Big Greek Wedding in Greece: Trip to Gythio, Mystras, and Ouzo

Introduction
Flight and Athens
The Acropolis
Athens Protest 2011 and Mount Lycabettus
Acropolis Museum
Trip to Gythio, Mystras, and Ouzo
Monemvasia – a fortress you can live in
Diros Caves near Gythio and Night-Before Dinner/Antics
Back to Athens and homeward bound

July 2011:

After the museum yesterday, I met up with a few other wedding guests in Gazi for dinner. There is a good collection of restaurant, bars and nightclubs there. After dinner, we went to a bar for a few drinks before planning our trip down to Gythio.

I found out that the correct bus station to go to is the Kifisou Avenue Bus station:


I had the concierge (surprised that my hotel even had one, yea it was that sketchy) call a taxi for me to go to this bus station. I was tracking the taxi the entire time and made it there in about 15 minutes. I found the ticket booth to get the ticket. Each booth sells tickets for each line. They may be different companies that runs one or a few routes.

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I saw the other guests and off we went down to Gythio. It was about a four hour bus ride. I was also checking the progress on my phone.

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After a short transfer to another bus, we got to Gythio. We found the hotel pretty easily and went out to the balconies for the view:

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The bride and groom had arranged a series of trips and tours during the three days before the wedding. We parked near lower city of Mystras and hiked our way up to upper city and the citadel. Below are some pictures of lower city.

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The next stop was Pantanassa’s monastery and there was a great view of the surround area, even from here.

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The monastery was built on the side of this mountain. It is the only monastery in the area that is still inhabited. A group of nuns live here and provide hospitality.

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There was much more climbing to do. Some of the other guests stopped here while some of the younger group kept climbing to the top. The next pictures were of middle city:

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There were a few ruins on our way up. The below pictures are Brontochion Monastery being restored.

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Finally, we reached the upper city:

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The upper city and citadel was also in ruins but it offered amazing views of the neighboring area, which was mostly farmland.

We also went into the Church of Saint-Sophia in the upper city on our way down:

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On our way back to our hotel, we stopped by a statue in Sparti:

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After we got back, the other out of town guests that were not family, the bride and groom and myself went to an early dinner. This was my first introduction to Ouzo. According to wikipedia, Ouzo is “an anise-flavored aperitif that is widely consumed in Greece and Cyprus.” From later dining experiences with the groom, I learned that this type of liquor is named different but similar in neighboring countries, like Turkey. It has a strong licorice taste to it, similar to the taste of Jagermeister or Absinthe. I would believe that Ouzo is kind of like Baijiu in China or Soju in Korea in that it is the country’s semi-official liquor and consumed during celebrations or intimate gatherings.

Ouzo isn’t necessarily bad but I generally do not like the taste of licorice, let alone hard liquor with that taste. After dinner, we bought a bottle to have in our room and we consumed it over the next few days.

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