This morning we woke at 7am. Everywhere is quiet and from our balcony all we can hear are the bird chirping, the chickens scratching away in the olive grove and the church bells.
Katerina was up and sitting in the office where we wish her Kali Anastasi.
When we had arrived back at Katerina’s Studios last night, Sotiris had confirmed that there were no buses from Kardamyli that would enable us to make our connection at Kalamata to Tyros via Tripoli. Very kindly he had offered to drive us which was amazing.
Katerina saw us to the car and as we said goodbye she gave us a small bottle of olive oil from their last harvest and a rose and some jasmine from her garden.
We have loved our stay here very much and cannot speak highly enough of the hospitality that we have received here.
As we leave Kardamyli we drive up to the mountain villages again. Kampos is the village of his father. Sotiris tells us that the church that we pass is the place he goes to when he needs to figure something out. Before long we are dropping back down to Kalamata.
We have plenty of time and Sotiris drives around Kalamata town – the new town and the old town, the main square and then past the market. He then drops us at the bus station. Before he leaves he checks that our bus is on time and then hands us another gift in a small card box. We say our goodbyes and thank Sotiris for his kindness and wonderful hospitality.
Before boarding the bus we have to purchase some Kalamata olives. It would be so rude not to!
The bus arrives at Tripoli where we need to catch another connecting bus to Tyros. The bus station is busy but we are able to order tea and sit outside the station café. Tripoli bus station is clean and modern. It seems today is the day that everyone is going home to their families and it is interesting to watch the comings and goings.
Our bus to Tyros does seem to be running late. Only to be expected on Good Friday when the bus service is limited. However, from what I observe, connecting buses will wait for the late bus rather than leave people stranded.
It is a nice journey and the bus stops at requested stops along the way – some in the back and beyond! As people depart they wish the driver happy Easter and fall into the welcoming arms of waiting family members.
The numbers of passengers dwindle as we approach Tyros. The view over the bay is lovely. We’re not quite sure where to get off the bus but with thanks to Google maps we know we are close.
We do miss the right bus stop but all it meant was a bit of a walk back along the bay to the Paraskevi Hotel where we would being staying.
The Paraskevi is a budget hotel on the Northern most end of the bay. It felt that it had been run down a little. However, the room was clean and the staff hospitable. The only thing we had to complain about is the alcove where there was a clothing rail, backed onto the bathroom and it smelt damp and musty. I had to be resourceful and look at other ways to hang my clothes. The view from the balcony would have been lovely if it wasn’t obstructed by a telegraph pole and a mass of telephone wires.
As lovely as the bus journey was, it was exhausting. We’re so tempted to lie down and go to sleep but today is Good Friday and we are here to observe the Easter celebrations.
The beach stretches for 2 kilometres and it’s length is marked by unlit bamboo torches planted in the sand. Oranges from the very many fruit orchards in the village have been hollowed out to make candle holders. Handmade floating paper lanterns cover rock formations on the beach.
We have time to eat before the church service and the procession begins so we choose To Akrogialis which had been recommended to us.
As dusk sets in we make our way along the bay. Half way along is a large square with the church Agia Marina which sits impressively behind a large fountain. At the Southern end of the bay sits the church of Metamorphosis Sotiris which is where we decide to observe the procession.
The church is full and a large crowd waits outside. Most people are holding a lit candle and the atmosphere is restrained and solemn.
The doors of the church swing open and a tall cross is carried out followed by the elaborately decorated epitaphio. The bells ring in a mourning tone. Who would imagine that church bells could sound so sad. Small fishing boats sail close to the shoreline, escorting the epitaphio all the way.
The epitaphio and the procession makes its way down along the beach until it reaches Agia Marina where an equally resplendent epitaphio awaits. Although inanimate objects, they seem to acknowledge each other before departing back along the route they had both come from. We follow the epitaphio one more time back to the church and from there the crowds begin to dwindle. We had back to the hotel exhausted and emotionally drained.