Our week here has flown by. Carol’s been to see the dentist and has another couple of appointments booked, so we’ll be staying here for another week to ten days. The way we’re going we’ll be able to write a guide to European dentists, given that I’ve also seen dentists in Spain, Portugal and Slovenia.
We’re still parked up on the marina, and it really is a great spot – nice and quiet with a great view. A British couple arrived here yesterday, and it turns out that we were parked next to them in Foz, Spain back in May – what a small world!
The weather’s been warm but we’ve had a few rainy days as well. As there are quite a few tavernas right by the marina, we’ve been out for a couple of meals. The food is superb, and good value too – you’d be hard pushed to spend more than €25 for a two course meal with wine. I’m loving the salads with lots of huge beefsteak tomato covered in olive oil and lemon juice. Talking of which there’s also a rather tasty dish called vlita – wild greens that have been wilted and allowed to cool – also served swimming in olive oil and lemon juice. The Greek cuisine has been influencing our cooking in the van as we’ve started having the tomato salads for lunch, and we’ve been adapting our ‘one pot’ meals to include the local Greek greens and other ingredients.
Kalamata is the second largest town on the Peloponnese. There was a big earthquake here back in 1986 which destroyed the southern part of the city, so the area all around the marina and the port has been rebuilt since then. The area to the north is the old town, though parts of this look to have also been damaged in the earthquake and restored.
There’s a great food market here too, with loads of stalls selling local produce.
The railway line between the town and the port was also impacted by the earthquake, and this area has been turned into a park and museum where the station building is now a cafe, and there are a number of old trains on display. It’s lovely walking through this park to get to the old town.
Today is Epiphany, an important day in the Greek Orthodox calendar marking the end of the Christmas period. On our walk this morning we stopped at the local church as there was a large crowd outside, with families all dressed in their Sunday best and service men and women looking smart in their uniforms. There was lots of activity with people going in and out of the church, and the church bells were ringing away for quite a while. At the end of the service there was a parade where a marching band led the clergymen and congregation to the port. Here the clergymen boarded a boat which went about 50 metres into the harbour, and they then blessed a cross before throwing it overboard. A number of people dived into the sea to rescue the cross, boarded the boat and were in turn blessed by the clergymen. There were probably a couple of thousand spectators lining the port watching this, and we’re very lucky to be able to witness other cultures at first hand like this.
So far we’ve only been as far as Lidl in the van because of the weather, but as the forecast for the week ahead is good we’ll be going on a couple of daytrips up into the mountains to visit some ancient archaeological sites.