The Greece Kalamata Trip
Blogger Experience Greece (Kalamata)
One of the most interesting places we visited on this trip was the Art Farm. It’s a really unique place owned by Sotiris Marinis. He worked as a concert promoter in the city of Kalamata but decided to get out of the city and open this beautiful space. But what exactly is it? The Kalamata art farm is a lot of things. When Sotiris was younger his parents brought him out to spend his summers on the beach. They would build tree houses in the trees and sleep beside the beach for days on end. Sotiris missed this so he decided to make his own tree houses and then offer them out on air B&B.
At the art farm they have about 10 different tree houses built high up in olive trees. You can sleep up in the trees amidst the olives themselves. The space really is amazing though, it is not just used for accommodation. The whole area acts as a co-op space. The food is sourced locally and when you are there everyone meets up and cooks together. It’s not just unique accommodation, it’s a family. On the land there is also a gorgeous stage area that looks out on the Mediterranean Sea. Many performers love to perform there and in the summer months there are many concerts and performances in the evenings. They also engage in what is known as agricultural tourism and have many classes on teaching people how to re-connect with the food in front of their plate and learning how to grow crops in a natural way and without pesticides or chemicals. The beach is only 5km away and there is also a beautiful castle nearby if you’re up for the hike. Sotiris and the people who work at the Art Farm are truly an amazing bunch of people and there really is nothing like sleeping in a treehouse up in an olive tree. An absolute must see.
Ancient City of Messini
Going into this I knew very little about the Messini people but they sounded really interesting. They seemed to focus on athletic prowess over brute warrior strength, which the romans were very partial to. They fought the Spartans twice and then became slaves to them for a period. None of this would prepare me for what I was about to see in their ancient city. Its nestles in a valley that leads out to a peninsula and the place is absolutely astounding.
So many original artefacts lying in the same spot they lay thousands of years ago. We initially saw their old theatre where they would put on performances and plays. There was also a smaller amphitheatre that was used for speeches and political discussion. the beautiful thing about this amphitheatre is that the mountains behind acted as a natural amplification for the speaker. It was fascinating. There was also a market place which had ornate carvings on the walls depicting animal heads. The mosaic tiles on the ground were still lvisible. You could still see the leaf patterns carved into the massive stone columns.
We continued on further until we came to the most visually stunning part of the experience, the Stadion (stadium). It was a massive area where the Messenia people would sit and view their ancient games. It was stunning, walking through history. We then left the museum and drove over to see the remnants of the massive wall that surrounded and protected the city. Here was more private and we had the place all to ourselves. We sat on the wall and watched the sun set over the Greek mountains. Our last stop before dinner was the gate to the city. These massive stone slabs parted and acted as the gateway from present to past. Goats with bells around their neck clinked in the distance. A couple had arrived to take their wedding pictures here. It was so serene, a beautiful place to drink in.
It’s hard to fully comprehend exactly how old ancient Greece is. They have tombs here that date back to 4000BC. They are discovering new things every day. The amazing thing is that the link between past and present is still very visible. It is a line that has never ended. The products that have been found in tombs from thousands of years ago are the same one still found in shops today. Nestor’s Palace and the nearby tomb are two excellent examples of this. The tomb, located beside the palace was built in a beehive shape, which is quite similar to the ancient tomb of Ireland. When making raisins, Greek farmers would pick the grapes and then leave them up against the wall of the tomb to dry out.
The everyday life of the common people is incredibly connected to ancient life to this very day. A giant warrior was discovered outside this tomb in 2015 and excavations by American Universities are continuing today. The tomb dates back to the Minoan age. The Minoans are a civilisation shrouded in mystery and were a very affluent society that traded a lot with other nations. The strange thing about the Minoans was that they, unlike the Messini people, seemed to be a peaceful nation and none of their paintings depict warfare. But they just suddenly disappeared and no one knows why.
Nestor’s palace is on a hill and overlooks Pylos and dates back to the Mycenaean age but may actually be older. When we got there it was a really hot day but we were struck with awe at the beautiful view that the occupants of this house must have had. The palace was originally two stories high but after six thousand years only the first floor remains. The palace is still in the process of being excavated but you can still walk around and see what it looks like from above. You can still see the paint on the floor of the kings hearth, there is a fully intact clay bathtub that showed me how short a lot of Greek people were 4000 years ago. You could also see the remains of olive pots and where the people stored their olive oil.
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