Friday, March 16, 2018

Greece: On the Road Less traveled ~

I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.

                                      - Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken

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The Kalderimi less traveled
We set off one morning this week to explore a road less traveled. . .less traveled these days, anyway. Once upon a time this kalderimi. was the main thoroughfare linking two ancient villages in Greece’s Mani. Now, one of the area’s many hiking routes, it is carpeted with spring's wild flowers; the blooms soon to be replaced with summer’s sun-burned sepia soil and gray stones that make up its underlying surface.
‘In the former Ottoman countries, a kaldırım (Turkish) or kalderimi (Greek καλντερίμι or καλντιρίμι; plural kalderimia) is a cobblestone-paved road built for hoofed traffic. Kalderimia are sometimes described as cobbled or paved mule tracks or trails.’
                                                  -- Wikipedia

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Lagkada's narrow road becomes the kalderimi
While many we know think we took the road less traveled just by moving to Greece, we‘ve but touched the surface of the Mani’s magic and mystery. It is outings such as this that will keep us entertained here for many years.

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Lagkada village - Mani - Greek Peloponnese
This kalderimia was the original path between the villages of Thalames and Lagkada. The two are about a 20 minute drive south of our home. We began our walking ‘road trip’ at the village furthest from us, Lagkada, which is built amphitheatrically on the slopes of a hill.

Its history, according to some, dates back to the reign of Marcus Aurelius; a time when the Romans conquered the neighboring Thalames, which was on the major route between Sparta and the Messinian coast. The two villages are about two kilometers apart.

Lagkada, like many of the villages here, is populated with stone homes and Byzantine churches and punctuated with a few towers, for which the Mani is known.  The Kalamata – Areopolis ‘Highway’, a narrow two-lane paved road that replaced the kalderimi, bisects the sleepy village. The only signs of life on the day we visited were a few locals sipping coffee at the taverna across the highway from the Church of the Metamorfosi of the Soter; a church with murals said to date back one thousand years..

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Scaffolding has recently gone up - restoration is underway at the ancient church
The kalderimi is now one of the many walking paths that draw hikers and out-door vacationers to the area in the summer months.  (Shhh. . .don’t tell them of its springtime beauty.)   We didn’t encounter anyone making for a much more pleasant experience than our memories of walking the paths between villages in Italy’s over-run Cinque Terre.

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Cobblestones and wildflowers of the kalderimi
The stone surface is uneven and we could have used some hiking poles for a bit of balance, but did the walk in a half an hour with plenty of stops to 'ooh and ahh' at the flower bedecked olive groves we passed. We did wear shoes with sturdy treads although we could have used those with the no-slip soles.

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Olive groves carpeted in wildflowers
There are organized hikes offered by companies in Kardamyli and our village of Agios Nikolaos but walks that follow the old kalderimia are quite simple and easy to accomplish on your own.

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On the road less traveled
One of the best sources for Greek hiking opportunities we’ve found is the on-line Walkopedia. (By clicking on that link you’ll be taken to a list of hikes throughout Greece.)

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Springtime in the Mani
Today marks a month since our return to The Stone House on the Hill, following our six-week sojourn to the U.S. We’ve spent the last four weeks ticking projects off our house and garden ‘to do’ list. As that list shortens our upcoming travel list is lengthening.When not welding a shovel or pitchfork,  The Scout’s been at work planning some new adventures. . .so hope you’ll be with us as we set out to explore Greece. . .

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Mani wildflower
Where ever  the road leads you and yours this week we wish you a safe, happy, healthy journey. As always, thanks for the time you’ve spent with us ~

Linking this week with:

Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday
Communal Global
Travel Photo Thursday – 
Photo Friday
Weekend Travel Inspiration
Best of Weekend













22 comments:

  1. Oh, those roads less traveled are by far the most beautiful, are they not? The peaceful landscape, just waiting for those who appreciate its serenity, its history, its fabulous flora and fauna, to walk along its pretty promenade, leading to paths that dreams are made of, where one wants to wander endlessly...

    Thanks for sharing your adventure in your neck of the woods. Spring in the Mani sure is gorgeous! Looking forward to your next hike!

    Happy weekend!
    Poppy xx

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    1. Well in between dust storms, wind storms and rain storms the countryside has definitely been stunning! Slowly the flower blooms are spent but we still get a few more weeks of beauty. Have a great weekend! xx Jackie

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  2. Oh my goodness! That road is absolutely stunning. Those wildflowers, the craggy rocks, I'm in awe. What a lovely find. :-)

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    1. It was breathtaking but there are so many such pretty places here that we may never get to them all! Thanks for stopping by as you head into autumn at your house!

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  3. Oh, I love your opening photo of the spring wildflowers, the green fields and the stone fences. Your photos show a wild Greece exactly how I picture it and how awesome to know that some of these roads are still less traveled. You'll have lots of fun exploring these places on your own! P.S. Thanks for the intro to Walkopedia. Although it doesn't have much on Portugal's many walks yet, I'm thinking it will be a great future resource.

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    1. I was pleasantly surprised to see how many walks it had from Greece and will keep it in mind as we start exploring the country more. Hope you avoided the dust storms we've been having. xxx J.

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  4. The beauty in these photos just takes my breath away. You are so so good with your camera...xo

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    1. Thanks for the lovely comment BJ but it is difficult to take a bad photo when the camera is pointed at such beautiful scenes.

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  5. Thx for this lovely post, Jackie. I enjoyed learning about the Mani’s magic and mystery, and felt like I was right there with you.

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    1. Thanks for the visit Doreen - so glad you enjoyed that walk! I'll be checking out your blog soon for your latest adventures.

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  6. Mani's magic is pretty cool and loving your surrounding too. Nice to be able to explore your backyard. I hope your travels bring you to Athens. It would be nice to meet up. I need to check our dates as l planned back to back Greece and Prague and can't remember which comes first :-)!

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    1. Let me know when you'll be in Athens and I'll check our calendar! Thanks for stopping by!!

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  7. That's so beautiful! I've always wanted to visit Greece in the spring - what great inspiration you've provided. And how nice that you can enjoy it at leisure!

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    1. It is so very nice not to be rushing through as we once did in our travels. Hard to believe we used to do week-long, long distance trips and then throw ourselves back into our work-a-day lives.

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  8. The combination of history and the natural beauty of this ancient road are wonderful. I have never been to Greece but every time I read about your adventures I want to visit even more!! Very interesting!!

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    1. Well I do hope I am convincing any of my readers that there is more to see of Greece than Santorini and Mykonos! Glad you enjoyed the tour! Thanks for the visit.

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  9. As usual, a very lovely post. My eyesight isn't great but I don't quite see the trail? is there really a dirt trail? Love the idea of Walkopedia. Will go take a look now!

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    1. The dirt is buried under the carpet of flowers. It will have a completely different look come late June - rather barren and sparse. Thanks for the visit, Irene.

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  10. So beautiful and peaceful! Thank you so much for sharing this at Best of the Weekend!

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    1. I visited some beautiful blogs by linking up with the Best of the Weekend! Thanks for co-hosting it!

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  11. Those spring flowers are beautiful. What a lovely "less-travelled road" for a walk.

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  12. These may be the road less traveled but it certainly is a beautiful one at that. I loved seeing all the spring flowers along the route. Thanks for sharing it.

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