When you return home after an holiday and after turning the key to your front door; the moment you enter, you are embraced by the feeling of being home. Some places we have never before been, provide that very same feeling the first time we visit. For me Monemvasia felt like home the moment I crossed the causeway to the car park. Monemvasia is an island, broke away from the mainland in 375 AD and remained separated until the causeway was built in the 6th Century.
After crossing the causeway, it is a 5 minute walk from the car park to the entrance of Monemvasia, don’t be tempted to drive too far up the road as it leads to a dead end. Monemvasia has no roads inside the town walls. The town is built on two levels, the upper town built on a rock reaching some 350 metres above sea level and the Lower Town. The lower town has been beautifully restored, the narrow streets lead to the many bars, restaurants and hotels situated here. I thoroughly enjoyed getting lost among these narrow streets.
During my time in Greece, I wanted to spend money in each of the places I visited. I always bought a fridge magnet, often more than one and I usually stopped somewhere for refreshments, even though I had a fridge full of cold drinks in the motorhome. In the Lower Town, approach a restaurant and asked if they served just drinks, I was taken aback when the person who appeared to be the maitre’d, said no and proceeded to turn his back on me. It was the first and only time during my trip that a experienced this behaviour, but it didn’t change the warm affection that I have the the Greek people. In fairness, in the bar that was willing to serve me, I was approached by a couple of birds, unfortunately, their interest was in the complimentary crisps on my table.
There is zig zag passageway that works its way up to the Tower Gate of the Upper Town. It’s not a particularly difficult walk, but the stones can be quite slippery. On my descent, this kind lady decided to water her plants, which gave the wet slippery stones added vigour to see me land on my bum. I don’t know how many times I have slipped, but my balance seems up to the challenge.
The Upper Town is in ruins, apart from the 13th Century Agia Sofia Church. There isn’t a great deal to see, except the views which are amazing. In past times the Upper Town was one of the most densely populated areas of the Peloponnese, a reputed 50,000 people lived in Monemvasia at the height of its power, the last person left the Upper Town in 1911.
I would definitely return to Monemvasia, it was one of the highlights of my trip.