Greece

Mesmerising Monemvasia

 Wow … old town Monemvasia took us unawares. Beautiful winding, cobbled streets with spectacular quaint dwellings, views of the fortified, towering hills and sparkling coastlines. What else can we say – it was an unexpected pleasure. Just awe inspiring!  

As we approached the new part of Monemvasia we could see the small, but commanding island where the old town is situated. The island is connected to the mainland by a 200m causeway and we had our pick of parks within a 100m radius and chose a big, quiet empty carpark (coordinates N36.6885 E23.036638). Scooting around outside of the busy tourist season has its benefits! Usually, we jump out and have a little look around but as I was expecting a very important international call (I was a guest on a talk back radio show), we stayed in the van and chilled. We’d investigate the town the following day.

A street sign to Monemvasia with the ocean and the island in the background
The old town of Monemvasia clings to the coastline on the island (in the photo background)

So, the important call was from Danny; one of my three sons, who is a radio presenter in Australia. He was apparently doing a small segment about travelling and wanted to ask me a few questions for his listeners. I was nervous as it was apparently going to be live!

A picture of the radio presenter Danny Lakey He is wearing a teeshirt witha black blob in the middle and a green cap over his long black hair.
Danny Lakey – National Radio Presenter

My mobile rang and the pit of my stomach lurched … it was a test call from the show’s producer checking that the line was ok and he told me that the live call would be coming in about 45 seconds. That’s when my mind kind of went blank and I could barely remember where I was!

After a long 45 seconds the phone rang and Danny was saying “Hi mum” – I responded with my usual “Hi honey, how are you?,” when he announced I was already live on the radio …second stomach lurch!

What he did next was …, some might say, down right mean!

He announced that this was a special part of the show where they get someone on air – under false pretence – and then just leave them on live for a whole two minutes to talk about whatever they could to fill the time! I obviously thought he was joking … until he said “Right you’re live mum – we are leaving the studio for two minutes”.

It was live. It did happen and I still can’t believe my son did that to me!! I have forgiven him though – love hey?

Here’s the audio link of how it all went down:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1VY-JgvWzNDCtya7uKhiDolycpGcGH4Rg

The next morning, we began our walk across to the island and just short of the causeway we discovered the ‘Awarded Beach’. Only a portion of it was awarded though – as marked by the signs! Our best guess was that it had most likely won this accolade because it was remarkably clean of litter. We cannot really say the same for many of the other beaches we have been to in Europe – guess we might be a bit spoilt coming from Australia. (It’s a good job that brick in the photo below has been placed on the non-awarded side!)

Pristine 'awarded' beach on the mainland side overlooking Monemvasia old town
End of the Awarded Beach!

We then crossed the 200m long causeway to the island. Monemvasia means ‘single passage’; its name derives from the fact that a single passageway linked it to the mainland. The island originally formed when an earthquake struck in 375 AD separating it from the mainland.

2 lane causeway with stone fendering linking the mainland to old town Monemvasia
Walking across the 200m causeway to the old town of Monemvasia

There is a short walk around  the side of the island before you come to the ancient walls of the town. Stepping through the town’s castle wall entrance, you immediately feel like you are in a fairytale scene. As you stroll through the old, cobbled streets and arched passageways there are little nooks and crannies everywhere to capture your eye. Occasionally you catch a glimpse of the ocean through little doorways, and always with the perpetual towering hills watching us from above – I have to say this is one of the nicest little medieval towns we have visited. It helps travelling in the winter season as there aren’t so many tourists and we pretty much had the place to ourselves. The weather was spot on too!

 

Monemvasia's old town cobble stoned passageways and steps lined with green pot plants
Beautiful little passageways are around every corner

 

Beautiful autumn colours from the trees on Monemvasia's old town streets
Monemvasia Old Town Street

We often see stray cats and dogs on our travels, which is especially the case in Eastern Europe; but there are often kind-hearted persons about who offer them some food. The cats here were keen to stir from their spot in the sun for a little pet.

On Monemvasia's old town streets the strays always get our love
Stray cat greeting us along the way

 

Monemvasia's old town main square with old churches, cannon and fantastic mountain views
The central square with a cannon pointing out to sea and the nearby Church of Elkomenos Christos. You have a great view to other parts of the old town from here.

 

old fortifications built on the hills surrounding Monemvasia
The end of the old town where the old fortress walls still enclose it.

Being blessed with a beautiful sunny day, made the island even more enticing. After spending a while peering down alleyways and climbing old cobbled steps, we headed back to the mainland.

Monemvasia causeway looking from old town Monemvasia across the causeway to the mainland new town
The view of the new town from the island.

We would have to say Monemvasia is definitely a ‘must see’ when visiting Greece.

Late afternoon, we left this magical place behind us and began the next part of our journey. Our next few days were filled with canons and castles, goats and greek mythology, olive trees and ocean. We were headed towards Nafplio.

Michelle

Author: Michelle

After finishing my Law Degree I decided to become a teacher. I am passionate about teaching, learning and most of all, about inspiring others. Now, as a writer and blogger, I love sharing our travels and our musings on life’s journey. I hope, through these, we can play a part in inspiring you to do whatever ‘satisfies your soul’.

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