Monemvasia, The Big Rock

In my twenty-odd years of driving I’ve never seen so many people casually driving down the middle of narrow roads, at speed, on a blind corner. It’s utterly fucking terrifying. Greek drivers are maniacs. I’ve been crawling around the hairpin bends, we’ve met so many drivers coming the other way and they don’t even try for their brakes. They just violently swerve back to their side of the road. We had two very near misses today on the mountain roads between Monemvasia and Leonidio, if I was driving like they were there’s no way there wouldn’t have been a head-on collision. Several of my nerves are currently shattered and spread out around the corners. At least they have a lovely mountain view.

Dimitrios Shipwreck

Anyway! I’ve got a beer in my hand so let me tell you all about our day whilst my heart rate returns to normal. We very reluctantly tore ourselves away from the wonderful Camping Gythion Bay to head east. What an absolutely glorious campsite. No way would we be able to afford a hotel right by the beach with a swimming pool, but a campsite? Shut up and take my money! But not too much money. I’m not a fucking millionaire and the government just drove our currency off a cliff.

The really quite imposing rock of Monemvasia.

We weren’t a huge distance out of Gythio, casually driving along the coast as you do, when Tarrant spotted a rusting hulk of a shipwreck resting on a beach. I fucking love a wreck and this one was a thing of absolute beauty. I wasn’t content with gawping at it from a viewpoint either so we drove down to a carpark and waddled onto the beach. It’s quite hard to walk purposefully along sand isn’t it? It does unpleasant things to your calf muscles. Tarrant gave up halfway to the wreck but I persevered and I’m glad I did. I feel like it took half my fucking life to get there though and when I turned around to walk back I did question a few life choices as my shoes filled with tiny particles of evil which took up residence between my toes.

So our actual destination for this morning was Monemvasia. I’d read that it was worth a look and this was confirmed by a couple at the campsite but I didn’t know what it was beyond a fuck off great big rock attached to the mainland via a causeway. Turns out its exactly that, but oh my, what a striking rock! It’s very, very there. If you walk to the far end of the rock there’s a village and it’s fabulous. You can walk around the whole island, and you can probably walk all the way up to the walls you can see on the top, but it was roughly 1000°C give or take so we decided to just meander around the town.

It’s old, I’m not sure how old but it’s definitely really fucking old and there are Byzantine churches all over the place. Because of course there are. We stopped for a freddo with a view before having more of a wander. I think if I were to do this again I’d try and get here really early in the morning before the air became lava so we could explore the higher places without taking liquid form. An older woman told us it was relatively easy to circumnavigate the island but I fear my brain would have boiled in my skull.

We strolled until we were satisfied with the level of strolling achieved then headed back to Gefyra, the town at the other end of the causeway, in search of gyros. We’d basically just been shovelling as much gyros into our chops as possible recently. When we first got to Greece we were making sandwiches for lunch to save money but we’d eaten so many sandwiches on our ridiculously stupidly massive hike that sandwiches made us sad. I couldn’t look at another fucking sandwich. Gyros however, I could eat that shit until they had to roll me out of the restaurant.

That was pretty much all we had planned for the day. I’m really into this minimal activity thing we’ve got going on. Usually I’ll try and pack so much into a day that we’re anything but relaxed by the end of it and have to take three days off to recover. We made our way to Plaka near Leonidio via the near death mentioned in the first paragraph, pitched up at a campsite and headed to the beach.

The last few days have been so fucking hot. Like, really muggy and oppressive but it was starting to cool down this evening. The wind was picking up, a bar we went to were packing down their beach umbrellas for the season. The nights recently have been cool enough to sleep which has been amazing but I think the days are going to start matching soon. Might need to get my hoody out and everything.

I could get a bit too used to ending my days like this.

In other news, we’ve definitely had some manner of kitten related incident with the tent. To be fair I’m surprised it hasn’t happened sooner given the sheer quantity of tiny balls of fur and knives we’ve encountered at campsites. There’s a bit of damage up one corner and two pin-prick holes in the top. It’s not the end of the world, we’ve had a lot of issues with durability with this tent, I wouldn’t recommend a Kuiu Mountain Star 2P for regular use at all, and we have a Naturehike which is fine for campsite camping. But I think the moral here is, if you’re emotionally attached to your very expensive ultralight backpacking tent, don’t bring it to Greece.

Jump to “Useful shit to know…”

Monemvasia, Peloponnese, Greece / Μονεμβασιά, Πελοπόννησος, Ελλάδα

Stayed at: Camping Semeli, Plaka Leonidio

Camping Semeli. I forgot to take a photo of the campsite but they also own these sunbeds on the beach. It’s a nice enough campsite albeit a bit noisy. There’s a cooking area with tables to eat at for campers which is always a nice touch when you’re in a tent. The facilities are clean with hot showers. Can’t really fault it and it’s the cheapest campsite we’ve stayed at so far, though that could be something to do with the season.

Useful shit to know…

  • There’s parking near Monemvasia by the water at Gefyra. Or you can drive over the causeway and there’s parking on the other side too. It’s all free.

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