Wednesday, March 30, 2011
High above the town is Palamidi castle. There are castles and fortification everywhere in the Peloponnese. This area was conquered and reconquered numerous times. It passed from Sparta rule to Roman and when the Romans lost to the Byzantine empire, the crusaders came to reconquer it. Greece and its surrounding area was divided between the Frankish crusaders and the Venetians. This fortification was built by the Venetians. It later fell to the Ottoman Turks. So in this little town one sees some Orthodox churches and a mosque. The mosque has been converted into a cinema but we couldn't find it. Anyway one can climb the 900 steps up to the castle or.....
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Monday, March 28, 2011
So the bus stop at Isthmos is very important, all buses from the Peloponnese passes through here to go to Athens. Similarly all buses from Athens goes through here to go to the various towns in the Peloponnese. One can also take a taxi to get here, which was what we did one morning because the bus to Loutraki wasn't forthcoming. There was this crazy local woman who shared the taxi with us. Taxis are much cheaper here than in other European cities. The names Corinth and Korinthos are synonymous. Just as we call Sparta, the locals call it by the Greek name, Sparti. Before long we were using the Greek names ourselves. Then there is the Greek writing for these names, forget about that, they were indecipherable to us. We spent 3 days in Sparti and we could then recognize its Greek writing for it and also for Athens. I need to learn the Greek alphabet before my next trip.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Athens is choked with traffic. it's quite cheap to go by taxi. We used taxis quite a bit. It's easier than trying to navigate the public transportation system. We travel by bus a lot in the Peloponnese. There are gypsies all over Athens and street urchins are everywhere hustling. One does have to be careful. The local Greeks are friendly and helpful.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Spring is the best time to visit the Peloponnese, it is the time of wild flowers. One can ask, 'where do you go to see wild flowers in the Peloponnese?' Anywhere and everywhere. It is so beautiful. They are everywhere and most of these wild flowers are only found in the peloponnese. The end of March into early April is the best time. The place is hilly, rocky and quite inhospitable. There are some beaches but otherwise it is just a sheer drop into the the sea. The sea is rough and the waves just pound away at the cliffs and the wind is strong enough to blow anyone off their footing in some places. Right in the middle of the peninsula is the town of Sparta. It is no wonder why they are called Spartans or maybe because of their way of life, we called any life that resembled it, a spartan life. Seeing the place, knowing the history gives new appreciation to the word, 'spartan'. We spent 5 days visiting various places in the Peloponnese and another 2 days in Athens which is not quite enough. But in life we take what we can get. That was an introductory visit to Greece. I do intend to return and visit central Greece.