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Greece Diros Caves – Kardamyli Then Messene Ruins

By Diros Caves - Greece

By Diros Caves – Greece

Post By Dave with [commentary in italics in brackets by Vicky]

The last day was just as packed as the first. We woke up early and made our way down the rocky slopes to Diros Caves – underground caves [of stalagmites and stalactites] through which they ferry across tourists. Vicky and I had been to similar caves [Lurray Caverns] once before, but never gone through them on a boat [- makes it even more mystical and enchanting, which unfortunately a photograph doesn’t even begin to convey].

Diros Caves - Greece

Diros Caves – Greece

When it was our turn to board, we put on life vests and climbed into the small ferry, large enough to hold about 6 people comfortably, and were on our way. The boatman gives a little tour, but in Greek, so we just sat back taking pictures and enjoying the view. After about 20 mins of ins and outs through the caves we had reached the other side and exited the boat, making our way to the nearby beach. This would be our last beach trip in Greece [tear, tear] so we relished it for all we could.

Diros Caves Beach - Greece

Diros Caves Beach – Greece

You can see our route. From the caves we made our way to Kardmyli [a picturesque village by the sea] for what was supposed to be a quick lunch but what turned out to be an all out campaign to locate this one particular restaurant V had her heart set on (it ended up being closed)[it wasn’t my fault – I didn’t know it wouldn’t be open for lunch!]. We settled for something simpler – souvlaki with tzaziki at a small taverna.

Tzaziki

Tzaziki

From there we drove to Messene where more ancient ruins awaited us [the GPS desperately tried to ruin our plans by failing to find ancient Messene, Ithomi (as it’s sometimes called) and Mavromati – the village right by the ancient ruins. Unwilling to give up we decided to follow the route to modern day Messini and there a local woman was able to point us in the right direction].

Messini Ruins - Messini Greece

Messini Ruins – Messini Greece

I think Vicky and I both [for once] agree that these may be the most underrated ruins in all of Greece [with the lack of sign posts for it I doubt many people even get here]. They’re strikingly well preserved, and the entrance is free.

Messini Ruins - Messini Greece

Messini Ruins – Messini Greece

The grounds are not crowded and are essentially free range as to where you can walk. I think the pictures tell the whole story better than I ever could.

More Messini Ruins - Messini Greece

More Messini Ruins – Messini Greece

With that we headed back to Athens. It would be a long trip and we were battling darkness. That said, it was mostly highway, where the only dangerous thing to worry about is cars whizzing by you at 160km/hr.

We didn’t quite make our time but we did alright, stopping to get some dinner on the way before finally getting to our Couch Surfer’s apt. [For our last meal in Greece we had gyro pitas and a Greek salad at a no frills taverna – simple, but delicious]

Greek Salad

Greek Salad

We were going to spend one night at a couch surfer’s place since our flight was so early in the morning and we didn’t want to get a hotel for such a short period [couchsurfing.org is a social networking site where you can contact people all over the world asking to stay at their places – all for free].

After dodging a few guard dogs [where we literally had to cross the street to get away from the vicious beast] we made our way in the darkness up to what we believed was his address. Now for the fun part, how would we get in, and how would we locate him? We didn’t have a phone, nor did we know the specific number of his apartment in the building. We improvised. We pressed all the buttons until someone buzzed us in, and someone did [the first person we buzzed]. From there, we walked up and down the floors hoping to find a name plate by the door, but finally a neighbor came out and led us to our couch surfer’s abode. Success. We arrived to meet Spirosargi who graciously welcomed us into his home [this was my first couch surfing experience]. It’s always a little strange when two couch surfers meet for the first time in person, but Spirosargi was a police officer (so he said) so there was no reason to feel unsafe.

We decided to go out for a drink to celebrate our last night, and in addition it would be a good medium for us to talk to Spirosargi and ask him all the questions we’ve been wondering throughout our trip. Up until now, we’ve only actually had minimal Greek contact. We grilled him with questions about society, greek mentality, food, whatever, and got a wonderful perspective from someone who was both a policeman as well as a student (somewhat conflicting identities at times). [We had asked him what the word ‘taxi’ means in Greek, as we had been hearing people constantly use this word  and could not believe that they were all actually looking for a cab. Turns out what we were hearing was ‘endaxi’ – the word for ok.  Well that explains the frequent usage. We also learned that even with a 700 euro fine for not wearing a seat belt the locals can’t be bothered. And that Spirosargi’s university classes haven’t started yet because the students are on strike – the government wants to make them pay for their own books, which are currently free. Now why haven’t US students thought of this?]

We got about 3 hrs of sleep that night and then went to the airport to drop off the car and catch our flight. One last hiccup before we took off, I locked the keys in the car [for those who don’t know him – this is typical D behavior.  The car rental agency specifically asked us to put the keys and parking ticket under the floor mat and leave the doors unlocked – obviously I should have been in charge of this]. Unfortunate but nothing to be done about it now[luckily we had taken all our bags out earlier]. We made our way home over the course of 16hrs and proceeded to rent Troy and 300 as our way of celebrating [correction – mourning] our return.

Road - Greece

Road – Greece

Post By Dave with [commentary in italics in brackets by Vicky]

Want to read more about our trip to Greece?
Day 1: Greece, Santorini – The Arrival and Finding Your Way
Day 2: Greece, Santorini – Volcano Tour and Hot Springs
Day 3: Greece, Santorini – Frolicking Through Fira
Day 4: Greece, Athens – Conquering The Capital
Day 5: Greece, Athens – More Monuments!
Day 6: Greece, Corinth – Making Our Way To Mycenae, Argos And Nafplio
Day 7: Greece, Sparta – This is Sparta! (And Mystras)
Day 8: Greece Kardamyli – First Diros Caves, Then Messene Ruins

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