Goodbye to Mani:
|Here's one final glamour shot of Elies hotel. This is a real place. You can really stay here.|
|Phil's sad to leave the beach cottage.|
|He's not too sad, though, because before we left for good, we went walking on the beach to look in the tidepools.|
On Canyon Roads:
|This is at the summit between Kalamata and Mystras, or about twenty non-consecutive repetitions into "The Bear Went Over the Mountain," if that's how you measure.|
We made it to Mystras on Monday afternoon. It was a beautiful day. The temperature was something-degrees celsius. Outside of America, people tell you the temperature in celsius and expect you to react appropriately to it. I have a vague idea that temperatures in the 20s in winter is really exceptional, but I have no expertise in the nuances of specific numbers within that range. What I'm trying to say is that the science core failed me. So it was about 70 degrees fahrenheit.
Mystras is a city overlooking Sparta. It's mainly known for its archaeological site, also called Mystras, an old, fortified Byzantine city on a mountain. Mystras the archaeological site is another place to check off your UNESCO World Heritage bucket list. It's a massive site, with stunning views, surviving Byzantine art, and more stairs than I was capable of climbing.
|This was our first view of the UNESCO site. It's all that rock junk on the mountain over there.|
|Entering the ruins.|
|Byzantine artwork, man.|
The site is so large, they recommend that you drive from the top gate, which is where the photos above were taken, to the main gate, which is further down the mountain. Either way, you have to do a lot of hiking. We weren't able to see the whole site when we went, because it closes at 3:00pm during the winter. At the very top of the mountain is an old castle. The lady at the ticket office told us it wasn't worth the 30 minute round-trip hike to see the building itself, which is mostly just walls, but she said most people like to go for the views. Because we were crunched for time, we took her advice and quickly browsed the upper part of the site without hiking to the castle, before we jumped in our car and drove down to the main gate. The rest of these pictures are from the lower part of the site.
|I can't remember what this building was used for, but I think it was some combination of religion, commerce, and government.|
|An old Byzantine street.|
|More Byzantine art.|
|Phil testing out the fountain at the church/government/shopping place. It worked. They've put modern hookups on almost all of the old water fountains at the site.|
|Inside a Byzantine church.|
|More Byzantine church art.|
|This is a Byzantine eagle tile that was roped off on the floor of the church. Constantine XI Palaiologos, the last reigning Byzantine emperor, was supposedly crowned on this spot.|
|Phil and I thought this looked like a hobbit hole, which is the only reason I took this picture.|
|This is probably an old Monastery, but I can't remember for certain. There were a lot of old buildings, and a lot of stairs. So many stairs.|
Before I end this post, I need to tell you about the place where we ate dinner on Monday night. Skreka restaurant has been in business since 1935. It was a two minute walk from our hotel, tucked away on a quiet street on the hillside. We were the only customers for the first thirty minutes of our meal, but they still welcomed us and turned on the Greek music for the dining room. Phil ordered a chicken souvlaki meal, and I ordered battered cod. They had a wide variety of food, including some traditional Greek taverna staples, like tzatziki and Greek salad. Our food was delicious. For dessert, we tried a portokalopita, which the guy described as a Greek orange pie. It sort of has a similar texture to tres leches cake. It's made from oranges, shredded filo dough, and Greek yogurt, plus sugar and fat and stuff. It was very tasty. We stuffed our faces, forgetting that Greek restaurants usually bring an extra little dessert at the end of the meal, free of charge. Often, it's Greek yogurt with some sort of jam. This time, it was a little Greek cookie, similar to a Mexican wedding cake or Russian teacake, or whatever you call them at your house.
Phil and I really liked this place, and we want you to spend a lot of your money there.
|Just look how happy and full Phil is.|
In the final Presintine's post, I'm going to tell you about our hotel in Mystras, and show you another crappy video tour of our room. Hooray for that. I also took a lone photo in Sparta. It will be quite a post.