Hi, Bye

It’s absurd to write, and it must seem silly to read, but we can’t quite wrap our heads around how quickly 10 weeks have passed.  Two and a half months should be long enough to make one feel as if it’s been a complete trip.  Not quite sure why we’re so surprised to find ourselves trying to figure out what to bring back.

On October 24, we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the day we moved in.  Again, it seems as if it could only have been half that long.  Time collapse aside, it’s been a wonderful decade of getting to know this place and these people. And like most decades, it was a mix of the memorable and the forgettable; the happy and the sad; forward steps, backward steps, sideways steps, and even a few dance steps.  But what keeps us yearning to come back even before we’ve left remains undisturbed and pulls at us just as urgently today as it did in 2007. Our family, our friends, the sea, the mountains on the other side, the sky like a dome over all, the dry crystalline air, local ingredients in season at even the simplest eateries, wines like magic, orange blossoms in the spring air, scent of dried thyme wafting up underfoot in the summer, spring wildflowers along the roads, seas of cobalt turquoise and cerulean, mountains marching to the horizon, islands floating on the sea like boats, boats floating as if on air, the chance to walk in the footsteps of Plato, Aristotle, Pericles and Paul, the stones and towers of Mani, the piercing light.  Those things and many more we will miss until next year when we once again catch our first glimpse of this very special place.

P1080859The port of Piraeus, August 30, 2017

 

P1080937It was a great time to be here.  The water was warm, the air temp was pleasant…

P1080879…the water was clear…

P1080914and the crowds were gone.

 

P1080893_editedWe took lots of walks in the pefkias.

P1080923_edited

 

P1090024It seemed to be a good year for pomegranates.

 

P1090052_editedThe wind can really get up in the Fall…

P1080903_editedbut it only makes the place more beautiful. 

P1080879

 

 

Of course, we went to Mani.

P1090122Ag. Kyprianos at moonrise.

 

IMG_20170919_191200Antares hotel, in the traditional settlement of Omales, at sunset.

 

P1090094The mountaintop village of Profitis Ilias. From ancient times until the 1970’s, the quarries of this village provided the red marble for elaborate decoration in places such as St. Peter’s basilica and the palace at Versailles.  Some of that marble is visible in the church and the tower behind it.

P1090091The ruins of an oven in the same village.

P1090088A threshing circle in Profitis Ilias.

 

P1090100_ed_edited.jpgLooking down at the villages of Dimiristika (left) and Spira.

 

P1090058Abelos, near Ag. Kyprianos.  A beach, a church, three houses.

P1090068Abelos.

P1090069Abelos moonrise.

 

P1090113The village of Nifi, looking up at Ag. Dimitrios church.

P1090119Nifi

 

P1090035Katronas.  Suffered a bad fire this summer.

IMG_20170922_133506Katronas.  The fire came down the mountain so quickly that the villagers had to be evacuated by sea.

 

P1080984_editedThe village of old Kardamyli.

P1080985_editedSame view but from a window of the just-restored war tower.

P1080993A very nice restoration.

P1080998St. Spiridon in old Kardamyli.  I’ve never caught it open.

P1080999

P1090002

 

P1090009Limeni. 

P1090006_editedRuins of a monastery and its church (Panagia Vreti) at Limeni.  I’ve climbed into that church in years past, and there are still faint frescoes on the dome.  The complex is now surrounded by a fence. 

 

We visited several churches in Mani.

P1090107This church, Ag. Nicholaos, between Lagia and Dimiristika, is said to be the oldest church in Mani.  10th c.  The Maniates were late converts.

P1080956This one, in Ochia, consisted of two separate churches,  Ag. Petros and Panagitsa, presumably built at different times.  

P1080952_editedInside the smaller, older of the two churches. The frescoes awed and humbled us.

P1080955_editedThe larger church. The columns and cut stones were obviously mined from an ancient or Byzantine structure, possibly at Tigani.

P1080973These walls look like terraces but they’re the remains of an ancient city, Kenipolis. We were there looking for the ruins of a church.

P1080974_editedI don’t think this is the church we were looking for but we were happy to find it.

P1080977_editedThe exterior of the church at Kenipolis.  It was a scramble getting inside.

 

P1080980_editedClouds collecting in the mountains near Areopolis.

IMG_20171007_183959Back to Sykia.  The beach stones will be scrubbed and tumbled until next Spring when folks begin to venture out on them again but the skies will not be lovelier than they were this Fall.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “Hi, Bye

  1. Thanks so much for taking the time to write and post. Our all-too-brief visits to Greece leave us craving more. Your beautiful posts bring back that ache along with a coinciding sense of joy at having experienced a taste of that life. We cannot wait to return.

  2. Loved reading about your trip and looking at your beautiful photos. We were in Greece last May, meeting another cousin for the first time. It’s amazing, once one begins the ancestral search, what can be found. I thought that I had uncovered all, but last month found out that I also have living relatives in Ermioni! Now, of course I want to go and meet them. We had thought we would not return to Greece next year, but finding out this latest revelation might alter that plan.
    Our best to you and Sue.

  3. Wonderful intro paragraph to some captivating photos. The time collapse can only be reasonably explained by the old saying, “time flies when you’re having fun,” and it looks as if you enjoyed so much of the trip that it zoomed by quickly.

  4. Thank you all for your kind words. As you all know, it’s a labor of love. This post would have been much, much wordier save for the sage advice of my wife, who counseled me to break it into several posts. She’s far too kind to say, “Just cut to the chase!” but when I looked at it again that was clearly what was needed. A good editor is a priceless.

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