Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Peek at 'Paddy’s' Place ~ in Kardamyli

KARDAMYLI - Our time in Greece was spent not far from “Paddy’s place” as the locals refer to his home.

Paddy, is Patrick Leigh Fermor – the British writer; a near legend in Greece for the part he played in World War II in Crete.

He’s also a legend in some literary circles worldwide. You might know him from the series of books he wrote about his two-year trek on foot as a young man in the 1930’s from Holland to Turkey or from the numerous articles and other books he penned during his lifetime.

Around here his most well-known book is, MANI, Travels in the Southern Peloponnese.

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Taygetos Mountains - Peloponnese
He came to The Mani – the vast, sparsely settled area in Greece’s Peloponnese by pack mule somewhere near the mid-20th Century. They didn’t have roads to the region back then and the trip required crossing the soaring Taygetos Mountain range. Note, that even the present-day road (in the photo’s lower left corner) through the area isn’t a super highway.

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Kalamitsi in the foreground, Kardamyli in the back
It was The Mani, in an area called Kalamitsi,(the cluster of buildings to the right center above) just south of Kardamyli, where he and his wife, Joan, chose in the 1960’s to build their home.

We think a lot about his place and his history here each time we’ve visited the area. It’s the kind of place that writers consider hallowed ground; the place of pilgrimages. Paddy and Joan hosted many an event and guests – artists and writers among them -- at their home during their years here. A Google search will result in a treasure chest of photos that captured those times. Joan died in 2003 and Paddy at age 96 in 2011.          

Oh, to have been among those guests. . .

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The old port - Kardamyli
Kardamyli (kahr-dah-mee-lih), where they made their home, has a population of about 400 residents and is one of the most beautiful places in the Peloponnese.  It might well be our favorite town in the area.

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The Messinian Bay from Kardamyli
It is snugged up against the bluest of water in the Messinian Bay with the Taygetos Mountains serving as its backbone.  No question in our minds why it was said to be one of the seven cities offered to Achilles by Agamemnon.

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The snow-covered Taygetos in springtime 
In his book about The Mani, published in 1958, Fermor wrote, “The quiet charm of Kardamyli grew with each passing hour.” 

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One of my favorite buildings on Kardamyli's main street
He continued, “It is too inaccessible and there is too little to do there, fortunately, for it ever to be seriously endangered by tourism. No wonder the nereids made it their home”

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(L - R) Fountain in Kardamyli's square, street scenes and view from a favorite coffee shop
Paddy would likely be surprised at the numbers of hikers – primarily from European countries – that are these days trekking to the area to experience some of those same old donkey trails he likely used to reach the area. They are now popular hiking routes.  He’d probably be floored to know that America’s well known tour guide, Rick Steves also offers a tour that includes a one night stop in Kardamyli. He’d be stunned at the number of modern bars and restaurants that sit side-by-side with those traditional tavernas in town. But he is correct – mass tourism, thankfully, hasn’t altered the area's charm.

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Aquarella, one of the newest bars in town opened this spring
After last week’s post saying we’d gotten back in the saddle again and gone house-hunting after our failed home purchase this summer, I got a note from my blogging buddy, Vera Marie over at A Traveler’s Library (she shares our love of Greece and for Fermor’s books) in which she jokingly asked if we’d considered Fermor’s home.

Sadly, we’ve never gotten any closer to the home than from a roadside viewpoint high above Kardamyli.  I’ve zoomed in with each stop we make to get a better view of the house that matches those identified as his on internet sites. (My photos below match those identified as their home.)

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Kalamitsi - Patrick Leigh Fermor's homesite
I  have to admit I would love to own Paddy’s place – especially after seeing photos on the internet of the home’s interior. I could imagine entertaining guests as he and his wife had done in this wondrous place.
But the home isn’t for sale.

All news reports say he left the home to the Benaki Museum in Athens and that plans are to one day use it as a writers retreat.  However, there is no reference to it on the museum's web site.

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Patrick Leigh Fermor's home - Kalamitsi 
Last year a movie, Before Midnight, the third of the Before Sunrise trilogy was filmed in the area, and included scenes shot at Paddy’s. The DVD can be ordered from Amazon – I just did so as it might be the only way we’ll ever see this place close up!

That’s it for this Travel Photo Thursday. Thanks for joining us today.  And a big welcome to our new followers!

I have added a few of Paddy's books and the DVD to our Amazon carousel found on our home page. (Legally I have to tell you we make a few pennies from each sale from it and honestly, I have to tell you, we've never sold anything from it!)

Linking up:
Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox
Weekend Travel Inspirations at Reflections En Route
Mosaic Monday at Lavender Cottage Gardening

68 comments:

  1. Thanks for writing this Great reply to my question. I'm with you about wishing I could have visited. Wish I had known more about Paddy when I first was in the area. I hear he was very welcoming to any writer who dropped by. Big missed opportunity. Now about those tower houses....

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  2. Thanks for sparking the idea, Vera Marie! Wouldn't it have been incredible to be there being entertained in his home, dining with them??? And about those towers. . .stay tuned! Thanks much for stopping by and the comment!!

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    1. Thanks for the visit - as always, it's appreciated.

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  4. How amazing would it have been to be a guest there?! I love his books - but Mani is the only one I haven't read! I'll have to get a copy. The area looks so charming and beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Wouldn't that have been a kick, Molly?? You should visit the Mani and then read his book on it. . .amazing how much is the same.

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  5. Absolutely draw-droppingly gorgeous. You sure know how to make someone dream... *sigh* Sending good, no GREAT energy your way as the search continues...

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    1. Thanks for the visit, Heather, and the extra boost of energy. We need a bit of recharging. . .

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  6. So glad to hear that mass tourism hasn't altered the town's charm, it looks such a beautiful spot. I would love to hike the donkey trails and gaze on those sylvan ocean views too. Loved the quote from the The Mani, by Fermor, “The quiet charm of Kardamyli grew with each passing hour.”

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    1. Thanks so much for your visit, Jo. It is always good to hear from you and you would be enchanted by those old donkey trails that link the mountain and the ocean! See you soon - take care and happy week ahead!

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  7. Gawd it's soooo beautiful, Jackie! I was just talking about you and Joel to some folks a the lunch table the other day sharing your dream and trek to Greece! :)

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    1. Hopefully you gave them a link to our blog as well, Mike!! The more the merrier as this daydream plays out. And as always thanks so much for your visit - always appreciated!!! Happy week to you and your furry sidekick~

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  8. Greece has not yet been one of the places I`ve visited. The area you`ve shown is beautiful and I`ve made note of the author you`ve written about here. I`ll have to do a little further exploration of your blog, Jackie and Joel.

    Karen

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    1. Hi Karen, It is always so much fun to meet new friends in the blogosphere and Mosaic Monday is a wonderful introduction. I too will be spending more time at your blog. Thanks for your visit and hope to have you as regulars here! Have a great week.

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  9. Besides making new friends, one of the things I like about blogging is visiting different parts of the world through the lens of travellers. I was taken with your description and photos of this area and think it would have been so exciting to be a guest at one of the parties of cultured folks at Fermor's home. Almost romantic to think the home will eventually become a writers retreat.
    Thanks for linking to MM.

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    1. Oh Judith sometimes I feel like these linkups are the parties. We get to meet so many interesting new friends with such different interests and expertise. In this case, you are our Paddy -- thank you for hosting such a wonderful get-together!

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  10. Jackie,

    I am amazingly intrigued!! What an interesting post on the beautiful Kardamyli, and surrounding landscape of the ever so mysterious and mystifying, Mani! Your post has inspired me to do some research on this pioneer and his hospitable personality, his generosity of spirit, and his works. Thank you for sharing, my friend.

    Hugs,
    Poppy

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    1. Poppy, I look forward to seeing what your research reveals. I bet there are some wonderful stories in Crete that we've never yet heard. Happy researching. Hugs, Jackie

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  11. Such an interesting and informative post with so many lovely scenery shots as well :)

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    1. Thanks for your visit! Glad you enjoyed the post - look forward to getting to 'know' you through Mosaic Monday!

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  12. Never heard of the guy to be honest, but this looks like such a beautiful place and can imagine why a writer would want to live there in the hills!

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    1. Yes, it would be quite the writer's retreat, wouldn't it? I suspect that it may be a few years before that comes to pass. . .but what a perfect place if it does! Thanks much for the visit today, Catherine!

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  13. Greece is on my bucket list of countries to visit... I enjoyed your lovely scenic photos. It truly is a beautiful place.. Thanks for sharing, have a happy week!

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    1. Eileen, I hope you get to Greece one day. It is an amazing country with such beautiful landscapes and wonderful, warm, welcoming people.

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  14. What a fabulous visit and charming photos. Thanks so much for sharing. Mildred

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    1. Mildred, Thank YOU for the visit today. I am enjoying getting to know you all in this wonderful Mosaic Monday group!

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  15. Stunning! I love armchair traveling and thank you for this most interesting post. Such a lovely area of the world. So colorful and enticing! Have a lovely week.

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    1. So glad you enjoyed the post. It is a most interesting area of the world. Have a fantastic week and hope to see you again next week - same time, same place!

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  16. What a beautiful place! I'm quite interested in your traveling lifestyle and will be following your blog now. :)

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    1. Oh thank you for the follow, Beth! We do live a life of travel which is the best kind of lifestyle to our way of thinking. . .a bit hectic at times but also so very rewarding! Hope to see you commenting often! See you soon~

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  17. What a great post Jackie and Joel!
    It makes we want to call the travel agent and book a cruise!!
    I love travel and also reading armchair travel books to learn more about parts unknown.
    I could easily spend an afternoon on that terrace overlooking the ocean - pondering life!
    Lovely to meet up again at Mosaic Monday.
    I'm following you too!
    Shane

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  18. Yes, good 'to see you' again Shane! And so nice to have you among our followers. . .hopefully we'll take you on some interesting armchair excursions with us. Yes, I too, could ponder life from that terrace. Happy week ahead!

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  19. Great post! Seems like Paddy may have inspired your writing a bit:-)

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    1. Oh to write like Paddy. . .he certainly influenced our travels that's for sure, Irene! Thanks for the visit today. . .

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  20. How interesting. I enjoyed this read about Greece and it's beauty. You must have a wonderful life of travel and adventure. Enjoy!

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    1. Thanks so much Pamela! We do enjoy our travel lifestyle. Hope you'll visit again soon!

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  21. I discovered Paddy prior to our trip to Central Europe. I devoured the two books about his walk from Amsterdam through Hungary, and would have eaten up the third, which is unfinished, I believe? What a mind. Classical education and very connected, he showed readers many pre-war lifestyles that no longer exist. What a lovely place to live out your days.

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    1. Somewhere Betsy, I think I read that the third book was being finished by someone. I agree - his mind, his vocabulary and his life. . .what a combination! Thanks much for your visit!

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  22. Wonderful shots of interesting place.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by today. I enjoyed your blog as well.

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  23. What a wonderful area, wow Greece is being shared with a lot of bloggers this Monday. I'll have to put this on my must visit places when I go to Athens this October.

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    1. It is about a three hour drive away and all freeway to Kalamata, Noel. I think you would find yourself in Photographer's Paradise. Thanks much for the visit.

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  24. A beautiful photo series, and a very interesting introduction to this writer, so thanks, Jackie.

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    1. Oh Andrew, I always appreciate your visits and your encouraging words about my photos. Thank you for the time you spent here today.

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  25. Kardamyli looks enchanting. I'd love to attend a writers' retreat at Paddy's Place. I hope it is used for that one day.

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    1. I plan to 'stay on it' Donna and if I find such a retreat is scheduled, I will certainly let you know! Wouldn't it be fun to meet on that patio and chat while sipping a bit of Greek wine?

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  26. What's not to like? Thanks for the great photos.

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    1. To answer that question: absolutely nothing! :-) Thanks so much for stopping by today!!

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  27. Thanks for your visit! I enjoyed your beautiful photos. I love films from abroad largely because it is a form of armchair travel. We saw Before Midnight in the theater. I will look forward to seeing it again!

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    1. Hello to another Jacqueline! thanks for stopping by and glad you enjoyed the movie. I've ordered the DVD from Amazon so am eager to see the movie as somehow we missed it when it was in the theaters. Please do visit again!

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  28. It is interesting that "Before Midnight" was filmed there--probably the scenes I most remember because of the setting. Your pier image made me want to run out and watch "Mama Mia" yet one more time!

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    1. Everyone seems to be familiar with that movie but me. I had to look it up as I recalled from last year's visit that there was a movie being shot there. I've ordered the DVD so will get up to speed. And yes, to any reason to watch Mama Mia again! Thanks for your visit, Carole!

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  29. Hi J & J, you should watch 'ILL Met By Moonlight' starring Dirk Bogarde. An old B & W 1957 film in which he portrayed Paddy based on his wartime exploits in Crete (of all places!)...A timeless classic.

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    1. I would love to see that and thanks much for the suggestion, Val!

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  30. Paddy chose a most lovely spot for his home. I'd not heard of him before but am interested in reading more. I'll look him up. Gorgeous photos of a place I'd love to visit.

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    1. Lorrie, thanks so much for the visit and I do hope you'll one day get to visit The Mani. Until then, happy reading of his books. . .and happy week ahead!

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  31. So interesting! I am sure Paddy would be surprise not only at the number of people trekking to his "sanctuary," but that Hollywood found it as well. Your photos are gorgeous!

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    1. He would certainly wonder what had prompted all the interest in it, I am sure. But I would be the first to sign up for a writer's retreat there. Thanks much for your visit today!

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  32. Oh my we want to travel to Greece. We have been to Capri and it is similar in topography and color....you captured the blues perfectly in your mosaics.

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    1. Oh Donna do spend some time on the Mainland if you go to Greece - it is so very different and yet lovely in its own way from all the tourist photos of the blues and whites. I'll be writing more about it so hope you'll return. Thanks for the visit today!

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  33. Such a stunning part of the world. Who knows, maybe someday you'll get to stay at Paddy's place on retreat :) I have not read his books. I wonder if any of them are available a e-books.

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    1. I have only the paper back versions, so don't know about the e-books. It would be fun to meet up at a retreat at Paddy's place wouldn't it?

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  34. Kardamyli looks incredible. Every one of your photos is amazing. I love exploring small towns. I feel as though I really get to experience the lifestyle and culture. You got some great shots of Kalamitsi!

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    1. Thanks so much for the kind words about my photos of Kardamyli and Kalamitsi -- they are both so beautiful it would be difficult to take a 'bad' shot.

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  35. Thank you for this gorgeous introduction to Paddy and Kardamyli. The photos really animate the post so beautifully. It's lovely to see a place that's so beautiful, but not overrun with tourists.

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    1. Thanks for your visit and glad you enjoyed the introduction to Paddy and Kardamyli. Hope to see you back here often!

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  36. What a gorgeous place. I can see myself just relaxing and enjoying the view. I'd love to go.

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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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