Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Greece: A Winter’s Day ~ An ‘Errand’ Outing

Wisdom comes with winters.
    -- Oscar Wilde

Let me make one thing perfectly clear: now that we've been here for two winters, I can assure you that we do have winter in Greece.

This year has been a poster child for winter with snow falling throughout the northern half of Greece while the rest of us were bombarded by cold temperatures, hail that turned nearby beaches white and rain. Lots and lots of rain. . .and wind. Lots and lots of wind.

This country – a playground for sun and sand seekers – proved again that it can also a winter wonderland.

A walk on a winter's day
As I wrote this post a week ago, snow was falling in northern Greece. It dusted our surrounding mountain tops but didn’t reach our home. The taller peaks of the Taygetos Mountains which border our Mani region are definitely snow covered while the lower hills look like they’ve been dusted with powdered sugar. For a few days our temperatures ranged from 4C to 8C (high 30’sF – mid-40’sF).

The Stone House on the Hill sits below a dusted mountain range
With no snow on the ground we were able to get out and about to run errands or rendezvous with friends.  Sometimes we went to the local coffee shop for a cappuccino, sipped by their toasty fireplace. Many times we simply stay at home listening to the wind howl and watching the rain fall.

Winters are wet at times in The Mani
It is those incredibly nasty days that make us appreciate the other winter days when Mother Nature  turns on her charm. On those days, temperatures shoot towards  60F’s. And it is on those days when we set off to run a most routine errand -- like depositing our garbage in the community bins or buying groceries -- that we can’t resist the temptation of what I call an ‘errand outing’.  

It is amazing how much fun an ‘errand outing’ -- almost a miniature staycation -- can be. And we probably should have done more of them in our Pacific Northwest when we lived there, but traffic congestion and windows of travel time always seemed to take the edge off such spontaneous outings.
Here, with no traffic and a new world to explore, we simply set off. . .like the day we drove around the bend to the village at the end of the road:

On a winter's day in The Mani. . .

I’ve recently been reading of high-priced travel destinations designed so that the traveler can  ‘tune out and turn off'; simply disconnect for a bit of time. No cell phones, television or computers.  Lots of walks and time spent outside.  'Time to reconnect with yourself. Slowing down your pace,' are the marketing hooks used to lure guests.
If  those people signing up for those getaways read this blog, they’d know they could have the same experience by running errands in rural Greece. . .we leave the phone in the car, turn off the computer and don’t own a television: instant, easy and cheap disconnect!

New paths to explore on an errand outing

On those spring-like winter days like the one that prompted us to take this outing, we’ve explored the villages around us. It is amazing what you can find in your ‘own backyard’ if you simply give yourself permission to get out and enjoy it instead of being tied to a self-created ‘to do’ list.

What would we do with this place if we owned it?
The photos in this post come from an outing we took to a village, quite literally at the end of the road. It  is one of those almost-deserted villages that you read about in the mainstream media. The ones where the young people have left, leaving a couple dozen full-time residents most of the year and less than a dozen in winter. Families return for August summer vacations or other holidays – and then the place comes to life.  While many of the homes are sporting new paint and plants, some sit forlornly abandoned.

Imaginations soar  in village settings. . .
We find our imaginations working overtime as we wander through the village on its narrow foot passageways that lead to and past ages-old stone homes; the towering gray stone structures typical of the architecture found in this area. We ponder the history of the village and wonder how it must have been back when the olive press was operating here. . .how many stores and restaurants did it have operating? Ships, we’ve read, used to sail from the small harbor here bound for Kalamata and other ports of call.

When we are lucky enough to happen upon a bench we do as A.A. Milne's famous quote says. . .

'Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits...' 

Exploring our world includes sitting time

We ended this errand outing by sitting on the single bench that overlooks the town and harbor. The sun was warm on our flannel shirts, it was a reminder that winter will soon be drawing to a close. Spring can’t be far away.

Errand outings are easily accomplished. They can be a long or short as you want them to be and require no advance planning.   Now that I’ve planted the seed,  are tere some places near you that you’ve been thinking of exploring that would make for a perfect as an errand outing?

Let us know in the comments below or shoot us an email.  Where ever your travels take you ~ enjoy! Thanks so much for the time you spend with us here!  We’ll have a few more tales of our Arabian nights coming next week - hope you'll join us then!

Linking today with:
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday


  1. Loved reading your musings! You manage to put into words the experiences we cherish having made the move to Greece. We arrived in Los Angeles on our way back to Hawaii for a visit and we are experiencing the differences “differently” this time.....and enjoying our time back home while already planning for our coming year in Greece. We resolve to take more back road adventures in the coming year and to keep a better record of our travels in Greece. Thanks for your inspiring point of view. Aloha! A hui ho!

    1. What fun meeting up with you on the other side of the world from our adopted home of Greece. Thanks for the kind words, I am glad I am capturing all our experiences!

  2. It's good to know you are still pottering around the Mani.

    1. Yes, I plan to do more of these little outings but with spring's arrival we have got some major gardening to do!

  3. Beautiful rocky shore, reminds me of the west coast of Vancouver Island. - Margy

    1. So much of Greece reminds us of the Pacific Northwest and other parts are identical to Arizona's landscape. It really is a small world!

  4. Nice to know you can vacation in your own backyard, as far as your imagination can take you!

    1. I suspect we travel enthusiasts could all enjoy and discover backyard vacation destinations with very little effort. Thanks for stopping by Carol!

  5. I know there are places close to home that would be worth of exploring, but.......I'm guilty of never making the time. I did enjoy tagging along on your errand outing, however. Perhaps you've inspired me to make time for one here at home!

    1. I had the same problem when living in the States and I still can't figure out what I thought was so important that I couldn't take some extra time for a bit of a getaway. . .thanks for stopping by!

  6. I don't think of Greece having cold weather or snow, so this was quite an eye-opener. I'm learning more about Greece from reading your blog posts! I must admit I would rather visit in the warm weather months! As for adventuring close to home, there are always day trips worthy of that, no matter where you live. We've just moved back to southern Indiana and we'll be exploring more here in the Spring.

    1. Oh yes, the winter's are nasty in Greece and this year has been even more severe than others. I had to laugh at a blog I read last week in which the author had recommended a variety of destinations as being great 'any time of year' and I thought how sad he/she hadn't researched the weather before making such a claim! Thanks for stopping by . . .

  7. I wrote a post this week about a "staycation" in the county adjacent to our home town of Philadelphia. However, I do sometimes just wander the history sprinkled streets here in Center City Philadelphia----Washington did really sleep here--- and there. Meanwhile, I smiled at your statement that exploring your area is an "instant, easy and cheap disconnect". All you have to do is buy a house in Greece!

  8. I loved your staycation post and tried to leave a comment but your pop ups kept me from being able to do so. My statement was meant to reflect that an errand getaway was an instant easy and cheap disconnect no matter where you live in the world - I will have to be a better editor next time! Thanks for stopping by - hope we link up in Hawaii!

  9. This is nice and yeah..great way to disconnect. I however, can not live without TV :-). I like to watch movies and sometimes find it comforting to watch without sound or just switch from channel to channel without watching anything in particular (something that drives him crazy..haha!).

  10. Lovely shots and rural Greece sounds lovely.

  11. What a wonderful place to run errands. I'd be glad to do so!
    Thanks for linking up at

  12. I had no idea Greece could brag about nasty winters along with all it's other dream worthy attributes. Somehow I think I might enjoy running winter errands more thru your lens than that of New England's. But everything is relative right!

  13. Your photos are lovely Jackie and your term "errand outing" is perfect. Most days I start out my daily walk by hauling our recyclables and garbage to the community bins and and outings to see friends always end with a stop at the grocery store before heading home. Travel marketers will try all sorts of ways to lure vacationers to a destination but you're so right - by opting for a simpler lifestyle in a small village, you can disconnect and "be present" whenever you want!


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