Travel Flashback: Kardamyli

For awhile last year, I was posting a look back at past travels every Wednesday. Life got in the way and I stopped doing it, but I figured I’d start back up again. Today’s post is from my graduation trip to Greece in the summer of 2008. You can find the rest of my Greece posts here.

Kardamyli, a tiny seaside town in Greece’s Mani region, will go down as one of the most delightful travel surprises of my life. I went there knowing absolutely nothing about the place, with zero expectations, and left with some of my most wonderful memories of Greece.

What I remember most about Kardamyli was how beautiful it was, especially since the town is just bursting with flowers. They were everywhere – from little gardens accompanying every home to bushes and trees filled with blooms to window boxes with flowers spilling over the sides. We arrived there in the late afternoon, and as my mom and I walked around the town, I stopped a million times to take flower photos. Everything was so gorgeous, and I simply couldn’t help myself:

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(The Esperides Hotel was where we stayed in Kardamyli…and yes, it too prominently featured flowers everywhere)

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On our first night, we had dinner at Lela’s Taverna, a wonderful little gem of a restaurant. It’s tucked right against the shore, so the views from every table are stunning. Particularly if you time your dinner so the sun sets when you’re there, you are in for a real treat.

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The “menu” at Lela’s is no more than a tiny chalkboard with that day’s options scribbled on it. That’s how I think you know this place is good – the menu changes based on what’s fresh that day, and there’s no mass-produced chain restaurant food nonsense going on.

kardamyli8And before the servers at Lela’s can get to clearing the tables, the friendly neighborhood cats are there to swoop in and lend a hand paw:

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On our second day in Kardamyli, we spent the morning hiking. We were headed to a church at the top of the path, but midway up we also found these lovely ruins:

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The views from the top were gorgeous, and well worth the climb:

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kardamyli15kardamyli16And on our way back down, we ran into this cow (oddly enough, I don’t recall running into any other humans on the trail!):

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After our hike, we headed back down into town for lunch at another restaurant located by the sea.

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While there, I took my all-time favorite food photograph which, considering the volume of food photographs I’ve taken over the years, is really saying something. But to me, this picture was all my favorite parts of Greek cuisine in a nutshell, particularly the delicious salads featuring gigantic slabs of the most wonderful feta you’ve ever tasted.

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In the afternoon, we took another walk around town (stopping for more flower photographs along the way, naturally):

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And that brought our time in fantastic Kardamyli to a close, as we left town the next morning. Like I mentioned before, Kardamyli was truly one of the unexpected highlights of Greece for me, and whenever I think back on our trip, it’s usually the place that comes to mind first.

(For more on Greece, be sure to check out my posts on Athens, Delphi, Kalavrita & Dimitsana, and Olympia)

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