Week 3

Week 4

Thursday April 16

Sites Visited: Mistras (Frankish/Byzantine town and citadel)

Where did we stay tonight?: Sparta

Leaders: Kate Ginsberg and Ally Begly

Our day began in the morning, when we packed up our bags and prepared to leave lovely Pylos, home of the cheap and delicious gyro for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. After breakfast at the Hotel Galaxy, the slightly fancier cousin of the Galaxy Hotel of Tripolis, we boarded the bus and had another windy ride. Even though the curves were particularly intense, we did not care because we were going to SPPPAAARRRTTTAAAAAAA, best known as the setting of the film 300, noted for its historical accuracy and general good taste when it comes to depicting the ancient peoples. We stopped outside of Mistras at a café to eat lunch and recover from the journey over the mountains. After lunch we headed to Mistras, which is an ancient Byzantine town, palace, and fortress extravaganza dating from the 13th century. Our trip at Mistras began with a thorough lecture on the history of architectural achievements leading to the development of Byzantine churches (who knew there was so much to say about squinches? Only don’t ask us because we still aren’t 100% sure). After visiting several beautiful buildings, and seeing the dome in action, we were turned loose to frolic among the remains and pet the stray cat (there seems to be a recurring theme with our group being distracted by small animals). Some of the group members trekked up to the formidable kastro (castle) that was on the very top of the hill. The views even from lower on the slope were amazing and the wall paintings were still preserved inside many of the churches. We met back near the bus around four to head into modern Sparta, where we stayed at the Hotel Apollon. In the early evening, some of us got a head start on the paper on Mycenaean palaces that is due before our Easter break. Tomorrow we head into Sparta to see the museum, then it’s on to Tegea and back to Athens to enjoy our three day break! 

Summiting Mistras with Ally & crew:

Day 25 Photo Gallery:

Alex A. and Kait enjoy a break from the bus ride at a picturesque mountain village in the Taygetus range.

Alex A. and Kait enjoy a break from the bus ride at a picturesque mountain village in the Taygetus range.

A friendly grackle in the Taygetus mountain village.

A friendly grackle in the Taygetus mountain village.

A talking parrot persuades some group members to purchase some artisanal mountain honey.

A talking parrot persuades some group members to purchase artisanal mountain honey.

Learning about arches and vaults at Mistras.

Learning about arches and vaults at Mistras.

The citadel at Mistras.

The citadel at Mistras.

The Evangelistria church at Mistras.

The Evangelistria church at Mistras.

Kathryn and KT, on the lookout for squinches.

Kathryn and KT, on the lookout for squinches.

Charlie peers upward at the Byzantine frescoes at Mistras.

Charlie peers upward at the Byzantine frescoes at Mistras.

Alex M. takes a moment to work on her journal at Mistras.

Alex M. takes a moment to work on her journal at Mistras.

Kate and Kait enjoy the views out to Sparta from the Byzantine kastro.

Kate and Kait enjoy the views out to Sparta from the Byzantine kastro.

Charlie, Jerry, Dallis, and KT illuminated by sunbeams at the top of the kastro

Charlie, Jerry, Dallis, and KT illuminated by sunbeams at the top of the kastro

Jason and Ally gaze into the maw of "temps perdu" above the Spartan motherland.

Jason and Ally gaze into the maw of "temps perdu" above the Spartan motherland.

An informative placard.

An informative placard.

Joe, Alex A., and Ben have a ramble through the medieval streets.

Joe, Alex A., and Ben have a ramble through the medieval streets.

Saying farewell to the megafauna at Mistras.

Saying farewell to the megafauna at Mistras.

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