We left Kalamata heading east, on the road to Sparti. Just outside of the city, the road started climbing and winding through the hills and we were soon well up in the mountains. This is one of the occasions were I didn’t take many photos as I had to drive, which was a real shame since the road was so unique. If you search the Internet for “road kalamata to sparti” you get an idea of what it looks like. This was, without a doubt, the most beautiful and diverse stretch of landscape we saw in our time in Greece, and it rivalled even the stunning mountain roads of Canadian national parks.
A little before we reached the city of Sparti we left the main road to drive up a really tiny and even steeper mountain road. Our destination was the ancient town of Mystras. When we arrived at the upper parking lot the sun was already punishing us, but this wasn’t to keep us from seeing the ruins.
Mystras is located in the Taygetos mountain range. It was built there for tactical reasons, and we soon discovered just how steep the climb up the mountain to the ancient fortress really was. There were some ruins which had since been consumed by nature while others (like churches and cathedrals) were still very much intact. From the highest point, the fortress, we could see all of Mystras and lot of the surrounding countryside.
On our way back we noticed that there was a second parking lot (the lower entrance) to the ancient town, so we stopped here as well to see some of the additional buildings. The highlight of the lower part was definitely the Metropolis (Cathedral), with its beautiful courtyard and dark church interior. The rest of the day was spent driving towards out final destination for this holiday: Nafplio.