Kardamili bay with village and beaches. Taygetos and coastline in background.

Over the Taygetos

Kalamata to Gythion

In pride of place on the walls of our overnight lodging in Aghios Nikolaos were the family photographs. The largest showed an elderly couple in formal clothes, he with a luxuriant handlebar moustache, and she demure with a black scarf draped over the head. It was surrounded by more modern, mostly colour photos of their family – children and grandchildren. Simply furnished with brightly coloured rugs, tablecloths, and plastic flowers, the place felt as though the inhabitants had simply locked the door one day in the sixties and never returned. This was our last night on the trail before reaching Gythion, the ferry port for Crete.

Our original route would have followed the E4 to get here, but due to the winter weather we’d avoided the Taygetos peaks and carried on south to Kalamata. From there, we walked along the western foothills, with countless olives below, and the Bay of Messine glinting in the distance, before crossing the Taygetos range via a lower pass. It was November, and the terraces rang with the sound of voices and chainsaws: the olive harvest was in full swing.   

Switchbacks on the cobbled mule track
Olive harvest
Beach at Kardamyli
Kardamyli bay
Taygetos peaks
Wayside churches, from the very simple …
To the more ornate, some dating from Byzantine times.
Some with beautiful icons
Elijah and the raven: my favourite icon, painted on a tile
Olive terraces
Another Byzantine church in the distance
Milia village: breakfast stop
Monastery of the Virgin Mary, hunched menacingly on the pass
Aghios Nikolaos overnight: an amazing place. It felt as though the family had walked out and locked the door sometime in the 50’s.
Family photos

Travelling Slow

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