One of the major reasons we like to be here in early spring is because wildflowers bloom in virtually every open space, including the beach. Having only seen the place in high summer — when sun, drought, and heat turn even the weeds to dust — our first spring in Korinthia amazed us with its profusion of greenery and vibrant color. An early trip to Mani a few years ago delighted us with its even more profuse wildflower display. In summer, Mani resembles nothing so much as the surface of the moon, so the heady, urgent rush of blooms one sees there this time of year is as startling as it is delightful.
We drove down to Mani last week, and spent our hours there traipsing around as much as our legs would stand, snapping photos to reassure ourselves that we’d actually witnessed the astonishing scenery it offered. Here, then, are a bunch of those photos. Sadly, I don’t know the names of any of these plants — a possible area of future research for us.
Our first stop was Kardamyli where we looked up from our parking spot and were treated to this display tumbling down the cliffside before us.
Driving south from Kardamyli, I stopped along the road to snap this arrangement of rock and floral extravagance.
We enjoy walking the roads and trails around our b&b outside of Aeropoli. We shot these in the fading light of our first day.
This is the road to Aeropoli, the main village of this part of the Mani. In summer, the road, the shoulder, and the rock walls are just shades of grey.
The next morning, we set off to walk the Tigani peninsula. The cliffside plateau at the tip of the peninsula is covered in the ruins of an old Frankish castle.
It took us almost an hour to get out there.
Looking left (south) on our way down, we had breathtaking views of the Cavo Grosso, the dominant landform in this part of Mani.
Down the hill, and ready to cross the peninsula…
These are the ruins of a basilica within the walls of the castle. Open tombs in the basilica’s floor, and open cisterns scattered across the castle grounds make this a tricky place to walk, especially when the wildflowers cover the footholds.
These tiny white flowers were growing between the pebbles of the road we walked and drove to access the trailhead.
The purple flowers growing everywhere have small, curving pedals that give each bloom the appearance of a tiny orchid.
As much as we’d like to revisit these scenes every couple of weeks, part of what makes them special is their impermanence and rarity. Early spring in the Mani is a precious, brief interval in the otherworldly, stark beauty of that landscape.