Travelled: 23 kilometres from Gerolimenas to Diros Caves in the Mani Peninsula of the Peloponnese.
Visited: Diros Caves €12 pp
Stayed: Two nights, Ocean-side camping on a shingle beach adjacent the caves, free no services. N36.64168, E22.38336
It’s seems very dark in Gerolimenas in the morning. The village sits between two mountains and the sun doesn’t appear until almost 9 am. We are as far south as we feel comfortable taking the Hymer, so we swing north and start the drive up the west coast of the Mani peninsula. Other than that little has changed, we pass small clusters of tower houses and not much more. We keep an eye out for a spring as the Hymer’s water tank could use a fill.
We see a small church and graveyard, graveyards almost always have a handy tap. A quick stop to check and 5 minutes later we are full of water again. It’s only just over 20 kilometres to Diros Caves and we soon turn and start the descent down to the beach. It’s very steep and we take it slowly in second gear enjoying the view. We can see a few motorhomes along the beachfront and we are soon settled into this lovely shingle beach. The shingles as they call them are smooth white rocks about the size of your fist. They stop at the waters edge and it’s white sand from there out. On reflection we have come to the conclusion that shingle is better than sand for camper-car living. You don’t have to waste time and water washing your feet before going in the camper 20 times a day.
Anyway it’s so nice here we decided to stay on for a second night. Our campsite is about 500 metres over the headland to Diros Cave. So next morning we put shoes on (something we haven’t done for a while) and walk to the Cave’s entrance. €12 pp is a lot of money in camper car world and we think it the most expensive entry fee we have paid this trip. We are told we must wait 20 minutes or until they sell 6 tickets so the boat if full. After 20 minutes of watching the 15-20 staff sitting around having coffee and smoking at least 3 cigarettes each, we are called and walk down into the artificial opening to the cave and into a small barge with our guide.
Diros Cave has been explored for a distance of 14 kilometres, our barge ride however is 1.4 kilometres long with another 500m walking through a dry section of cave after the water section concludes. It was a great visual experience, the colours and the types of formations change as we pass from one gallery to the next. The water is crystal clear and the reflection adds to the spectacle. Here’s the funny bit, our guide did not say a word for the whole trip in the boat, more than 30 minutes. We had thought, that’s affirmative action a mute guide, but no ! When we climb out of the barge he points up a path and says “watch your head”. He jumps back in his barge and paddles off to spread more cheer and interesting facts about his workplace.
Michael and Pam