After my adventures with the bus system in Greece, I was happy to settle in one place (even if it was only for two nights). I ended up staying in a nice hotel (if a little outdated) that had a great view of the water – and not just the pouring rain. When I checked into the hotel, the receptionist was taking my passport when she saw my visa from my visit to Zambia last year and was very excited. Turns out, the owner of the hotel lived in Africa for almost 40 years – including more than 15 in Zambia.
After I found this out, I noticed that the fabric decorating my room was, in fact, chitenge. Also in the dining room interspersed between naval scenes, were paintings depicting rural life in Zambia. I took this coincidence as a great sign for my stay in Pylos – despite the rain. Visiting seaside villages in the off-season can be great – the room was cheap and the first night I was literally the only guest in the hotel; however, there is a reason that people don’t visit these places during that time of year. In this case, it was because in the roughly 40 hours I was, there it rained (I mean poured) for roughly 35 of them.
Pylos is located on Navarino Bay, one of the largest natural harbors in Greece. Navarino Bay was the site of one of the most decisive battles during the Greek War of Independence, a naval battle known as the Battle of Navarino. It was in 1827 when the allied forces of Britain, France and Russia defeated (almost totally destroying) a much larger Ottoman armada with boats from Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Turkey. The intent at the time wasn’t to have a huge battle, but instead to persuade the Turks to leave. As Lonely Planet puts it, “things got somewhat out of hand.” Apparently when he heard about the battle, the King of England, George IV was embarrassed and called it a ‘deplorable misunderstanding.’ I visited the Rene Puaux Museum that houses paintings, engravings, and artifacts from this battle. I was also the only one there. Puaux was a French journalist and philhellene (a lover of Greeks and Greek culture) and the museum is very interesting.
I decided that a day trip to Methoni would be enough to see the castle and check out the town. I took the bus from Pylos to Methoni (about 30 minutes), leaving as the rain looked to be clearing up and returned four hours later under a threatening sky. While I was in Methoni, the weather cooperated as I explored the Methoni Castle. I’m not going to lie, this visit was prompted by this pin on Pinterest. Instead of cute crafts or fancy food, I can now say I use Pinterest to plan trips. The Methoni Castle was built by the Venetians in the early 13th Century.
The Methoni Castle has two parts – the main castle and an octagonal tower that juts out into the sea, known as the bourtzi. This tower was used as a watchtower, lighthouse and a last resort safe haven in case of siege. People in Methoni had experience with sieges, with control of the town and the castle being passed back and forth between the Venetians and the Ottomans. Besides the castle, Methoni has some great beaches and great seafood. After a few hours in Methoni, it was time to head back to Pylos – where it rained all afternoon and night.
The next morning, I had a little time before catching my next bus so I checked out the castle in Pylos town. This was a bit of a disappointment as it could be really great, with an amazing view but instead is totally overgrown, filled with trash and used as a garage to store wagons, tractors, and other farm equipment. After that short trip, I headed out to Nafplio via Kalamata and Corinth.