From Pylos to Kalamata
Since we left Sweden, the air condition system stopped working but we don’t need it, this time of year so we didn’t care. In Croatia the ventilation fan is not working on step one. In Albania, not in step two either, when we came to Greece not even on three and arriving at the Peloponnese, it did not matter which step the knob was on, it went to the highest speed as soon as the ignition key was turned on. After another week the whole system was completely dead. Lovely, so quiet it was! Though, when it gets colder outside and moisty inside it becomes a little too much waving with a window squeegee! The steam from the inside against the cold windshield did one of us continually got to wave a window scraper to keep the window visible. Worst it was last week, on Saturday, from Voidakilia to Pylos . Then we decided that the vent fan should be repaired next week at Fiat in Kalamata.
The weather in Pylos made last Sunday, the most boring day so far, it was pissing from morning to night. We stayed inside all day, reading. First, late in the evening the rain stopped and we could go with the dog a short round in town. The day after, on Monday morning, I met my neighbour from England: "Terrible thunderstorm tonight! Did not get much sleep" I replied: "Really?? I didn’t notice! Slept like a log!" He probably thought that I made fun of him but it was mostly true. I really have not noticed much of the storm. Probably I won’t wake up when a Tsunami rolls over me. Same at sea, one gets used to zip in the rig, the gobbling and rocking, I sleep like a log! Even Bonnie has become accustomed to the thunder, she does not react anymore, as she lies besides me, so now we're double logs!
In Pylos (formerly Navarino) we had lots of time to do some research about the Battle of Navarino. The sinking of the Ottomans' Mediterranean fleet saved and secured the beginning of the Greek independence. Located in the center of the city Square, are two cannons and a monument to the three victorious English, French and Russian admirals, who totally defeated the Ottoman Navy. One of them Lodewijk van Heyden, left Holland and became admiral in the Russian Navy. He’s even known in Sweden for defeating a Swedish galley fleet in the Battle of Sandöström, during the Finnish War 1808-09. Lodewijk van Heiden married Anne-Marie Akeleye, daughter of Captain Johannes Akeleye, a Danish-born sea officer in Russian service. They had four children, including their younger son count Frederick Heiden, the future Governor-General of the Grand Duchy of Finland. At the top of his career, Lodewijk van Heyden was Supreme Commander of the Russian Navy and Governor of Kronstadt.
Monday and Tuesday promised more rain but Wednesday the sun will come! We could not wait, "The pissing is sucking power from the batteries!". After a visit to the fortification of Pylos, we will drive to Methoni. But first we jump 500 years back in time, across the harbour, south from where we stand with the motorhome in the yachting harbour.
250 years before the naval Battle of Navarino but a few years after another major defeat for the Ottoman fleet at Lepanto, the Turks build a large fortified castle at Pylos to get control of Navarino, then the largest natural harbour in the Peloponnese. Of course, we should be thinking of it, today is a Monday, we did not come in to admire this great fortification, closed! But I got a brochure to read all about it! "Well, you can’t see it all! "
We leave Pylos, continuing to Methoni and it turns out to be a good choice. A fantastically, beautiful little town with a very nice beach right next to and with an incredible large and beautiful castle. One of the biggest we have seen and also one of the most Beautiful, even though it needs restoring a lot, before it’s getting too late. Partial restoration is in progress but €900 000 in EU funding is not enough. Multiply it by ten, to begin with, for this castle and fortress is well worth it! Nothing is added for commercializing purpose, other than lighting. It provides perhaps lower incomes, while preserving the original condition.
The Methoni fortification and castle controlled pilgrim trade to Palestine after approx. 1200. The Venetians built here a large castle with the sea on three sides. The construction, as so often, a mix of Venetian, Ottoman and French fortification architecture. The Venetian church is completely intact and still in use today. Outside the Venetian port to the sea lies a heavily fortified, hexagonal guns tower on a small island Bourtzi, built by the Turks.
“On August 9th 1500, Methoni fell, after having been in the hands of the Venetians for about three hundred years. The city was given to the flames, the Catholic bishop was killed while talking to the people, the men were decapitated, the women and children were sold to slavery. The walls were repaired and the first period of Turkish rule began.”
We become euphoric over Methoni, well worth a longer visit. We stay there for the night on a nice paved visitors parking, something we probably would not do in summer season. Methoni in the evening is even in November, cosy with many taverns and restaurants. Methoni is a pearl!
The following day we went on to visit two all-year-open campsites, "Thines" and "Anemomilos" near the town Finikounda (Foinikounta). None of them impressed nor the village Finikounda so we proceeded to the town of Koroni where we dodged us through narrow streets to get down to the harbour, we gave up and continued to Koroni Camping, it was good enough to do the laundry and had a good and fast Wifi. The big advantage, it lies on walking distance from the city center. A very nice little town. We even walked around the big castle but it is very decayed and can not measure up to Methoni. Still, we had a very nice two-day visit at Koroni.
From Koroni it is only 20 km to a nice night parking at the beach near the breakwater at Petalidi. On Friday, we would do Kalamata, to buy a new Internet SIM-card at Wind and to get the ventilation repaired at the Fiat workshop in Kalamata. A new resistor (the large green one on the passenger side above the left foot), easy job! I thought so, in my dreams! At Fiats workshop we got a quick consultation of our fan system and it was found that it was not just a simple error, but there was no time today to diagnose the problem more detailed. We were welcome back on Monday morning 8 am.
We went on to Kalamata to buy a new internet SIM-card. Of course we came fifteen minutes after siesta-closing so we had three hours to do Kalamata City. Nice city, both to drive and walk through, mostly one-way traffic and a lot of nice restaurants and shops. A modern and fashionable city. After our case in the Wind store, we choose nevertheless to drive back to Petalidi, a weekend with overnights in Kalamata did not attract us. Petalidi feels safe and from there it is easier to explore other destinations over the weekend.
If we had looked at the weather report we would have stayed in Kalamata. On Sunday all the motorhomes in Petalidi had to move, because the storm was throwing stones and salt water on them. We drove to a big Parking place in Kalamata, waiting for our visit at the Fiat workshop on Monday morning.