I can’t spell Peloponnese so I copied the Greek version from Wikipedia.
How fortunate for us that Hellenic Seaways cancelled our trip to Piraeus and left us standing in the midday sun with our suitcases on the dock at Spetses. It is only when Trevor walks to the office in the town and recognizes a sign in Greek with the times of our ferry, and Ευχαριστώ (thank you) signed at the end, that he guesses we”re in trouble. We get our money back. Now, to get to Athens.
One mobile call later and Irini, the housekeeper (and head concierge) at Spiti Charlie, has lined up Costa the water taxi man to take us to the mainland, and Yanni the car driver to get us into Athens.
We set off through the chic Athenian summer resort of Porto Heli and zig-zag up into the highest mountains of the Πελοπόννησος (Peloponnese) with olive trees and windmills (both traditional white and the new turbo prop), and the technicolour seascape beneath us.
What a pity the day wasn’t pre-planned as we pass only 15 kms from the ancient Greek Theatre of Epidavros. We see many Ω Omega-shaped bays, some with openings to the sea just wide enough to let the yachts and fishing boats enter. A break lets us enjoy the view and an iced coffee, high on heavily wooded hillside of pine, fragrant in the heat, and loud with insects.
We pass by a monastery of 2,000 years, and look up to houses built on outcrops of rock. Pencil pines rise out of the rocky ground to pierce the blue. Further along, rows of gnarled olive trees, surviving in wonderfully wild undergrowth, stretch from the sky down to the sea.
I”ve heard of the Corinth Canal but seeing this narrow gap, cut by man deep through the mountains to separate the Peloponnese from the mainland to give ships passage, is a wonder. This is where the holiday ends.
Welcome to the mainland – industry, graffiti and expressways. Farewell lazy days, clean air, amazing light, and crystal clear blue green seas we’ve enjoyed for the past three weeks.
But there”s still fun to be had with Anne and Trev in Athens where we are looking forward to visiting the new Acropolis Museum and dinner in the Plaka.