Posted by: anniskaliakoto | 22 August 2012

Artists’ Open Studios

My artist friend Emily Faludy is a London escapee to this region; it’s a big step moving from the big smoke to rural Greece and we bonded immediately.  Emily used to work for Dulwich Picture Gallery in south east London but now has her own studio in a little village, Platsa, not far from us.

Since her arrival, she has met other artists and came up with the idea of an Artists’ Open Studios weekend – a chance for people to meet the local artists in situ.   It’s a great idea and if it’s a success, Emily hopes to hold more of these events.  We’ll definitely be encouraging our guests to visit Emily’s studio as she has some wonderful paintings of the area – a painter’s paradise……

Artists’ Open Studio

Posted by: anniskaliakoto | 4 August 2012

Ilia’s Name Day

It was Ilia’s Name’s Day on 20th July – so we decided to celebrate by escaping the heat and heading into the Vasiliki forest in the Taygetos mountains for a couple of days. There is a good road up to Saidona but after that the journey requires a four wheel drive – or sturdy truck; consequently most tourists don’t get to visit this area, so it’s largely reserved for locals (who are happy to keep it that way).

We set up camp just off the ‘road’ and promptly set up a mini home – Ilia put up a couple of hammocks just under the trees, so we had shade. At night, away from any light pollution, it was an amazing experience to lie there looking up at the night sky; we have a Night Sky app on our phones – so were able to identify the constellations and planets.

I thought I was doing quite well in embracing the great outdoors until the local goatherd, Nikos, told us to leave a light on overnight to ward off the wild boars! I woke in the early hours to a herd of goats staring at us from a crag a few yards above our hammocks, stock still and silhouetted against the early morning light; relieved that it wasn’t a wild boar attack I just stared back whilst mentally congratulating ourselves on having packed away all the foodstuff in the car before we went to sleep. After a while, the goats got bored and headed off and peace was resumed at base camp.

In the mornings, we would walk a couple of kilometres to fill up our water bottles at the local well and even found a remote Fireman’s lookout point which we climbed and were rewarded with the most spectacular views of the peak of Taygetos.

I can’t account for it, but time just flew by – we didn’t miss our mobile signal, emails or any of the trappings of the 21st century ‘mod cons’; before we knew it, we were packing up and heading back down to the thriving metropolis of Kardamyli (well, hardly, but it seemed liked it after the mountains).

A really special trip – and one we’ll be repeating as soon as possible.

Base camp. Husband is a grown-up boy scout, so we were incredibly well organised and wanted for nothing.
(Note inclusion of picnic table!)

Our view – at night the sky was littered with stars – an amazing sight.

Sitting here on the first night we were mobbed by about 200 goats, kids and billies ! Saved from them by Nikos and his family (wife Giorgia and 3 year old son Ilia) who herd the animals and gave us the low-down on how smart the goats are.

No Greek mountain scene would be complete without goats.

Not sure if Nikos was just having a laugh but he left the goats on the hill next to us on the second night to keep us company through the small hours. I can tell you being woken up by a few hundred goats milling around our foodstuffs at 3am was a bit of a shock!

Nikos – one of the goatherds.

Thistles are thriving in the mountains now – the bumble bees are EVERYWHERE.

Fireman’s lookout hut – we climbed up to see the view.

The view: Taygetos Peak with Vasiliki forest in all her splendour.

The view: Taygetos Peak with Vasiliki forest in all her splendour.

Posted by: anniskaliakoto | 29 May 2012

Newspaper Article

A couple of weeks ago we were delighted to have the lovely Dymphna Byrne stay with us.

Dymphna, a travel writer, who has been a repeat visitor to Stoupa for many years, decided to join us here in Liakoto for a couple of days in order to sample some of Kardamyli’s local pursuits.

As you can see from her article, which was published in The Mail on Sunday (27 May 2012), she found everything in the area just as it’s always been.

Despite news coverage to contrary, she affirms that the Greeks are still as welcoming as ever to guests visiting this beautiful country.

Forget the Greek crisis – you’ll still get a warm welcome in the land of Zeus

Posted by: anniskaliakoto | 22 May 2012

Dolphins near Kardamyli

Ilia, my husband, is a very keen diver – and here in Kardamyli all he has to do is get kitted up and jump in the sea.   The other day he was out in the bay with a couple of other divers and they were lucky enough to encounter some dolphins – in fact a pod of up to 100.

The dolphins followed the boat for quite some and Ilia jumped in to play – they kept their distance from him but a couple of these amazing creatures came to within 5 – 6 metres of him.    He said it was an experience of a lifetime – they managed to catch some footage of the dolphins following the boat.

Posted by: anniskaliakoto | 25 April 2012

Springtime in Mani

Springtime in Mani is magical – the area is carpeted with flowers and here, in Liakoto, the house martins that returned from Africa have started building their nests in the corners of our sea front balconies; I commend their choice of location – it’s a fabulous view!

The main calendar event during this period is Greek Easter – all the villagers go to church on Easter Saturday and light candles which they then take home and bless their houses – it’s a time of reflection and tradition. On Easter Sunday you wake up to the smell of meat cooking – everyone is roasting lamb on spits outside their houses and preparing for the festivities ahead; the Greeks love a good celebration and there’s plenty of dancing and singing into the evening.

Now Kardamyli is slowly coming to life after the winter and all the shop, taverna and hotel owners are busy cleaning their premises ready for the season ahead. There is a certain amount of anxiety about the forthcoming year – will the tourists visit? We hope so. The media portrays such a negative image but the reality is that despite the economic hardships, there is no discernible difference in what the visitor will find here: a warm welcome from the locals, stunning scenery that will take your breath away and a place of total peace and serenity that seems untouched by the freneticism of the 21st century.

So – what are you waiting for? Book your flights now…..

Villagers outside the church on Easter Saturday

My personal favourite sign of Spring....

....Judas tree which blossoms around Easter, heralding the warmer weather

View from the apartment bedroom balconies in Liakoto

All the rooms in Liakoto have sea front views....

....the martins build their nests overlooking this vista - smart birds