Mystras in the Peloponnese, Greece

Trip Start May 08, 2010
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18
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Trip End Jan 23, 2011


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Flag of Greece  , Peloponnese,
Wednesday, September 1, 2010

We are off to the Peloponnese on a 3 Day Tour visiting some very interesting and historic places like Mystras, Sparta, Monemvasia, The Caves of Diros, Gythio, Tripoli and Vitina.



Our first stop is at the ruins of Mystras.

I have visited Mystras many times, and a couple of years back, the choir I belonged to had the chance to sing in Sparta in the open theatre overlooking the ruins of Mystras under a full moon. The music was dedicated to the Composer Spanoudakis who is well known throughout the country for his great music.



Mystras is a place where no matter how many times you visit, you want to come again and again, and your feelings differ every time you are here.



There are two entrances, and luckily we are taken to the top of the cliff so that it will be much easier to descent the mountain since there are people who are much older and who are not used to walking.



There are several tourists on the way up the hill whom we meet on our way down the cliff, who are so patiently studying their guide books, while this time we are here we have not a tour guide with us. It is just the lady who is our guide in the coach but she cannot explain everything in detail.  I am lucky though that on previous times we really had a guide and the tour was much more interesting.



We are given about one and a half hours to see everything – as if it is a routine walk…..and I am angry because the rest of the group is much ahead while I want to go into the different churches take photos and move slowly in my attempt to try and understand where I really am, and what there is to see.



There is an elderly couple just a few metres ahead of me, and the lady finds it difficult to move fast like the rest and they rely on me to guide them. I tell them not to worry, and the three of us will move slowly down the cliff so that I can take nice photos. We are indeed moving slowly, and I enjoy what I see and the way I walk, until I lose the rest of the group completely.

I try to call Yianni and he has his cell phone off, and I get desperate.  Nobody is around.  They must have reached the car parking already.  I try to call loudly but I neither see anyone nor hear them.  I am so angry, and I ask tourists whom I meet if they have seen a group going down the cliff.  Nobody has seen them.



I don't want to panic the couple, but I am really confused as to where to go, and this lasts for some minutes. It is not that one can get lost out here, but the fact that I have no idea of the exact time we are supposed to be back. The lady remembers something else, and her husband insists that we are given 15 more minutes.
My heart beats fast, but this is because I am really angry with the stupid people who have just walked passed everything and must have already returned.


This is what happens when you go with a group or with a tourist agent.



As I am descending I find the museum which I have visited several times and for a moment I climb up the stairs.  Suddenly I think that it will be really difficult for the lady who is following to come up here and this will cause much delay, so I run quickly down the stairs where I meet the couple at the entrance of the church telling them that we have better move on and forget the whole thing.

They are disappointed but they agree to follow me. Every few minutes her husband gets angry and shouts at her and I try to I calm him down by saying that the others can wait.  I am afraid that if she tries to go faster she might break a leg or fall down. I can't stand this man calling her names, but he is doing this because he has also realized that we are far behind.



I come to the car park and find the rest of the group in the car.  I am furious and when I step in the car I start shouting telling them that they are all foolish people because they were in such a hurry and they had seen nothing.

The guide who is a friend of mine tells me to calm down, and if I wanted I had 10 more minutes! (ha ha ha)!

10 minutes.  Are they all so stupid?

I ask if they at least visit the Museum and they tell me that they did not see it !!!

How stupid and ignorant people they are.  They were just following the coach guide who was walking as if she was going to the market.



Five minutes later the couple who was with me enters the coach and we are off!



At least I am lucky that I have been out here many times…..but I wanted these people to enjoy this walk and see the treasures in a more relaxed way. I am sure if they are ever asked they will know nothing about Mystras.



Because I want to give my readers the chance to get the whole picture of this place, I add below facts, dates and some history about Mystras.



If you ever visit Greece, do visit this place as I am sure you will love it, and it is worth it.  Greece is not only Athens, Santorini or Mykonos!!!

                                        ************************

THE BYZANTINE RUINS OF MYSTRAS

Mystras is located 5 km north west of Sparta.
"The wonder of the Morea" as it is called was built amphitheatrically around the fortress erectred in 1249 by the prince of Achaia. It was reconquered by the Byzantines, then occupied by the Turks and the Venetians, and the city was abandoned in 1832 leaving only the breathtaking medieval ruins standing here.

The Byzantine ruins of Mystras are at the base of Mount Taygetos, overlooking the city of Sparta and the fertile plain surrounding it. It gives impressive views of the whole area around it.

It is worth paying a visit to this beautiful historical spot when you visit the Peloponnese. I believe it is the best example of the last period of the Byzantine empire. It is a fortress and a city surrounded by walls and full of beautiful monasteries and churches.

IN THE NEXT ENTRY .....MORE ABOUT THE BYZANTINE STATE OF MYSTRAS.
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Comments

venoth
venoth on

Sounds pretty much like my experiences when I travel in a group. This is one of the reason I always prefer traveling alone. Just like you, I am attracted to these kind of places where I study every detail along the way (and take lots of pictures) unlike tourists who just walk past it while chit chatting with their friends and not noting or noticing anything.

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