Pylos Travel Blog

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In the morning, we all piled onto the bus to head to pylos, which is.. small.  Smaller than Aeropolis (or maybe roughly the same size) in any light, still quite delightful.  Along the way, we went through the ancient city of Mystre.  Hmm. there is something to be aware of, Mystre is actually a city that was more or less founded because Sparta was in an extremely bad position to defend.  It was in a valley with hills all around it and well, the Byzantines figured and probably rightly so, that having a city in such a place was sort of an invitation to be invaded every so often and whatnot.  In any light, Mystre (and I do hope I am spelling it correctly) is not nearly as ancient as Sparta, but as everything here is older than the United States, I will abuse the term ancient many many times, or I may have to come up with other kinds of classifications for old.  Neo-ancient, paleo-ancient.. and the like. 

Mystre, is rather well preserved, but that is probably to be expected as most of the inhabitants later moved out of the city (deserted it we would say) when it became appearant that basically hill side fortress living was a. a pain in the butt and b. would not really afford you much protection in the modern era with bombers, battleships, tanks and whatnot, so when modern sparta was formed, the hill people knew by the direction of the sun that it was okay to go back to the valley.  In any regard, the remainder were bought out by the greek government and the place is sort of a giant museum.  You can wander around the old walls, up through the fortress (built in 1260, if memory serves) and wander through the number of churches that have some really incredible frescos, which unfortunately are in varying states of disrepair.  Although I must say that the site's english (and greek) signs did give plenty of information concerning the founding the city, the byzantine focus on available water (which is extremely important, esp in places like greece), ariable land, fortification defenses, etc.  I am certain that I could have spent a lot longer than we did there, but that has sort of come out as a theme of the trip so far.. but really, you're not going to be able to see everything, and certainly not in a few weeks.

After that we headed out to "sandy pylos" going through the mountains which was scenic.. fairly jaw dropping.  The views and the fact that much of the highway through them was barely wide enough for two cars and soil erosion and whatnot left you with not much of a shoulder (and much of the road had no guardrails at all).  Just a long long drop to the bottom of some ravine and immortality as 16 little crosses being erected by the roadside in our honor.  I didn't much pay attention to that aspect to the ride, although it did add for a bit of adventure to the trip.  We did stop at was purported to have the best yoghurt and honey in the country.  Which is a very greek thing to have for breakfast (and snack and after dinner desert).  Full fat yoghurt and this very dark honey mixed with some nuts (but typically not).  I had my first plateful and had to say that I found the mix of tart and sweet not much for my liking but I did finish it so it wasn't bad, just not my cup of tea as it were.  I will say that if I have to hear from annoying canadian again how this kind of yoghurt would never be found in canada because it is so good with the full fat and creamy and blah blah, I may end up not making through the rest of the journey as I will find myself in jail having tossed her off a cliffside at some point.

The rest of the day found us in Pylos (we arrived later in the afternoon), eating and then wandering around to basically find that there wasn't all that much to the place.  I went to sleep fairly early and whatnot.
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photo by: sylviandavid