|Sun roof open and on the road again in Greece|
Last week, after more than two months of traveling no further than a couple of kilometers from home, we were finally free to travel anywhere in the mainland. Greece, to its credit, has kept the curve flat and as a result is slowly coming back to life from its rather draconian, but effective, lockdown for COVID19.
We were finally free to travel as part of the country's staggered reopening. And I am here to tell you, these two vagabonds were giddy at the thought!
|On the road to Gythio passing through the village of Agios Nikonas|
|Fishing boats line the harbor in Gythio, Greece|
Gythio - The Myth
According to Greek mythology, Gythio is said to have been founded by Heracles and Apollo.
Paris and Helen fled to Gythio, (ghee-THEE-oh) to escape her husband, King Menelaus of Sparta.
In short: Helen of Sparta was the most beautiful woman on earth. Paris was a Trojan Prince. She and Paris fled to the island, ancient Kranae, just off the shore at Gythio, and after a night of passion they sailed to Troy. That little getaway set off the Trojan War and ultimately the end of Troy.
Okay, our getaway wasn't quite as earthshaking as that. Yet, I can tell you we felt the thrill of escape as we set out on our journey!
I am certain all of you who've experienced some sort of confinement in recent months can appreciate how it felt getting in a car, opening the sun roof and side windows -- being blasted by sun and wind -- and setting off on an adventure that takes you beyond a grocery store, pharmacy or the local take-out place!
|First post lockdown daytrip route|
Gythio is a little over an hour's drive from our home in The Mani region of the Greek Peloponnese. The route takes us south through several small villages and then across hills and valleys that make up the inland countryside.
We often visit this once-seaport of Sparta (some 30 miles away) because it is so close, yet so different. This picturesque town is a total contrast to the world in which we live. Its soft pastel-painted 19th century Neoclassic architecture is so very different from the harsh gray and brown stone construction that dominates our area. But never has it looked as inviting as it did after lockdown. We have been guilty of taking its charms for granted. In fact, I realize I've never even written about the place before!
Greek treasure - discovered
|Mermaid on the new cruise ship dock|
A Greek ferry arrives and departs this city once a week, taking passengers and cars to and from the islands of Kythira and Crete. The ferry continued running throughout the lockdown.
We've noticed in recent years, a definite upswing in tourism here, perhaps as result of being discovered by the cruise ship industry.
|Cruise ships at Gythio before new dock was finished|
|New ship dock in Gythio sits empty|
The new dock was empty. A a sad reminder of the impact of COVID19 on travel, cruise travel in particular. We were the only ones on the dock. We can't help but wonder when and if a cruise ship might dock here again.
|Plenty of yachts in the harbor|
The shops throughout town were open. Hotels and restaurants that line the waterfront were abuzz with activity as eateries prepared to reopen (which happened this last week) with the opening of hotels in the next few weeks.
|A new wine shop, Ell-oinon, find in Gythio|
We had a coffee to go and sipped it in the plateia (plaza) that serves as a roundabout for traffic on the seafront road. Traffic still swirled around the little oasis as it always has. On a street perpendicular to the waterfront, we discovered a new wine store where wine can be purchased by the liter and is poured from the barrel and box into a container the size you desire. Along the waterfront I purchased a new sun bonnet from one of my favorite tourist shops. We were the only customers in both shops.
|La Boheme Boutique Hotel Gythio|
For years we've said we should spend a night here. We've learned from lockdown not to put off until tomorrow as the opportunity may be lost. . .so we've already been scouting accommodations! There are plenty of them and once again, like kids in a candy store, we will have difficulty in deciding which one to choose.
|Flower decked balcony in Gythio|
It is a great feeling to again be making decisions about which way to go and what to do when we get there. As our adopted country continues to open, we are planning some overnight getaways in the next month. We will take the appropriate precautions but unlike some other travelers who've written about taking a bag of cleaners and disinfectants with them, we don't plan to spend our time cleaning rooms. We plan to get out and enjoy the destination. It seems as if it has been a long time since we could do that!
I'll let you know how it goes in our next post and in the meantime our wishes for safety and health wherever this finds you. Thanks for your time today!
Linking this week with:
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
My Corner of the World Wednesday