We drove to Pylos, had a fantastic morning/early afternoon at the Neokastro (new castle), explored the town a bit and then drove on to Nestor’s palace via Gialova, both of which are further up the coast.
The Neokastro has amazing views over Voidokilia and the rocky coastline, also some good museums within the museum, and an impressive basilica built on the site of the original Ottoman mosque, so it looks like a cross between, outside, the Agia Sophia in Istanbul and, inside, a typical Greek Orthodox church with icons and paintings of the four Gospel writers, and other Biblical characters.
The castle has a hexagonal inner area where you can walk along the ramparts, again with fine views over the bay, and a wider area with a museum of underwater archaeology, information about the southern Peleponnese shipwrecks, and the extensive archaeological museum with masses of pottery from the ancient site.
When we arrived, the site was very peaceful, but shortly after getting there, a group of French tourists descended on the place. I have never thought of the French as being loud, but these tourists really were, marauding rather than walking.
After this, we went into Pylos itself. It has a slightly upmarket feel to it, and the restaurants look good. We didn’t want to stay long, our main aim being to send a good luck card for Luke’s exams. Unlike in England, the Taxidromio still exists as a separate entity in the town, although others we have visited were shut.
Pylos has a big square in the town centre for coffee en plein air, so it would be worth going back. But we wanted to go on to Nestor’s Palace, so maybe next time.
As we drove onwards to Nestor’s Palace, to the north of Pylos, the rain started to pour down and the streets immediately flooded with waves of reddish water. We stopped on the edge of a road, the rain heavier and heavier with the occasional rumble of thunder and bolts of lightning. When it eased up, we decided to find Gialova and try a restaurant there that had been recommended.
Elia turned out to be one of the best places we had eaten, also with a great selection of Greek wines from all over the country, and draught Mamos beer which tasted much nicer than the bottled Mythos that is served in most places. We had fennel pie and anchovies with cream cheese for starters, and then a garides (prawns) casserole and a beef stew for mains. All delicious.
The wine menu included a red by the Panagiotopoulos family winery. My former colleague Antonius gave me a bottle of this many years back, so I took a photo of the wine label and sent it off to him. I am still not quite sure if the winery is owned by his family, or whether her just has the same name.
Once again, despite the high quality of the food, the meal was no more expensive than those we had on the beachfront at Koroni. We paid around 50 Euros for everything, including tip.
Nestor’s Palace was worth the fuss around my lost ticket. Enough said about that.
We visited this years ago when the kids were with us, but I really don’t have much of a memory of it. Now, it has been done up with a raised walkway so you can look down on the various remains, including the crown room, the queen’s palace, the bath house including a tiny tub like bath made of clay, and extensive wine and food stores.
The whole site is protected from the elements by a roof that stretches above the raised walkways, and there is a nice shop nearby.
Very good information about all the site features in Greek and English signs, so it is well documented and you get a real feeling for what life would have been like in ancient times.
There is a Mycenean tholos tomb just down the road from Nestor’s palace, above the car park. This is about 15 meters high, and forms a perfect beehive shape. There are similar tombs all around this region, at Voidokilia, and also further south.