Regular Slow Cyclist Jan Gillon recently returned from an adventure with us in the Mani. Here she writes about her highlights.
Our recent journey to the Mani was our third with The Slow Cyclist. The landscape was quite different from previous trips, very mountainous and dry, but at times we hugged the beautiful coastline allowing plenty of opportunity to swim in the unbelievably clear water. What wasn’t different was the attention to detail, the care taken by the hostess and guides to ensure all our needs were taken care of, and the quality of the food and accommodation, which of course respected local tradition and used local produce. The e bikes were excellent as well.
Different too was staying in only two places, one very old boutique hotel on a hill above the coast with quirky rooms, a wonderful terrace and fabulous food. By contrast our villa at the coast was only two minutes walk from a stunning beach. Comprising three modern buildings and a large pool, here we were treated to catered breakfasts and our last dinner.
The highlight for us was the day we cycled between the two, about 70 kms. Some of our party were not too keen to do that distance on a bike so a very tempting alternative was suggested. After a pleasant ride our first stop was in the historic town where the local Spartans first rebelled against their Ottaman rulers, eventually leading to a unified Greek state. In case we were hungry after all this history, we were offered delicious club sandwiches while we cooled down in the shade. A short ride through olive groves took us to a quay, both great to swim from but also where the majority jumped onto a motor launch that took them along the coast, allowing them to jump into the aquamarine water on the way.
Meanwhile the rest of us climbed out of the bay and with a last photo, cycled inland via a tasty bakery followed by an ancient church and a surprising amphitheatre. Great variety! We met up with the others for a mid afternoon meal, delicious and plentiful as usual, before we all enjoyed a gentle ride along a coastal path to our villa in Kardamyli. After a reviving swim, none of us were really hungry but of course drinks and snacks were still provided! Everyone agreed they’d had a wonderful day and enjoyed the journey in a way that suited them.
It goes without saying that our hostess, Jess, was an absolute delight; so keen to share her love for the area and always on hand with an iced towel when needed. In addition our Athenian cycle guide and our local Spartan guide provided entertaining verbal sparring as well as an informed narrative on the warring local tribes and why there are so many towers in the hilltop villages, now sadly abandoned. All these elements, along with other typical Slow Cyclist details, made for another great trip, not to be missed.