I must say that when I think of the Mani, I think of the Maniot towers in Vathia perched on the hillside. I didn’t really know if we’d be able to get to Vathia from Areopolis as we are travelling by bus and not sure of the intricacies of the timetable until we arrive at a particular village. Anyway, after making enquiries with our wonderful host at Hotel Mani, Eleni tells us that it is possible with a little bit of help from a taxi. So we have to take the bus from Areopolis to Gerolimenas (I practiced saying it a few times before attempting it at the bus station!). It runs several times a day so this gives us plenty of time to get there and back in the same day.
The bus terminates at the lovely little seaside village of Gerolimenas. Once everyone has disembarked, the bus driver also gets off and heads for the taverna next to the bus stop. It seems this is where he waits until it’s time to head off again. We also go to this little taverna called Katagounas and order tea. Despite my husband thinking that the word Chai is the universal word for black tea, what we get is the sage flavoured mountain tea accompanied by bread and glyco (spoon sweets). Very nice!
We ask the waitress if it is possible for them to phone a taxi for us to take us to Vathia. She goes into the taverna to ask the owner – a character of a woman who seems to say yes – no problem!
Nearly two hours passed before a taxi arrived. We hadn’t stressed as we had an instinct that it was all in hand. We agreed with the taxi driver that he would drop us off at Vathia and pick us up again after an hour and a half. He quoted us 30€ for the return trip which we accepted. He drops us at the entrance to the complex. It is deserted and we spend time clambering around the abandoned ruins. In some houses there is complete collapse and dereliction – in one house it looks as though a whole ceiling has collapsed on top of an old olive press. In others, it seems as though the residents just moved out leaving everything standing.
I’m so thankful just to be able to make it here.
As arranged the taxi driver picks us up at the arranged time. We pay him an extra 10€ which he seems really thankful for. Back at Gerolimenas we return to the taverna Katagouna’s for something to eat. Our diet being post Easter has been very meat orientated and I have a real hankering for Gemista. This is exactly the right place to come for it. The taverna owner takes me into the kitchen to show us what they have and we take a table on the beach. Just amazing home cooked Greek food!
We have time to walk around Gerolimenas before the bus arrives to return to Areopolis. It really does have a lot of charm. There is a rather posh looking hotel called the Kyrimi Inn just on the sea front and as we head off back to the bus stop a stream of vintage cars arrive at the hotel car park. Interesting the things you see!