Shards of Peloponnese
When I say Peloponnese, I immediately remember a picture composed of a mosaic of unique nature, distinctive landscape, special culture, important history, excellent food, beautiful sea and the warmth of the southern regions ...
The Peloponnese is technically a peninsula and province in southern Greece. It is connected to the central part of the country by a land bridge - the Corinthian Neck (Isthmus of Corinth), which separates the Gulf of Corinth from the Saronic Gulf. However, the Corinthian neck was dug and the transport-important Corinth Canal made the Peloponnese an island...
When I close my eyes and remember what clung most to my mind from the Peloponnese, then it is itself, the south itself, consisting of 3 finger-shaped peninsulas, which are etched in my memory with their beauty and uniqueness, sometimes even in picturesque circumstances ... This part of the Peloponnese carved the outlines of the following fragments in my mind:
Lagoon, chameleons, olives, gypsies, turtles and Laconia ...
I would like to share them with you ...
Just a few kilometers north of Pilos the beautiful circular lagoon Paralia Voidokilias is found, connected to the sea by a rocky strait. It is certainly one of the most beautiful coastal formations in Greece. The azure blue water of the center of the lagoon turns along the edges into white sand, which creates a beautiful white ring around the lagoon. Just a feast for the eyes and in the summer a wonderful opportunity to bathe and refresh yourself in a place of completely heavenly beauty. It does not occur to you at present that in 1827 there was a bloody naval battle for Navarino, which is the original name of the town of Pilos, which was a key battle in the struggle for independence of Greece in the Greek War of Independence in 1821-1832. The Alliance of Greeks, British, French and Russians reflected in the last great naval battle between the sailboats, the onslaught of Ottoman and Egyptian naval forces trying to conquer Greece. The sailboats were moored and the battle took place by a shootout of terrible artillery. It's hard to imagine this Armageddon in such a paradise today.
In the immediate vicinity of this lagoon, a unique natural monument is extending for few square kilometers. It is the only locality where the African chameleon (Chamaeleo africanus) occurs in Europe. Apparently, chameleons were introduced centuries ago, perhaps millennia ago, due to the lively trade between the Egyptian delta, where the nearest populations of this species occur, or a pregnant female came here by chance during a storm on a piece of wood. Nobody knows that today. What is known, however, is that, thanks to a small climatic anomaly caused by the Gulf of Navarino, which is very shallow, it is easily warmed by the sun's rays and thus provides its surroundings with significantly higher temperatures in winter than in other parts of southern Greece, a geographically small but strong population of these beautiful unique creatures thrives here.
Directly between the western and central fingers of the southern Peloponnese is the city of Kalamata. The city is known worldwide for its absolutely unique excellent black olives. Kalamata olives, that's something! They are black-purple in color, have a dark black-purple flesh and a very sharp stone, and at the tip, at the opposite end from where the stalk is located, they are sharply pointed. Their taste is very pronounced to rough, bitter and sour and very typical. I remember it from my childhood, when my father brought home a strange square can containing Kalamata olives in olive oil. They can be bought in the same packaging to this day and are no less good!
Southern Greece used to be crowded, literally crowded, with a huge number of land tortoises. My guide was a local biologist and tortoise specialist. With a tear in his eye, he was able to show me only a single trace of a tortoise, leading across a sand dune and disappearing somewhere in the thickets, where we could no longer find it, in about a week of my stay in the area.
He told me with emotion about the vast populations of trotoises in the 1980s and early 1990s. It is said that tortoises were simply everywhere at the time. Then he brought me to a place where my breath caught and tears welled up in my eyes. I looked at a pile of about two meters of sun-bleached broken tortoises. When asked what happened here, my guide replied that they were all eaten by gypsies who had begun to withdraw from colder parts of Europe in recent years. Because they had nothing to eat, they decimated the local tortoise population - easy prey, all they had to do was collect and throw them on the fire.
On the coast of the middle finger of the Peloponnese, we then saw a gypsy village. She was right on the shore, right along the road, its inhabitants made makeshift shelters from their wagons and danrics and tents and set out on the outskirts of the local villages. Exactly as they have been doing for centuries and millennia in their homeland, Rajestan, India. A distinctive culture, which is typical of the nomadic way of life, perfect knowledge of animals, especially cattle and horses, high craftsmanship, especially in the craft of wire and blacksmithing, and a cheerful approach to life, manifested in their dances, entertainment and world-famous music. An admirable nation that has managed to survive for thousands of years by roaming cattle through deserts and mountains and retaining its distinctive culture and language to this day. Admired, respected and hated. But always proud and original.
Monemvasia was a city on the east coast of the eastern finger of the southern Peloponnese, to which fate took me sometime in the early evening and I came to find accommodation here. I didn't want to go to any hotel and I stopped at a garden, which offered homestay accommodation. The owner spoke English. But she spoke very strangely. All our communication took place during what showed me the possible accommodation capacity.
One room two people?
Price: xxx drachma.
What it was?
Ahaaaaaa! The lady spoke laconically! Means Laconically! I'm in Lakonia! Laconia is a Greek province on the Peloponnese peninsula with the capital Sparta. The term "laconic" is used to mean "short, sectional and precise" and such must have been the military instructions in the War of the Experienced Spartans from time immemorial!
It is a pity that neither Wikipedia nor interpretive dictionaries explain that the word "laconic" means actually originated in Lakonia.
With a smile, I still remember the conversation - again laconic - with the Greeks during dinner, which went something like this:
Skoda good! Tuk tuk tuk tuk :-)))
So we will end laconically also!