Pylos is a beautiful little town on the west end of the Peloponese and our visit there had to be short because of the adventures of the previous day. We arrived late in the afternoon and settled in the hotel Karali. Our room was spacious with a small balcony overlooking the serene water and the islets that engulf the waters in front of the town.
We had plenty of time to relax for the afternoon though, and we went for a leisurely walk around the narrow streets of Pylos. The sun had settled on the horizon before we were seated in a taverna by the water for dinner. Fish and local wine was a very appropriate choice, and since our table was set just one foot from the water, our little girls had a blast feeding our bread to the large fish that had gathered and slithered just below the surface of the sea waiting to be fed. The rest of our night was spent relaxing in the town square which had transformed itself into a major activity hub as a large population of children played in the open space while their parents kept a watchfull eye from the perimeter until well after midnight.
The next day after breakfast we packed our car and drove to the town of Methoni. We had fueled our children's imagination with stories about the castle of Methoni so we were anxious to see it. The drive from Pylos to Methoni took only twenty minutes giving us ample time to go through the castle. Entrance to the castle was free due to some construction work. The sun was relentless though, and once inside the castle grounds there was no shelter to be found anywhere. After an hour of exploring the ruins and imagining the past, we headed for the nearby beach which is adjacent to the castle. The cool water was a welcome relief from the heat, and the gentle slope of the sandy bottom allowed our children to play safely inside the water for a few hours.
Around noon time we hopped in the car and drove towards Koroni. We always tried to put a good two hour drive together everyday for the entire trip so our children could get some sleep in the car. The only drawback was that their nap time tended to coincide with the hottest hours of the day, so we always packed lots of fluids in our cooler, and by early afternoon we had a swimming activity planned. We reached Koroni around 2:00 pm and we found another restaurant by the water to have lunch. We then drove to Vasilisi where we found a very nice sandy beach to swim for the afternoon before we headed out towards the middle peninsula and the rugged Mani region.
It is amazing how a whole day can pass simply by driving from one place to the next. Our trip to Areopolis in Mani seemed to be the longest yet. The road took us through some spectacular landscapes, though as we ascended rugged mountains we lost site of the ocean for a long time. The villages were small and completely isolated in remote mountain peeks, and the stone houses with distinctive towers gave the place a unique character and identity. We reached our hotel (Oitilo) near the fishing town of Limenio late in the afternoon and we settled in a beautiful traditional stone guest house across across the road from the main hotel building. We were not very impressed with the beach in front of the hotel because of the large boulders that lined its bottom, and because the water quality seemed less than ideal. Further down the road the water was clear and inviting inside the town of Limenio. Our hotel housed a great restaurant though, and its kitchen produced the best grilled octopus I 've had to date. This was our base for two days as we explored the lower Mani region and visited the famous Diros caverns.