The Road to Monemvasia

I may have to send this without being finished since this computer is a coin operated thing, and I may run out of time before more coinage gets put in. You know me and machines.

Our last destination, Monemvasia, had no internet at all unless you had your own laptop. We have seen and experienced so much, so I will write in chunks to catch you up.

We left Naplion after breakfast, not taking our hotel proprietor’s suggestion to take the new faster road. We wanted scenery, so we trusted our instincts and the map and had the most delightful drive. We have come to the point where we only bother with the first four letters of a town name to figure out where we are. Sometimes our conversations consist of “turn left at the town that starts with an upside down triangle, then backward seven, and the jagged E thing.” We get there!

We took a short cut, suggested by an old Greek at a gas station. Such gorgeous scenery! Rolling hills, then a deep dramatic gorge which we cut through and emerged at the very top, miles of olives trees, sweeping coastal views. At one point, we were out in the middle of nowhere and we had to stop to let a herd of goats go by, bells jangling. The goat-herder was on a motorcycle. He asked if we were German. No! Everyone seems to beam when we tell then we are from California.

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride continued… We went through remote little villages perched high in the mountains, the main road going right through the little towns. The road was no wider than one lane. We went carefully, watching the sides of the car and hoping we didn’t meet a car coming the other way. We stopped for beer and coffee in the shady square, seemingly at the top of the world. We watched old Greek men sitting, sipping their coffee and/or ouzo, flipping their Kolomboi (worry beads) and watching the world go by. We made our way back down to the sea and arrived at Monemvasia — also known as the Gibraltar of Greece. No cars are allowed so we parked and entered the stone arch — into another world.

This is a hobbit village, and we were staying in a hobbit hotel. The feel of the place is quite bohemian and kicked back. It is old, and the houses are all stone. The town has one main very cobbly street with an incredible labyrinth of steps and paths both up and down. We explored them all. There is also an upper town — completely deserted. Its last inhabitant left in 1911. It was built by the Venetians, then the Turks, and the stone remains litter the huge rock mountain. We climbed to the very top, the citadel that looks over the entire area. They say on some clear days you can see Crete. We saw Samos, an island in the distance.

That night, the stars were close enough to touch. I haven’t seen the Milky Way for awhile, but there it was. I woke up at 3:00 to poke my head out onto our little balcony overlooking the sea to be greeted by Orion hanging brightly in the sky.

At 7:00 I woke up Gino so we could go sit on our balcony and gaze out over the sea watching the sun come up over the water while the birds sang to us. This place is MAGICAL!!!!!!!!

More in a minute.

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