Michael and Pam's Travels

Mystras, Greece. 2015

Travelled: 132 kilometres from Karytaina to Mystras, The Penopollese.
Visited: Karytaina Castle (free) and Mystras Archeological Site (โ‚ฌ5pp).
Stayed: Free parking area behind photo museum, in Mystras Village, no services, a tap nearby. N37.06919, E22.37770.
A slow start today after yesterday’s long walk through the Lousios Gorge. We pull down the blinds to find we are parked in the clouds or at least a heavy fog. We did have a walk around Karytaina yesterday afternoon, but thought we would walk the Castle this morning before we depart. So after our coffee and fruit we start the long walk up the hill.

 

Cx

This picture was taken the afternoon of our arrival. ย It’s another few hundred steps to look forward too. ย Interestingly most castles have a name, but this castle is called castle. ย The signs around the village direct you to ‘Castle Castle’.

 

Xx

Taking a breather on our walk up to the Castle. ย There is a large World Heritage Listing restoration project under way here. ย The Castle Church is being restored as well as parts of the walls and entry archway.

 

Xx

This Pamarama was taken at the top of the Castle. The dense mist in the valley below gave it a surreal feel. ย Note the rising column of steam on the far right, there are two large power stations in the lower end of the valley, that’s one of them.

 

There are no written records of the village of Karytaina until the crusading Knights formalised rule in 1205 as a Frankish Barony. The Castle was completed in the mid 13th century. By then it was the Byzantines, then the Ottomans, then the Venetians, then the Ottomans again and finally the Greeks and subsequently by the EU, whose flag and symbol appears on every piece of roadwork, new public building and world heritage site in Greece and there’s a lot of them. Beware the money lender.

 

Xx

Pam’s thinking of our Nicholas as she walks into St. Nickolas Church, Karytaina.

 

X

This beautifully restored Byzentine Church (St. Nickolas) and graveyard are hidden at the end of a little laneway below the main square in Karytaina.

 

Down from the castle we do the usual services and head south for Kalamata. We jump on the motorway and for โ‚ฌ7 find ourselves driving into Kalamata an hour later. Despite our best efforts we fail to find the big olive, although we do pass a museum of olive oil later in the day. From Kalamata we head east for Sparta. We only notice in the Lonely Planet later that evening that it’s described as one of the most picturesque and challenging roads in Greece. It was !

 

X

Another EU Bridge nearly complete.

 

 

Get Directions

 

 

Xx

The drive from Kalamata to Sparta kept the Hymer busy, this picture from the top of the range looking back toward Kalamata.

 

Xx

Hope the Hymer fits, to the right of the photo another overhang awaits.

 

Xx

Pam took this photo without realising someone was drying out their socks. ย Note the road below, Sparta is down there somewhere.

 

Get Directions

 

Driving down towards Sparta we turn for the archeological site of Mystras. This Frankish Principality was established in 1249, atop a natural-fortified hill top position. Like all of Greece it passed from one ruler to another, but remarkable Mystras remained relatively intact until it was captured and subsequently abandoned as a seat of power by the Ottomans in the 15th century. Much of it being lost to fires in the 19th century. It has and continues to have a lot of EU money devoted to its renovation and preservation.

 

Xx

The Palace Church of Saint Sophia in Mytras. ย The archeological site at Mystras is expansive. ย Set on three levels, it would take several hours to walk it all. ย There is a thunder storm circling the valley below so we decide on the abridged version and drive between the middle and lower level. ย We are finally out just on closing at 6pm.

 

Xx

Some simply but interesting mosaics can be found on the floors.

 

Xx

Some interesting flagstones of the various buildings.

 

Xx

Remarkably Mystras remained occupied until 1821 when the Ottomans decreed a new town be built and occupied in the valley. ย That being Sparta about 7 kilometres away.

 

Xx

The fresco adorns the dome of the Palace Church in Mytras. ย Significant restoration is being done on the Byzentine Palace so it was a no go.

 

Xx

Pam loves a public spring, almost every town and village in Greece has at least one (sometimes) several). ย Great for camper car people like us we can keep our water tanked constantly topped up. ย As Greece does not appear to have any laundromats, plenty of water is handy for hand washing. ย The Greeks love their spring water, we often see older people filling water containers in the late afternoons.

 

Xx

Our free Mystras camping spot, just us and a French camper. ย It always feels a bit more secure when there’s another camper nearby.

 

After spending three hours walking up and down Mystras, we drive down to Mystras Village and find our free camping spot for the night. Cleaned up a little, get dressed and walk up into the village to find a nice little taverna with good wifi. We order the giros and a beer and wine, then chat about our day.

 

Michael and Pam

3 thoughts on “Mystras, Greece. 2015

  1. Denice

    Hi Guys, that road is unbelievable….I’ve seen something like it in the movies I think. Maybe there was someone in those socks before they took the short way down the mountain!!!!!

  2. Judy Wade

    Wow, we’re blown away by your consistently beautiful photos & excellent commentary! The whole trip is just so great & makes us feel like we’re there, too. Hope it’s all really good to the very end.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *