Greece… The Deep Mani

Extracts over some of my last few days touring around the Mani.
Day 1
Steep ride from Kotrona to Areopolis. Call in to bookshop to search for more detailed map. Editor of ‘Mani’ (a well known local Magazine) and friends give me hero’s welcome (Apostolis has been chatting to them) can they use my cartoon for their front cover? Presented with red rose and impromptu photo shoot.
A very laden couple with 2 young children and bags everywhere are cycling, yes CYCLING around the Mani…. What are they thinking of?!

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Stay put for the night so as to leave early for
Day 2
mega ride over pass, taking in more remote hilly villages. Coffee in the home of aged Stellos whose father was killed by the communists aged 44. Wonderful photographic Mani family history on his kitchen walls. Heartfelt hugs of farewell. Gruesome torture scenes in sweet little Drosopighi chapel depicting purgatory, plus tortoise wanting to view.

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Day 3
Burgi’s visit. I do early 200m climb to see pre-christian structure and take breakfast on top of the world. Forgot spoon but removable lens from sunglasses makes excellent substitute. 54 minutes up, 7 minutes down!

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We lie on the beach ALL DAY!
Notice that the evening octopus didn’t seem to digest too well.
Day 4
Unable to resist her generous offer of a lift up through Sparti and to ‘top’ so that I could fly down through the Neda Gorge to Kalamata. ( and ride from there back to Kardamili/Agios Nikolaos to spend last days in Greece here)
Noticed stomach uncomfortable on the unexpected upwards hairpins… Who put them there? (Think I pulled muscles in the unfamiliar act of swimming previous day.)

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Back in Kalamata, waves of peculiar feelings and then that awful realisation.
A very nasty night throwing up with surprisingly bad leg cramps. Burgi angel on the other end of a phone in case. INCREDIBLY Grateful for beautifully clean toilet. Daughter Ruth texts naturopathic advice.
Day 5
Decide I am well enough to stagger to bus as not up to 30 miles in heat or hills. On my way to the bus station Yannis from ‘Kardamili Bikes’ spots me and greets me with ‘you are the kindest woman I have seen in 150 years’…. yet another travel angel! Not well enough to flutter eyelashes despite all the charm!! Loads me and Sir G. into his van and collects bundles of sweet-smelling-hay-fever-inducing chamomile en route; then passes his shop in Kardamili and takes me all the way to my new room ( well, not quite ALL the way ) in Agios Nikolaos. Beautiful clean white sheets; quiet; sleep. Small meal to celebrate return of health.

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I am back on the west side, in this lovely fishing village. ‘Civilisation’. More ‘People’. A feeling of both wistfulness for the utmost simplicity of life on the inconvenient ‘other side’ and thankfulness for the convenience of life here. In equal measure. The gorgeous weather, the sound of the sea and the beauty of the landscape is unaltered.
I am looking again at the little mountain villages, suspended unevenly in the dark like the twinkling beads of a pretty necklace threading themselves between the peaks and the sea and wondering how on earth it was all possible. Even walking upstairs feels like hard work right now!! now I understand there are no grey feelings about this special, inspiring and rare piece of Greece.. you love it or… Well I LOVE IT!

Is it still raining at home? Well I’m not coming back then… shan’t-won’t-can’t…!

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6 Responses to Greece… The Deep Mani

  1. Gemma Piggott says:

    I think you are amazing. Love and hugs Gemma Xxx

  2. Anne Chamberlain says:

    Dear Jenny, Somehow I missed the box where you could be alerted to new B by B posts by email. Once I discovered that, I have followed your exploits faithfully….just wish I had wised up last summer. So, at our piano rep class in March, I told the other pianists about your journey, and several of them went right home and signed up for the B by B alerts and have followed you faithfully every since. Two weeks ago I met a wonderful woman at a dinner, told her about it, and she went right home and read every posting for the last 10 months. The next day came your announcement of the plan to travel back to England. I have to say that my friends, your new fans, were a bit disappointed. But we realize how it must be probable to be a bit weary, plus there must be a bit of a tug to see Ruth, Tom and Ollie. But all of us over here on this side of the pond hope that you will continue to write your thoughts and adventures. They have asked me to pass that thought along.

    Is it possible that the toughest part of the journey will be to return to “normal” life? That in itself would be worthy of a few long postings.

    One of my piano friends was inspired to read A Time of Gifts, and then recommended that her book club read the book. She intends to use your blog as followup material when they discuss the book. It sounded like such a good idea, I suggested the same to my book club, but they did not choose the book for our reading list. Woe! But I decided to read it, and am about 2/3rds of the way through. All I can think of it is: What an amazing intellect! He makes me feel as though I’ve had absolutely NO education at all.

    If I could drop into your salon back in England, I would play for you (nerves permitting) Tchaikovsky’s Berceuse, Op 72, no 2. It is memorized, and I’m hoping to pull it off at the annual recital in June. It is such a lovely, tranquill lullaby.

    Hugs to you on your remaining journey.
    Anne Chamberlain

    • beverley says:

      No rain forecast this Saturday and half of Sunday if that’s any help x

    • jennyquick says:

      What a fabulous message Anne. Well I can’t imagine the ‘journey’ ever ending really, just shifting in its focus maybe…. but yes, qualms about ‘normal’ life and transition. Why not invite me over and I will happily speak and play with photos, stories and such? Perhaps a little fundraising to help with costs? I could maybe bring my bike and have a little tour the other side of the pond?! Just point me towards pianos on lovely routes with (nice gradients?) All sorts of ideas washing around at the moment. Feel sure the travel angels will have it all organised!
      So many thanks for your warmth and encouragement…. And to all of you who have recently joined the readership, hearty welcome!

  3. Sarah O'Brien says:

    Weather’s pants. Prince Charles said so!

    • jennyquick says:

      Just got soaked to skin here… Difference is that it’s warm enough to just evaporate with no fuss.
      Tell Prince Charles he will have to do better and summon his weather courtiers…!

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