Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Don’t Miss A Rocky Mountain High in Greece’s Mani

Sometimes those Greek tourist promotion folks focus too much on sun-kissed beaches, sailboats, sand and surf.

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Plenty of sun and sea in Greece

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Greece does have more than its fair share of sea, sun, sand and surf but what is equally impressive and should call out to all visitors,are its mountains.

There are many unsung mountain ranges throughout Greece but now that we are part time ex pats, just south of Kalamata, in the Peloponnese we can attest to the striking beauty of the towering ranges that make up this expansive peninsula.

Of course, the Taygetos, that frame our area are our favorite!  (The Green on the map is mountainous areas).

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Taygetos Mountain views
And since I told you about stones last week, I thought it time to pay homage to the source of those stones: the mountains that surround us. This is also an intended nudge to those of you planning trips to Greece to include some mountains in your explorations. Hint: in The Mani you can find beaches and mountains within minutes of each other.

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Messinian meets Mountains - view from above our house
Quite frankly, the mountains were as much a selling point for this area as was the sea when we decided to purchase our Stone House on the Hill. One of our favorite pastimes is exploring the many tiny villages tucked away in those Taygetos Mountains that surround us.

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In this area signs are in Greek and English
You understand – an appreciate – the small sized cars that most people drive here when you set out on the narrow ribbons of asphalt that twist and turn up the hillsides and through the gorges.

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The road between villages - The Mani
While the road that links the villages is narrow – very narrow in some places – the route is an easy one as you encounter few cars and only a herd of goats or sheep and cow or two along the way.

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Slow traffic ahead
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Whoa Bessie!
No matter how often we make the drive, we never get tired of the ‘treats’ just waiting around each bend in the road – whether it be a sweeping view of the ocean that makes us catch our breath or a hidden treasure like this Mani tower and crumbling fortress that teases our imaginations with its history.

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A Mani Tower
If driving doesn’t appeal to you, these mountainsides are also laced with hiking trails, many of them following the routes of goat and donkey trails that many in the villages will tell you were once the only links between them and the sea.

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Some hikes can be done on the roads leading along gorges
Entrances to hiking paths are marked with signs in English and color coded markings along the way alert hikers to direction and difficulty of the route. There are no use fees or parking fees here.

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There's a magic in the Mani Mountains
We can’t recommend The Mani Mountains enough.  Keep them in your travel plans if you are heading to Greece. After all Lonely Planet just named the Peloponnese as one of Europe's top, must-see destinations for 2016.

Again thanks so much for the time you spent with us today!  And a special thanks to those of you who’ve enjoyed the blog so much that you’ve shared it with your friends and families – it is always fun to hear from someone that says, ‘a friend recommended your blog’.

Hello to our new followers and those who’ve signed up to receive the blog in their inboxes. Come back next week when we’ll slow the pace a bit and savor Greece, the Greek way. And for those of you wanting to see how we use souvenirs to decorate, I am about to invite you in for a tour! 

Safe travels to you and yours~

Linking up this week with:
Mosaic Monday – 
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday – 
Photo Friday
Weekend Travel Inspiration

51 comments:

  1. I did not expect to see such tall mountains in Greece, but being stuck behind a herd of animals didn't surprise me.

    Thanks for the little visit to Greece this morning.

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    1. You were welcome to come along and I am glad you did! Many people express surprise at the mountain ranges in Greece, I think, because tourism loves to promote the sun, sea and sand!

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  2. Beautiful and very scenic locales.

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    1. Thanks for your visit, Rajesh, as always your comments are appreciated!

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  3. "No matter how often we make the drive, we never get tired of the ‘treats’ just waiting around each bend in the road"

    I felt this exact way when we lived in Germany. You live in a beautiful place.

    Lisa @ Life Thru the Lens (www.lisakerner-slp.com)

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    1. Oh, so glad you understand what I was saying there Lisa. It really is like opening a gift with each bend in the road. So glad you experienced that in Germany. Thanks much for the comment!

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  4. It's a little strange to read all these beautiful descriptions and reports about my country through your eyes...
    I'm so glad you discover nice things in Mani.Wish I could join you.
    A warm hug
    Olympia

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    1. I find it interesting to read other's reports of places that I often just take for granted because they are so close to home. It is fun to see places through other's eyes. One of these days, we'll do a trip together, Olympia! Hugs, Jackie

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  5. We were there last fall. Those mountain roads are scary! But beautiful scenery!! ~Terri

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    1. Yes, I agree, we've been on some roads that had me holding my breath and shutting my eyes, but the ones near us in The Mani really are quite safe and I'd hate to shut my eyes and miss the drop-dead gorgeous views.

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  6. What a gorgeous post. I keep telling people if they want good beaches they should go to Florida or California. All those pebbles and stony cliffs are nice to look at in Greece, but not great for sunbathing!

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    1. There are some wonderful sand beaches in our area as well, but I keep hoping that visitors will 'head to the hills' and experience the beauty there and not just toast themselves under the Grecian sun on a beach.

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  7. We drove along the roads of Greece in Dec 2014! Most memorable of all my tours! The mountain sides most beautiful. Thank you for these lovely captures. It is like I made the trip again.

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    1. Oh thanks for such a lovely comment Indrani! So glad it brought back memories (good ones) of your Grecian road trip!

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  8. Wow thank you so much for this post. Yes you are right, we are made to believe that Greece is mostly those white painted buildings and lovely beaches. Now those photos of mountains are more attractive for me, i prefer the mountains and waterfalls than the sea and beaches, we have lots of them here. That rocky mountain holding the tower looks like some mountains in Turkey, when i was so disappointed coz i am already very near Greece but still cannot go for lack of budget. lol. Thanks so much

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    1. Thank you for such a thoughtful comment. I'll keep my fingers crossed that one of these days you do make it to Greece and experience for yourself these magnificent mountains!

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  9. Jackie, I read about Taygetos many years ago in one of my kids school book and became enamoured. And so with 4 kids in tow we drove down to Sparta and across Taygetos over to Kalamata on one of the hottest days of the year. I will never forget that trip. It was exhilirating and exhausting at the same time. My love for majestic Taygetos has no bounds. I think we are two pees in a pod, because I just wrote a post about the mountains in my area as well. I am spotlighting the mountains of Helmos. Really, more respect to the mountains, the seas have all the glory.

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    1. We did that road trip in reverse - from Kalamata to Sparta and it was so absolutely stunning that it took your breath away at times. We come from a mountainous area of the U.S. but they pale in comparison to the Taygetos! I must come see what you've written!

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    2. Jackie I don't normally like to do this but I'm going to give you the link to my mountain post. I want your input. This is Helmos. http://www.theboondocksblog.com/home/the-majestic-mountains-of-greece-h

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    3. Mary, thanks so much for the link - I couldn't find the post when I went to your blog! Loved your road trip.

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  10. What a perfect country...beaches and sea...majestic mountains...how beautiful it all looks...and what a blessing for you to be there to enjoy it all.
    Have fun...life is sooo short.
    xoxo

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    1. Yes BJ we are definitely blessed to have discovered this part of the world and to have incorporated it, at least part-time, into our lives. Thanks for the visit!!! xxxx J.

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  11. You have the best of both worlds, Jackie and I loved seeing some of the mountain roads. Such a great way to spend a few hours wandering about and the animals along the way (or on the road) only add to the pleasure!

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    1. Yes, we did luck out with the best of both worlds. I stood in a checkout line in Washington State not long ago and the woman ahead of me was lusting over our state's geography, "Where else would you find the mountains so close to the sea?" she almost swooned. Hmmm. . .I thought, 'in The Mani!'

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  12. We love beaches that are surrounded by mountains. Mountains make me feel free and their presence is magical. I remember house-sitting in the mountains near Granada Spain and daily walks along the mountain trails with our dog. So beautiful. I think I would love your corner of Greece.

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    1. I think you'd be star-struck by its beauty Jan. There is something almost heavenly about the place. Thanks so much for stopping by.

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  13. Hello, I love the views of the sea and the mountains. Greece is a beautiful country. I love the shot of the sheep in the road. Thanks for sharing the beauty! Happy Sunday, enjoy your new week ahead!

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    1. Hi Eileen, thanks for stopping by and glad you enjoyed our tour. Hope you'll join us next week for a cup of coffee - Greek style.

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  14. I really enjoyed this. Thanks for sharing! I'm following you now!

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    1. So glad 'to meet you' via these postings. I have just started following you as well! And glad you enjoyed this post!

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    1. Thanks much Rajesh - as always, I appreciate your comments.

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  16. Always enjoy seeing the Greece you love Jackie. I don't get stuck behind animals on the roads in our rural area but big tractors and combines - all the time. :-)

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    1. It is amazing to me how being behind a herd of animals, a tractor or combine makes me smile while getting caught in a traffic jam on the freeway can cause me to have high blood pressure. ;-)

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  17. I didn't know that there are snow-capped mountains in Greece! You can have everything there!

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    1. You got my point perfectly Carol! They need to tell people about the mountains, these stunning snow-capped mountains as well as the sand, sun and surf. Thanks for the visit~

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  18. I didn't know that there are snow-capped mountains in Greece! You can have everything there!

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    1. Yes Carol we did luck out when it came to finding a view home - we have both sea and mountains and with just a turn of the head! Thanks for your visit!

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  19. I agree with you, Jackie. The tourism people have really oversold the sand and beach, etc. Those mountains are quite impressive - and beautiful! Thanks for showing us this other side of Greece.

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    1. Hi Marcia, thanks much for the comment, and hopefully I'll be able to continue showing that 'other side' of people and places in Greece in future posts.

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  20. It all looks so picture postcard pretty, and those views are amazing. I love that there is a quieter world away from the sand and sea brigade.

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    1. I call it 'the real Greece' Jo and one so very special. Thanks much for your visit - I am loving your tales on your blog!

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  21. What beautiful scenery and my favorites would be your opening image and the final one, they both speak to my soul~

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    1. Thank you Mary, so glad you connected with the photos. The scenes in Greece do take your breath away!

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  22. What wonderful pictures! I never would have imagined that mountains in Greece ever have snow!

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    1. We were surprised at first - thanks to those tourist promoters who had us believing that Greece was one big beach under blue sky -- they were correct, but they left out the mountains!

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  23. The Taygetos Mountain views are beautiful, although not what I normally think of when I think of Greece. I love the photo with the animal traffic jam ahead of you.

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    1. Those animal traffic jams take place surprisingly often -- and we love them each time they do. Thanks for the visit, Donna.

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  24. I didn't expect to see such high mountains there. The Taygetos were a big surprise and look like I would love all of the hiking trails.

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    1. Alison you could hike for miles over many days and never see the same scenery. It is a hiker's paradise and numerous hiking groups from Europe primarly are often in the area - doing just that: hiking!

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