Beautiful frescoes inside one of the many churches, Mistra
Nic and friendly cat in the Mitropoli, Mistra
Mistra was a delightful surprise – so much of this Byzantine city survived and so much is also now being restored. The monasteries and churches were the first to get the ‘reno’ treatment, and now they are working on the palaces, which are closed to the public. No problem, there was still plenty to do….and many steps to climb, in our journey from the lower town, through to the upper town and further on to the ‘kastro’ at the very top. We then wended our way back down through the graceful old city where the car was parked (in the shade, so as not to melt what was left of the Lindt purchased at Sydney airport!) and headed off on our next journey.
Moni Perivleptou, tiny monastery with singing guide
One of the most wonderful things about visiting Mistra was the sense of having it almost all to ourselves. We only really encountered the people working at the site (making sure you don’t mess with the artifacts – and one guy was even singing in one tiny church when we happened upon him. He grinned sheepishly when we complimented him!).
John near the top of Mistra
Bee and flower belonging to the nuns who still live in Mistra and do impeccable embroidery
Nic at the top of Mistra
The view from our room at Hotel Aktion, Gythio
We went straight to Gythio (less than an hour from Mistra), which is a lovely seaside town popular with Greeks looking for a nice spot for the weekend. We found the perfect hotel with the perfect location for a very reasonable price – we had a balcony overlooking the water, which was so…what’s the word? Perfect? Perfect! We made the most of this little balcony in the late afternoon and through into the evening. It was actually also right on a very busy street, which gave us all the right ‘viewing’ modes – the traffic, the people strutting the esplanade and having dinner, and the water. Even had a chance to chat to the people in the next room over the wrought iron railing.
Boat and harbour, Gythio
We explored the main drag in the afternoon. All along the vast waterfront (and it goes for quite a ways) there are oodles and oodles of cafes, bars and restaurants. You can see the bar owners on their plush stools with their cigarettes and drink starter for the evening in hand, heads down, reading the paper, waiting for things to kick start with the young, happening ‘set’….and that ain’t us!! Very flash décor decks out these bars, the shiny chrome trim and purple and grey velour stools aim for an element of class, which I suppose they give – if one is 18 and knows no better.
We did a typical tourist thing for lunch that day – went to a cute little taverna right on the water with a pushy family of brothers who virtually dragged us to a table, but we went with it. Also had the most divine grilled whole fish and some salad and washed it all down with some great house white (those 500ml carafes go down a real treat!) Needless to say, didn’t need dinner after this, and just enjoyed some Metaxa (12 star! – didn’t even know they made 12 star – have only seen 3 star in Australia). Slept well!
Gythio at night