When you think 'Kalamata' I suspect you have an image of the spicy, tart olive that crowns Greek dishes everywhere.
When we think 'Kalamata', we are envisioning the port city about an hour's drive away from us on the Messinian Bay. The one that is drawing thousands of tourists each year to its beaches and cultural sites as well as those foodies who are drawn here for its culinary scene.
|Kalamata the port city on the Messinian Bay|
I will admit that before moving as an American expat to the Mani region of the Greek Peloponnese, I am not sure I had ever heard of the city that has become our 'go to' place for doctors, house and garden supplies, shopping, and even overnight big city getaways.
|Kalamata waterfront is one of our favorite places|
"I go there sometimes once a day," our realtor told us when we bought our house six years ago. At the time I couldn't imagine driving so far, so often. It didn't take long for the distance to become rather routine for us as well. It is only 33 miles/53 kilometers from our Stone House on the Hill, but because the highway that takes us there is a two-lane, twisty, turning kind of road, it can sometimes take a full hour or more to reach this city by the sea. But the route takes us through picturesque villages and the Taygetos Mountains provide a backdrop to them all.
|Kambos village en route to Kalamata and Taygetos Mountains|
Soon after we settled in as full-time residents, we were traveling the route as often as once a week as we always had some sort of chore that required a trip there. But as the chores and errands eased up we started allowing ourselves to enjoy this bustling city that boasts the second-oldest Chamber of Commerce in the Mediterranean (right after Marseilles, France).
|Freighter waits outside Kalamata for a load of exports|
We've taken a few of our houseguests on whirlwind trips to the city, but we've never given it the credit it is due for being a down-right fun place for tourists. In fact we didn't recognize all that it had to offer until I began writing an article for The Mediterranean Lifestyle magazine about 'Kalamata - The City'. The Scout and I made several trips to the city just to explore its tourist sites - and believe me there are many!
I am pleased that I was able to showcase the city in the article that was published in this February's magazine. To read that article (which includes information on all those places like museums, art galleries, and historic places we discovered as well as tips on the cutting-edge culinary scene) simply click this link: Kalamata - The City
|So many dining choices - so little time|
I wrote nearly 1,200 words and still didn't have enough space to sing all of its praises. I didn't get a chance to talk about the funky Art Hotel right in the heart of the commercial district that was far less than 100 euros a night and put us within walking distance of shops, and bars, and restaurants. Our overnight stay wasn't nearly long enough to get to them all.
|Our room overlooked the central plateia, square|
I also didn't have the space to show the wonders of the weaving room at the Kalogrian Monastery - the looms once used by the nuns to make silk products that they sold from a small shop in their still functioning nunnery. These days the silk material is made elsewhere but items made from it are for sale in the small display room just inside the entry. I've got to tell you, no future visitors will ever get away without a visit to this sanctuary in the heart of Kalamata.
|The silk weaving looms sit idle at the monastery now|