Kalamata. The city, that is. It wasn't love at first sight; I can assure you.
Our first introduction to this sprawling port town, now nearly a decade ago, was driving through it enroute to Athens after a road trip through the Peloponnese that led us to a village an hour to its south. A village that would ultimately become our expat home.
|Kalamata capital of the Messinian region of the Peloponnese|
Back then I wasn't taken with this sprawling commercial and shipping hub wrapped around the tip of the Messinian Bay. In fact, when I realized that as expats living just 'down the road', it would be our 'go to' city -- the place we would buy retail goods, groceries, gasoline and other of life's necessities -- it gave me a bit of a shudder. It felt somewhat like a ghost town.
|Kalamata a decade ago had a ghost-town feel|
In fairness though, back then all of Greece was still staggering from the sucker punch dealt it by its 2008 economic free-fall. Kalamata with a cityscape of ubiquitous concrete buildings was no exception. And with a close look many of those bland buildings housed empty storefronts and were decorated with graffiti. Really, it wasn't very different from other metropolitan areas in Greece back then. It certainly didn't inspire one to spend much time in it.
But that was then, and a decade later the economic pulse of both Greece and Kalamata have changed for the better. We've had the pleasure of experiencing this evolution and we don't hesitate to sing their praises.
|Kalamata's waterfront a draw for locals and tourists|
|Downtown charmer in Kalamata|
Kalamata - What's in a Name?
Kalamata - Something Old
|Entry to the castle grounds - Kalamata|
|An icon on the castle wall - Kalamata|
|Metropolitan Church of Ypapanti tou Sotiros in old town Kalamata|
|Kalograion Monastery - silk weaving looms stand silent these days|
|The silk scarf I purchased at the Nun's Monastery Kalamata|
|Where the 1821 War of Independence began - Kalamata|
|Tributes to history in Kalamata|
Kalamata - Something New
|This building looked like many found in the city's core - (Photo credits)|
|The building above 2022 look (Photo credits)|
|5-star Hotel Grand just opened on Kalamata's waterfront|
The tiny Kalamata International Airport might be the easiest International Airport to transit in Europe. It opened in 1959. Charter flights began arriving in 1986 and the terminal was rebuilt in 1991. I laugh every time we stand in baggage claim and the belt begins snaking the luggage past a sign that reads, "Baggage Claim 1' . . .as if there were a line of a dozen such luggage belts operating. . .there aren't.
The most aircraft we've ever seen there at one time were four jets. That does mean we might have a line at passport control simply because there isn't room for us all inside.
|You'll cross the Corinth Canal driving from Athens to Kalamata|
A four-lane divided freeway links Kalamata and Athens and the trip will take under three hours depending on weather and traffic conditions. Taking KTEL buses between the two cities is a popular option used by many of us who live here as well as tourists.
That's it for this week. As always, we thank you for the time you spend with us at TravelnWrite. Welcome to our new subscribers! We had a glitch with our last post not being delivered to subscribers until nearly a week after it should have been. It appears my Wonder Woman tech guru back in the Pacific Northwest has worked some magic and perhaps this will get sent for your weekend reading. If you get a chance to let me know you've received this, I'd appreciate it!
Safe travels to you and yours ~