After driving for 70-odd kilometres down the Messinia coastline yesterday, we arrived at Pylos and pulled up on the marina. There were 15 or so motorhomes already there, all of them Italian, so we parked up in one of the spaces amongst them. Two hours later the Italian vans had all disappeared, so we were the only van on the marina last night.
One of the main attractions for us with Greece is the food, but so far we’ve been off the beaten track and nearly all of the tavernas and restaurants we’ve seen have been closed for the winter. However Pylos is a working town and not just a tourist destination, so quite a few restaurants are open all year round. After a quick walk around the town we went for lunch at the Aetos restaurant, a small family run restaurant serving traditional Greek food overlooking the marina, and we weren’t disappointed. The food was delicious, the portions generous and all reasonably priced. It was so good that we returned for dinner last night, lunch today, and we’ll probably be going back there for dinner tonight!
Pylos is a lovely town, unspoilt by tourism, and overlooks the Bay of Navarino (Pylos’s former name) which is the site of the 1825 Battle of Navarino in the Greek War of Independence from the Turks. Here, a combined British/French/Russian fleet under the command of the British Admiral Codrington ended up sinking the combined Turkish/Tunisian/Egyptian fleet, paving the way for the creation of the modern Greek state. As you might expect Codrington is seen as a hero in Greece, and there is a monument to him and the battle in the town square.
This morning we climbed the hill and visited Neo Kastro (New Castle). It’s one of those places with differing styles of architecture as it was built by the Turks, occupied by the Venetians and re-taken by the Turks before coming under control of the Greeks, most evident in the church which was formerly a mosque. As well as the wonderful views from the top of the castle, there’s also an interesting museum there displaying finds from shipwrecks found along the Greek coastline. If you’re in Pylos then it’s definitely worth a visit.
At lunchtime today Carol had the misfortune to break a tooth, so we spent the afternoon looking for a dentist. The two here are closed (unsurprisingly as it’s a Saturday, and the day before New Year’s Eve) but through the wonders of Google and Facebook we’ve found a dentist in Kalamata, where we’ll be on Tuesday. Carol’s messaged him online, and now has an appointment for Tuesday.
Tomorrow morning we’ll be visiting the town of Methoni before moving onto a campsite at Koroni, which is a few hundred metres from the town. Hopefully we’ll be able to find a taverna which is open and celebrating New Year.