5.24.09 Mystras, Greece

Mystras Travel Blog

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5.24.09 Mystras near Sparta, Greece


Reluctantly we left our beachfront paradise at Kyparissia Campground this morning.  I must admit that we’d happily stay there three months if allowed.  But we steeled ourselves by repeating our goals:  see the main sights, meet the people, learn the language, eat the food, and complete a good overview tour of many countries.


We’re running out of time and so I think we must cut Santorini.  With flights out of London on Easyjet Airlines for 60 Pounds, it seems easy enough for the kids to visit there in the future.  Cruises go there too, so we should perhaps instead see the parts of Greece that require driving.  After all, how often are we going to have an RV in Greece? 


We drove some scenic mountain roads to Sparta!  We went from 28 feet below sea level at one point to over 4400 feet!  There were switchbacks, low rock tunnels, and one lane roads.  Little traffic this Sunday, but we met a truck at the tunnel (he backed up for us), and we met a bus at the one lane in-town (we backed up for him).  Tricky! 


To go down the steep mountains, we just gear down into 2nd, put on the flashers, and crawl down the mountain so as not to gain speed and wear out the brakes.  It takes awhile, but alive is better than fast.  Sugar did a great job climbing up those steep grades- she is a fine rig!


The campground here in Sparta has a French caravan group here, who were apparently quite entertaining at the pool, the kids reported.  The nice campground owner, lived in New York for 12 years, since his wife is from there and all his kids born there.  He was very helpful and helped me find a campging spot for Sugar after I refused the first suggestion due to low trees.  No way am I dragging dear Sugar’s roof under trees!  I feel very protective of our dear Exchange RV.


It is still 30E a night for the 4 of us, the camper (7), and electricity (4), but they have free wifi, which saves us on phone calls and internet costs.  Greece has been the most progressive country so far with wifi throughout the campgrounds, unsecured, but working well.  Ahhh, a lovely country!


They also have a restaurant here and we just had Souvlaki, tzasziki, bread, and yogurt with honey, which they kindly told us was a dessert.  We’d bought phyllo pies at a gas station for lunch.  These meals out serve multiple purposes:  they save us from having to buy extensive groceries, cook, clean up, etc, but they provide culturally-specific foods and interactions with locals.  (The prices are only about 6E a meal here, service and tax are typically included).


Tonight as we were leaving, our kind waiter helped us with our Greek:  Kalispera is “Good Evening” when you arrive somewhere, and Kalinista is when you are saying “Good night” and going to sleep.  But he admitted it was a little confusing when you were leaving in the early evening, but not really going in for the night.  We decided “Ciao!” works!


We’re at Castle View campground in Mystras, a few kilometers from Sparta - and sure enough!  You can see a Mystras castle up there on the nearby mountain.  I can’t wait to see it lit up at night.  We asked about visiting this afternoon, but they were having a festival today and “it would be better to go in the morning.”  Sounded good to us!  The kids hit the pool and I was able to run down the battery on Charles’ iTouch talking to Ned on Skype.


We were talking at dinner about the charms of Greece- what is it that we love so very much about this country?  We conferred:  The nice people, delicious Greek food, the history and myths, dramatic and beautiful countryside, blue water, delightful beaches, the laid-back relaxed feeling, music that’s just the right volume just when you want to hear it, and the glorious bright sunshine.  Oh!  And the roses and bougainvilleas are incredible- most bushes could not hold another flower, they are so covered with blooms!

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photo by: Paulovic