Showing posts with label Travel Photo Discovery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel Photo Discovery. Show all posts

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Mani ~ The Greek Land of the Towers

From our room in the hotel on the hill in Kardamyli we looked out over the old town’s church and war tower. The two structures are prominent remains of the Troupakis Complex that dates back to the late 17th and early 18th centuries.
Legend has it that the family known as Troupakis were refugees from  Mystra (ancient inland city) when it fell to the Turks in 1461. The family lived in caves (called ‘troupas’ – thus their name) in the Taygetos Mountains behind Kardamyli before arriving here and building the family complex – now a treasured part of history.
The complex was a mesmerizing sight whether in the early morning sun, the mid-day’s blaze or in the evening shadows. The morning our summer sojourn in Greece came to an end, I took this photo from our deck.

I wanted to remember that tower the way it looked in that July’s morning sun.

I wanted to remember this enchanting history-laden Land of the Towers.

Troupakis Complex - Kardamyli, Greece
The Mani – in the north called the ‘Outer Mani’ and in the south the ‘Deep Mani’ – located in the southern part of the Peloponnese peninsula is the home of ancient towers. (Lovers of Italy’s San Gimignano’s towers in Tuscany would go nuts here!)


DSCF8282A drive through The Mani (the area is only four hours from Athens via freeway) takes one from olive grove-covered hills and gorges to barren, windswept hillsides on a narrow, lightly-traveled roadway.

You don’t travel far before spotting a tower on a far-away hill or in the midst of villages.

Often times the road slices through stone villages, the old stone buildings so close you could reach out and touch the walls.

A road trip here is guaranteed to offer surprises. Sometimes goats or cattle in the middle of the road, or stone tower towns so picture-perfect they simply don’t seem real.

Deep Mani Tower Town - Peloponnese
The towers played an important role in this area’s turbulent history. Some freestanding towers were built as village’s war towers and others served as both homes (in the lower level) and a tower for defense in the upper levels. First used when the Turks invaded; later they were used as local clans fought against each other.

PicMonkey Collage

Even today homes built here are constructed using the area’s stone. And some, (like the middle photo above and to the right below illustrate) are being built incorporating the tower design of old.

PicMonkey Collage
Old Tower on the left, new homes on the right
Towers, towers everywhere and most are well preserved.  Standing in the Troupakis Complex (which is a museum area now) in Kardamyli, I took the photo below back towards our hotel on the hill and yet another the tower just behind it. There was a time this harbor town served as Sparta's port.

Troupakis Complex - Kardamyli

The Mani – a part of the Peloponnese peninsula which is generally thought of as mainland Greece and separated by the narrow width of the Corinth Canal.

There’s a modern divided freeway between the Athens Airport and Kalamata. From Kalamata the state road becomes a two-lane paved roadway. 

There are seasonal flights from various gateways in Europe to the Kalamata Airport and rental cars are available there as well as Athens.

I’ve mentioned ‘that hotel on the hill’ several times in recent posts. It became our home away from home this past summer and soon I’ll introduce you to the people who run it and our travel lifestyle there. Until then, we thank you for the time you spent with us and hope you enjoyed today’s journey. 

Happy – and safe - travels until we are together again ~

Joining in the fun at:
Travel Photo Thursday – Budget Travelers Sandbox
Weekend Travel Inspiration - Reflections En Route
Mosaic Monday – Lavender Cottage Gardening
Travel Photo Monday - Travel Photo Discovery

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

“Gorging” Ourselves in Greece’s Mani

We’d set out one morning during our stay in the small town of Kardamili to explore the surrounding countryside in this part of the Peloponnese known as the ‘Outer Mani’ .

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The two-lane paved road twisted its way through olive groves and wild flower bouquets up the hillside toward the peak of Mt. Profitis Ilias (Prophet Elias). The mountain with an elevation of 7,897-ft (2,407-meters) is the highest mountain in the Taygetus range. The towering mountain is visible from miles away.

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What we didn’t realize when we started out is that we were headed to Exohori, the small hamlet that serves as a gateway to Viros Gorge (Gorge Virou), a stunning deep river gorge that runs  from the foot of Mt. Profitis Ilias to Kardamili (Kardamyli).

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While the morning’s light cloud cover obscured the mountain’s peak, it highlighted the contours that make up  this popular hiking area.

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The  map pictured to the left was posted at the beginning of the gorge trail showing just how many different directions you could explore. . .if you had  hiking boots (which we hadn’t).

So we set out on the wide gravel road to at least get a taste of hiking the gorge:

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As we walked we couldn’t but think of the history held in the heart of these mountains. The name Taugetus or Taygetos is one of the oldest recorded in Europe (it is mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey).

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The trail beckoned us to walk just a bit further, then a bit further,  amid scenery that was a feast for the soul.

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However, on the off chance anyone was walking along and was too dense to recognize their breathtaking surroundings. . .someone had erected a sign in Greek and English – which made us laugh - to help them take note:

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If You Go:

Taygetos Location Map

The nearest airport is at Kalamata, Greece about 40 kilometers away, (click the link provided).

For accommodations, there is one hotel in Exohori, Hotel Faraggi that overlooks the gorge and it has rave reviews on Trip Advisor and The gorge views from its balcony are unbelievable! (It can be seen on the left cliff in the second to last photo.) 

A larger selection of restaurants and tavernas are found in ocean side Kardamyli  (click the link provided).

That’s it for Travel Photo Thursday hosted by Nancie at  Budget Travelers Sandbox and Noel's Travel Photo Discovery which appears Mondays.


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