  8. What a lovely little adventure. I can just imagine how delicious your lunch was, and with that million dollar view :)

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    1. An amazing experience, alright. But that's one of the joys of travel, isn't it?

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  9. Wow - what a peaceful-looking and beautiful beach! I'd love to visit someday.

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by TravelnWrite; hope you'll be a regular here. I just visited your Time Travel Plans - it is great!

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  10. That photo of the beach with the red flowers in the foreground just as you're rounding the curve is so picturesque. It really makes me want to hop in a car and drive down there myself. It must have been wonderful to enjoy it in the off season.

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    1. Oh Michele, it was literally breath-taking to round that corner and see that beach. I hope to go back one day sooner than later!

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  11. That is one fantastic beach town. What a treat to mostly have it to yourselves and eating all that great food. I love how peaceful it looks with hardly any boats on the harbor. It's great to know Greek rental cars are affordable despite the high gas prices.

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    1. And even better, those little cars get great mileage! Thanks for commenting, Mary. "See you" again soon - I hope.

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  12. Oh I love the new dishes. But that photo of the beach should be on a tourist bureau brochure. How gorgeous!! I know we have driven through Leonido, but I'm pretty sure we didn't get to Fokianos. My flower memories run to Oleander and wild irises and thyme rather than poppies. Love the idea of a wildflower tour of the Pel.

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  13. You'd likely not have just happened upon Fokianos, Vera. Most of the tourists come in the summer and anchor their yachts there. It was a beautiful spot and hopefully we will get back there one day! Yes, wouldn't a wildflower tour of the Mani be great????

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So happy to see you took the time to comment. We read them all - and each is much appreciated. We hope you will be a regular here and comment often!

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