We took the the bus from Areopolis back to Gythio, where we’d decided to spend a night on our way back to Athens. I’d imagined, given that it’s only a 15-20 minute trip, that there would be plenty of buses. I was mistaken. We ended up sitting at the tiny little bus station for almost two hours waiting for a bus!
Gythio [Yee-theo] is a charming port town, and I’d booked us a hotel – Hotel Aktaion- for the night that said it had waterfront views. And did it ever! It was just around the corner from the bus stop, right on the waterfront, and we even had a little balcony that overlooked the water. It was a spectacular location. I think I did quite well in finding accommodation in Greece – everywhere we stayed was lovely, and fairly cheap for two people. The view was just beautiful from our little balcony, and we took advantage of this for sunrise the next morning.
We didn’t have any particular plans for Gythio – it was more about relaxing and enjoying the view. Both Mother and I love boats, and so we wandered along the waterfront, exploring the piers and the little town. We met an older British couple with a decked-out camper van, who had been travelling all through Europe. They’d parked their home out on one of the piers, noting that while the view was great they’d been woken up far too early by the fishing boats going out before sunrise!
There are a number of ‘sights’ to see in Gythio, like the ancient theatre and the archaeological museum, but we were more interested in enjoying the feel of the town than sightseeing. Sometimes it’s more enjoyable to just be, rather than be doing things.
Being the middle of winter there wasn’t too much activity. It didn’t feel like a touristy town. Little restaurants line the main street, with tables and chairs set up across the road right up to the water. All were empty, lonely table settings and blowing umbrellas just waiting for someone to sit down. In the end we got talked into one of the restaurants by an older man with a booming voice and, clearly, plenty of practice getting people into the restaurant. I ordered lamb, and Mum ordered some kind of fish that the owner recommends. She was expecting a nice big fat juicy fish, or a fillet, but what arrived wasn’t quite that. It was a giant plate of fried tiny fish, heads and bones and all, and she didn’t look too enthused. Apparently they were very crunchy. I’m not a big fan of fish in general, and while I’m well aware that the meat I eat comes from animals, I don’t like to eat things that still look like that animal – even if they’re fish. I think it’s mostly about the eyes, and how they seem to watch and condemn you.
She did eat them though.
We had a great time just meandering around the bay and checking out the little boats. Mum spotted an old motorbike outside a shop and decided she wanted to go for a ride. Thankfully it clearly hadn’t worked in a long time, or I imagine she’d have ended up in the water.
As it grew late, the weather turned and we watched a storm roll in through the windows of a little restaurant where we sat enjoying hot chocolates to keep us warm. As the storm passed we ventured outside, and the combination of the wave crashing against the pavements, the old fashioned streetlights and the rocking boats moored just below our feet was marvellous.
Back at the hotel, Mother decided that it would be a good time to sort through all the souvenirs and gifts she’d purchased so far. She kept insisting that she really hadn’t bought much at all. I’ll leave that to you to decide.
I should say that a lot more shopping was done before she went home – so much that I genuinely could not lift her backpack.
We awoke early the next morning as we had a long bus trip to Athens awaiting us before flying out that afternoon. I’m not really a morning person – I don’t know many people who genuinely enjoy being awake at the crack of dawn – but I was very pleased that we were up before sunrise that morning.
We didn’t even spend 24 hours in Gythio, and yet it’s a place that both Mum and I have very fond memories of. Somehow, despite the rain, everything there came together beautifully for us. There was just something special about it.