Wait! Don’t start yet! Put some –appropriate- music on first!
Sometimes when you make reservations for a journey a little bit before your departure, the excitement grows (or simply so they say, people of last minute like myself!). After the capricious 2015 I just wanted to escape. The place was not really a matter as long as it helped my mind to escape too. A photo on google with cobbled streets in brightly vintage colors was enough to say… Monemvasia it is!
However, the backlog of work before my departure didn’t allow me to look anything around the place. All I knew was that the area had a castle and that there lived the famous Greek poet Yiannis Ritsos. So, I booked a very traditional and cosy hotel (as seen from the photos) and I went tabula rasa, plain paper, to discover “the rudderless boat” of Yiannis Ritsos.
Imagine my feeling, reaching the place, when I discovered that for the next few days I will be staying within the medieval walls of one of the best-preserved and vivid castles in Greece. The moon had just started to smile when I arrived at the hotel Kellia, a preserved building, right on the recently renovated square Chrysaphitissa, that later I learned that this was the house where Ritsos was born. In the room was waiting for us mulled wine and a traditional and magical scenery, exactly what I needed to relax at the maximum! But the story had just begun… And this I understood very well in the morning when at the great hall of the hotel was waiting for me a hearty breakfast with traditional fresh ingredients from the farm of hoteliers.
Wandering through the castle of Monemvasia is like a journey into the past, in places and times that I have not experienced, but I’ve heard talk about them and I have read with great interest. Spartans nobles, Romans, Turks, Venetians are some of the inhabitants of this land, and their presence has been left indelible over the centuries. Churches, fountains, steam room and rich merchants houses are on my path through the cobbled streets of the castle. But I am mostly passionate about these small wooden arched doors of homes that transfer me to the land of Hobbit and the color of the houses, this beige-brick that reminds me of something from Jordan and playfully brings in front of my eyes the most vivid contrast of them with the blue of the sea. This place is a real gem, that really surprised me how it has not been overwhelmed by hordes of tourists.
Later during a conversation on the subject with a local I learned that Monemvasia deliberately maintains a slightly low profile, because the overdelivery and the intense commercialization of a place definitely provokes collateral damage, that kills anything from its innocent beauty. Once you leave the car outside the walls and pass through the central arch – and the entrance- of the castle, immediately penetrates you the atmospheric aura of the settlement. There you leave your time waiting for you and you make a long dive through time. You take the main path that starts from the gate and leads to all major sights and the 4 restaurants of the castle, the coffee bar and the tiny shops along it. Eat fish at “Kanoni” and at “Voltes” greek mezze. If the weather is good, enjoy your breakfast in the coffee terrace “Emvasis” great views in all directions, taste a hot chocolate in the cozy “Vathysfairo” and drink an original cocktail on the terrace of “Enetiko”.
It seemed completely unthinkable to me to go outside the castle those four days I stayed in Monemvasia, because I thought that I will lose the magic of this place, so I explored every aspect of every alley. I enjoyed so many times the view from a plateau climbing to the Top Castle or Goula (unfortunately is currently closed for maintenance) that several days after I returned, I closed my eyes and magically I was there again, wandering in the castle and having my breath cut every time I was letting my eyes wander over the walls and outside them, to the endless blue of the sky and the sea!
All photos taken by me
The content & photos on this blog are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
You may not republish, copy or modify the content and use the photos without my permission.