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Stoupa 2014

 Stoupa Wednesday 7 May 2014

Travelled out to Stoupa by the somewhat more civilised journey that is now available to Kalamata through Gatwick Airport and Easyjet. The downsides being the early start of 0550 and the accessibility of Gatwick from Oakley. Despite all, this is still less tiring than the old route through Athens and the long haul coach.

One day, Margaret and I might just overlap in Greece, we almost managed it this time with her flying out on the aircraft I had just flown in on.

A quick whizz round Kalamata market for Terry and I to gather what we regard as Stoupa essentials, a supply of shrimp and an octopus.

Then the 90 minute drive to Stoupa. When we arrived at the house, our first task was to change the bed only to have the bed bottom fall off. Now this presented an opportunity, a trip to Kardamili and the marvellous emporium of Mr. Grumpy, who has all things iron mongerish and beyond. However, showing him our plastic bed end fixing brackets evinced a resounding 'NO' so we were left to our own devices to search his shop. Finally, we found something that would 'have done' and on showing this to Mr. Grumpy off he trudged to a dusty back drawer and pulled out just the thing! 'Mr. Grumpy comes up trumpy' once again

Terry fixes the bed end clamps, no idea what these are called in english, let alone greek


Later Stoupa newbies Alice and Zoe join us for a chat and a munch

Terry serves up his octopus stew

He also gets to do the washing-up as well

But note how the tasteful Little Old Man fruit salad tin lampshade has been replaced by by a smart enamelled job...'straight from a French nunnery' says Terry.

 Thursday 8 May 2014

My first full day so a little local fossicking. First to Thanasisis's homemade theatre which has become one of my 'must see' sights of Stoupa. I thoroughly approve of this 'one man' passion to build something so ambitious and spectacular. The link is to our previous visit with Roger.

Thanasisis's homemade theatre at Lefktros.

Terry swore that the All Mani Broad bean festival was taking place here though there was no evidence of any broad beans. Now I am home and can surf the web, I can see that he had a point as I present the prospectus below:


To me it looked more like the set for a production of 'Waiting for Godot' [performed by boots]

Then up the hillside to Pyrgos in search of flowers

The wire netting bush, hides its tastry foliage under a cage of thorns

Rural post box or how to make your hollow tree rain proof

There is no saying what one might come across on these rural roads

Like goats

...more goats

..and err...more goats

Onwards and upwards to Kastania and its church roof of random slates

On to the church at Panaghia

St. George astride his teeth bared horse




The monastery at Vaidenitsa also a much returned to Stoupa location.


The view south towards Proastio

On our way out for our evening meal, stopped by to feed the poultry

A happy man with a bag of bread, horded for just this purpose from breakfast

We had our meal at Ellia in Aghios Nicholos and then on the way home stopped by the Trachilla caves to see the alpine and pallid swifts where we also caught sight of a hobby also looking for dinner.

The euphorbia dendroides and the setting sun set the hillside alight with colour. Just the inspiration needed to get weaving a hearth rug.

 Friday 9th May 2014
Over the top

A trip, mostly on un-made roads, across the mountain ridge to the opposite coast and the sea side village of Gythio. We followed part of this route last time and I enjoy it very much though the poor car is rarely let out of first gear. The route takes us over the top at 1580 metres and then down the other side and back to sea level. We take the 'easy' route for the way back.

The scenery is spectacular


The way narrow and rough






Picking up logs from the King's forest





Stopped to read tourist information

The old terraces being brought back into cultivation but now as olive mono-culture

Back home we needed washing-up liquid but what is a boy to choose when so many are on offer

Little washer-man Terry in sudsy heaven

Terry at work

Me at work

 Saturday 10th May 2014
To Kardemeli

Terry wanted to replace a broken glass from his outdoor light fitting so this meant another trip to Mr. Grumpy. Complete success, we were pleased to get a replacement for €5. We also met up with Mariketi and arranged to take her to lunch on Sunday.

Later the same evening we returned to Kardamili for another lamp glass. Mr. Grumpy's son was in charge, we call him Mr. Happy as he always has a smile, he charged us €4 for the same glass we had bought in the morning.

Headed for an early meal at Dioskeuri where I treated myself to their last swordfish steak. I also bought two jars of 'handmade' olives. I bought some of these last time too and they were by far the best of the various samples I collected that time. They also had jars of pickled samphire which looked well worth a try. We were told that the samphire was picked wild off the beach, dipped in boiling water for a moment or two and then bottled in white wine vinegar topped off with a layer of olive oil.

Processing the olives is a bit more complicated as they are each nicked twice by hand with a knife before soaking them in water for about ten days. They are then bottled in brined wine vinegar and finished off with a layer of olive oil in the same way as the samphire.

At Dioskuri, overlooking Kardamili Bay

 Sunday 11th May 2014
To Kardamili

Early morning view from the balcony in Stoupa

Each morning we go on a circuit round the village and buy a loaf of bread at the bakery for the day. [As we know, Terry secretes some of this to feed his feathered friends in the village]. We have also been looking askance at the state of the Five brothers taverna, our location of choice for our morning draught. Each day there has been sign of activity but no actual opening so to-day we were pleased to come across Ilias who said 'avrio' to us, a little later we came across Stavros who confirmed 'tomorrow'.

Then we headed into Kardamili again for our luncheon appointment with Mariketi. She closed up her shop, Kamara, on the main street and off we went to Elies [olive tree] restaurant on the beach.

 Monday 12th May 2014
To Pighadia

Up betimes and headed towards our destination of the bridges across the gorge near Pighardia. Passing the bus stop in Stoupa we picked up two walkers well kitted out for serious forays into the hills. It turned out that Malcolm and Leslie were from Preston and we soon hijacked their planned walk down the Kardamele gorge to a rather better one with the same outcome starting more off the beaten track at Tseria.

We carried on along narrower and narrower and more precipitous roads until we chickened out below Pighardia. This was much to the amusement of two sheperds busy tending their goats, or maybe their bees.

We walked on towards the bridges, very glad that we had abbandonned the car when we did.

Rindomo Gorge turned out to be fantastic, very narrow and steep. Three bridges had been constructed, one above the other as buildng tecniques improved.

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Decided that this would be asking a bit much of the car

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Looking down into the gorge

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From the bottom of the gorge, looking away from the bridges

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Approaching the bridges along the gorge bottom

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The fallen rock from the other side

Donkey track towards the bridges

Back to Stoupa and the the Five Brothers open at last so 'theo mythos' for us. Then over to Aghios Nicholos for our evening meal.

The harbour at Aghios Nicholos

 Tuesday 13th May 2014
Packing up and going home

There was a charter coach parked by the school and in front of it a series of road cones, designed to keep the road clear for the coach.

Well this was probably not a good place to park your car

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