I’m still not sure if the Taygetus mountains of the Mani Peninsula are fact or figment, and I stared at this view for an entire week – at daybreak, at twilight, in sun and in storm. Real or not, these mountains beckoned. And I was entranced. Still am, when I look at the photos. They were taken from Harakopio (Peroulia Beach) in Kalamata, Greece, overlooking the Gulf of Messenia.
I’ve read my Patrick Leigh Fermor (Mani: Travel in the Southern Peloponnese) which sets off most beguilingly, penetrating on foot this all but impenetrable mountain peninsula (that until recent times scarcely had a road into the interior), but then, after some stunning episodes, the account digresses into convoluted regional history that this reader found more uphill-going than the near-vertical terrain. Still, it’s a book worth tackling for the magical inside-Mani experiences. It truly is.
But if the mountains have long kept people out, then it’s a different story for the coastal foothills. Some settlements along the shore, accessible only by sea, have been occupied since Mycenaean times, i.e. the Ancient Greek Bronze Age (c1750-1000 BCE). If you squint, you can see signs of humanity in the first photo.
But that’s enough of the prosaic. These scenes are just for dreaming.
Lens-Artists: the mountains are calling This week Amy sets the challenge.