Wednesday, July 10, 2013

“Gorging” Ourselves in Greece’s Mani

We’d set out one morning during our stay in the small town of Kardamili to explore the surrounding countryside in this part of the Peloponnese known as the ‘Outer Mani’ .

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The two-lane paved road twisted its way through olive groves and wild flower bouquets up the hillside toward the peak of Mt. Profitis Ilias (Prophet Elias). The mountain with an elevation of 7,897-ft (2,407-meters) is the highest mountain in the Taygetus range. The towering mountain is visible from miles away.

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What we didn’t realize when we started out is that we were headed to Exohori, the small hamlet that serves as a gateway to Viros Gorge (Gorge Virou), a stunning deep river gorge that runs  from the foot of Mt. Profitis Ilias to Kardamili (Kardamyli).

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While the morning’s light cloud cover obscured the mountain’s peak, it highlighted the contours that make up  this popular hiking area.

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The  map pictured to the left was posted at the beginning of the gorge trail showing just how many different directions you could explore. . .if you had  hiking boots (which we hadn’t).

So we set out on the wide gravel road to at least get a taste of hiking the gorge:








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As we walked we couldn’t but think of the history held in the heart of these mountains. The name Taugetus or Taygetos is one of the oldest recorded in Europe (it is mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey).


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The trail beckoned us to walk just a bit further, then a bit further,  amid scenery that was a feast for the soul.

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However, on the off chance anyone was walking along and was too dense to recognize their breathtaking surroundings. . .someone had erected a sign in Greek and English – which made us laugh - to help them take note:

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If You Go:

Taygetos Location Map

The nearest airport is at Kalamata, Greece about 40 kilometers away, (click the link provided).

For accommodations, there is one hotel in Exohori, Hotel Faraggi that overlooks the gorge and it has rave reviews on Trip Advisor and Hotels.com. The gorge views from its balcony are unbelievable! (It can be seen on the left cliff in the second to last photo.) 

A larger selection of restaurants and tavernas are found in ocean side Kardamyli  (click the link provided).

That’s it for Travel Photo Thursday hosted by Nancie at  Budget Travelers Sandbox and Noel's Travel Photo Discovery which appears Mondays.

27 comments:

  1. Great to see this other side of Greece - something other than the islands :)

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    1. The mainland is as beautiful as the islands, we learned on this trip. So much so, we are conflicted on which we like best. Thanks for visiting, Denise.

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  2. Hi Jackie,
    I love learning about all these small Greek villages from you. I hope I can visit them someday.
    That's such a nice taste of hiking a beautiful gorge. The breathtaking sceneries were indeed food for the soul. And that old history of mountain is truly interesting.

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    1. Oh I do so hope you'll get to visit Greek villages one day! Each tugs at your heartstrings. . .Thanks for visiting today!

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  3. That sign is indeed funny. I like the view you showed us of Viros Gorge. It must have been so interesting to visit a place mentioned by Homer.

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    1. Sometimes the history of Greece is so overpowering that you can't quite process it all. Thanks much for your visit, Michele.

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  4. What an absolutely gorgeous place to go hiking!! I would love to hike there. :-)

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    1. It was stunning - and we were the only ones there that morning; such peace and quiet. Have a great week - hope to see you again soon!

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  5. Beautiful place... so peaceful :)

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  6. Your first photo makes me feel like I am actually there. I feel like I could touch the yellow flowers and foliage in the foreground.

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    1. Sensory overload is what those blooms contributed to -- so much to see, smell, touch. . .sigh. Thanks for your visit, Jan.

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  7. What a great hike, I'm exhausted by that long hike uphill :)

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    1. Yes, Noel, it was one 'tough' stretch we 'hiked' that day, but someone's gotta do it! :-)

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  8. What a great experience and such an interesting landscape. I really need to see more of mainland Greece, it's much too easy to be lazy in the islands.

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    1. Mainland Greece is so stunning that it can take your breath away - we are also guilty of heading to the islands, but this trip has changed that!

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  9. I was expecting lots of Greek food at first from reading your title :) But, these beautiful views were just as great. It's refreshing to see this part of Greece. I so want to visit Greece! Thanks for the virtual trips for now.

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    1. Mary, you will love Greece and its people once you get there! Doesn't matter if it is mainland or islands, beautiful landscapes and wonderful welcomes.

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  10. I must go to Greece! I must go to Greece!

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    1. You are correct, Dick. Just keep repeating. . .

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  11. I so love that you take us to parts of Greece that most of us will never see...It is ALL so beautiful!!

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    1. Hi Heather, You live in such a beautiful area as well. . .and I agree there is so much beauty out there that most of us will never be able to see it all. Have a great weekend!

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  12. Wow! What a fantastic place to visit.

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  13. What a stunning place. I'd love to hike along that road and like you, think about all that history. It can give me goosebumps in places like that.

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  14. Hi Jackie! This looks gorgeous, and off the beaten track!

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  15. Wow! Such a beautiful place! I hope I get to visit there soon. :)

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  16. Oh my goodness, don't know how I missed your visit in July, I guess we were traveling, but thanks for stopping by. I took a return trip to your page and love your Travel Jams.

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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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