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A resting day at Gytheio

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Tuesday 13 May, a resting day at Gytheio

Port of Gytheio Port of GytheioToday we are having a quiet day and start with an hour on the nearby gravel beach. It is pleasant weather but not too hot and the water is delicious. Then we drive to Gytheio (or Githion), a small town that lies a few kilometers to the north. It is a harbor town that in ancient times was already used as the main base for the fleet of Sparta that itself was not by the sea. The town as it is now, dates back to the Middle Ages and there are still all kinds of churches and monasteries from that time.
Port of Gytheio Chapel along the road, GytheioBut first we stroll like real tourists along the boulevard and through the narrow streets. The large amount of apartments that can be rented and the many eateries make it clear that tourism is a very important source of income in the summer, while in the winter the olives are harvested. There are nice souvenir shops and we drink a cup of coffee along the water.
Then we walk to the former island of Marathonisi where we encounter a dilapidated chapel. Would anyone ever take care of it?
We can walk to the peninsula via a concrete quay, which according to many is the ancient Greek Kranai where, according to Homer, Paris and Helena spent their first night together and married each other after he had abducted her from Sparta, the reason for the Trojan War. Paris was the son of Priam, the ruler of Troy and through a complicated play of the gods, Helena, the wife of Meneloas (king of Sparta), fell in love with Paris. As a result, the Greeks joined together and besieged Troy for ten years, and the hero Odysseus wandered around for another 10 years before he came home, told in two thick books by Homer, and all this because Eris, the goddess of quarrels and dispute, was not invited at another wedding. Reminds us of a fairy tale...
Lighthouse of Gytheio Tzannetakis tower, GytheioThe peninsula is only a few hundred meters long and at the end there is a 23 meter high lighthouse of marble while in the middle there is a tower, built in the 19th century, when this part of Greece was still free while the rest was occupied by the Ottoman Empire. It is a tower with residential buildings attached to it so in our opinion a small castle. Now it is a historical and cultural museum where we mainly get information about the independance war against the Turks in the 19th century.
Agios Petros, GytheioAt the beginning of the peninsula there is a small church, like almost all churches here with white plastered walls and red roof tiles. In Greece there is no separation between state and religion and the orthodox faith is the state religion, even the priests are paid by the state, so they are actually civil servants. The church also has all sorts of favorable financial arrangements that the left-wing parties would like to get rid of, but nobody has dared to do something radically about it.
Terrace along the water, Gytheio The promenade of GytheioWe spend a wonderful day in this still quiet place; somewhat later in the season it seems to get pretty crowded here with all tourists because it is an ideal place from where you can explore Mani, the middle peninsula of the Peloponnese in the Mediterranean Sea. In the course of the afternoon we are looking for a table along the water for something to eat. The waiters of the various restaurants do their best to attract our attention, the competition is great. We only have one really important criterion: are the chairs comfortable to sit in, because on the hard chairs I get very quickly muscle pain, due to a too high muscle tension that I have since I was a child. Very annoying at times.
Then we go to the beach for a while but there more and more clouds are appearing in the sky and we return to our apartment in time where we spend a quiet evening. It has really been a relaxing day, delicious, like having a holiday.


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