After leaving Voidokilia Beach I headed for the first of my two visits to Pylos. As I approached it, the view of the harbour, marina and Navarino bay opened up. Little did I know at this point how much Pylos would come to resonate with me.
I stayed on the marina; in Greece it seems possible to park almost anywhere for free. Staying on marinas a few metres from the sea and town or on a completely isolated beach, is next to impossible in some other European countries. But here, anything seems possible and this adds to its charm.
The views, from where I spend a number of days were simply amazing. Sitting in a bar next to the marina, with a cold beer is the perfect way to spend an hour or two. Of course, it was almost rude not to go for a swim when it got too warm.
Pylos overlooks Navarino bay, which is known for the naval battle in 1827, where the navies of Britain, France and Russia fought against those of the Ottoman Empire and their Egyptian allies. The defeat of the Ottoman navy was significant to Greece gaining its independence.
Whilst you will no longer see 19th Century warships at harbour in the bay, you will see many yachts and sailing ships that frequent this beautiful region of the Peloponnese.
Above Pylos is Niokastron castle, it is situated to the opposite end of the bay to Old Navarino castle (see Voidakilia). I payed €6 to visit the castle; apart from the the Church of the Metamorphosis and General Maison’s building it is mostly in ruins. Although it is possible to walk most of the ramparts, from which, one can take in the marvelous views of Pylos and Navarino bay. It was here that I had a chance encounter with a Greek lady from Macedonia (not to be confused with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)), who was doing the reverse trip to me. We chatted for a while, sharing our travel stories; I love the Greeks, they are so warm and welcoming.
One thing to be aware of when visiting ancient sites is shiny stone flooring, which more often than not, are ascending / descending at steep angles. The stones have been polished by the sheer number of visitors and are very slippy. Exiting Niokastron castle, I slipped and almost went down with a bang. I’m sure many people have been caught out and hurt themselves in the process.
My second visit to Pylos was born out of necessity and maybe the desire to see this lovely town a second time. I wanted to head north to Kalavryta, but with a storm due, I decided to stay in the south for a few extra days and wait it out, the storm did come and what a light show I experienced.
It was during this time that met Colin, a retired building contractor, who was starting a 3 month tour of Greece. We clicked immediately and spend the next 2 days in each other’s company. I love that it is possible to meet and connect with different types of people, if we are willing to open ourselves up to the opportunity.
My visits to Pylos was not without mixed emotions, if this were Italy or France, you wouldn’t be able to move for tourists, but whilst they are here, for some reason this part of Greece was not teeming with them. Pylos is everything places like St Tropez should be, but aren’t. There are many bars and restaurants here, all at reasonable prices. The people here depend on tourism, surely, the near deserted bars and restaurants isn’t sustainable. I wish more people would come and experience some of the most beautiful people I have had the pleasure of meeting. They deserve to make their livelihoods doing what they do best, making tourists feel welcome. I was starting to think of Greece in an entirely new way, it felt like the start of a holiday romance…