Gytheion

From Aeropolis we continued on to Gytheion which is near the southernmost point of the middle of three fingers of the Peloponnesus. At least at that time it was as far south as the main road went. At land’s end I walked down a little path to the ocean and came across a dry well. I’m sitting on the edge of it here in the photo. It was fairly deep but no provisions had been made to ensure that no one fell into it. Not even a sign. Perhaps the locals knew I couldn’t read Greek anyway.

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The grasses were dry and my throat was dry, but the well was dry too. So we moved on and drove back into town. Gytheion was a pretty place with a wide seawalk. Boats of all sizes were tied to the docks and this one in the photo had small octopuses hung up like laundry.

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In a nearby bar, we sat down to have a glass of ouzo, Greece’s famous licorice flavoured drink. It came in a water glass with a small jug of water on the side. You add the water to the ouzo and the clear liqueur turns milky. Magic!

But even more magical was the meseraki (that’s what they called the mini oval platter of goodies that came with the drinks). On these tiny platters, grilled octopus pieces were served for free as appetizers with the ouzo. I could see the barbecue grills in the kitchen area of the shop, and noted the diesel fueled flames. In spite of this the octopus tasted delicious. We simply had to have another meseraki.

We tried to explain that we didn’t want another ouzo because we were driving, but we would sure love to have a plate of octopus and we didn’t mind paying. We didn’t expect to have it for free.

Nothing doing! You want octopus, you have to have the ouzo.  I’d say we had a language barrier. We drank the ouzo to be polite, but before driving back to Kardamyli, we had a nap with a wonderful seabreeze blowing through the van.

21 thoughts on “Gytheion

  1. I’m led to believe the Ouzo has a good kick to it, is that right? The octopus drying on the boat, is that dried for bait or is it then a food..? I am enjoying Greece with you, even though it was a while back, Love the photos… just as I picture the landscape of Greece in my mind….

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    • I think this was used for food. They probably caught squid for bait like we do here on the coast. I know the bar where we ate was serving octopus steadily. It was SO good. I think they dry it because ice would be too precious. And yes, the ouzo had a bit of a kick – hence the nap!

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  2. Meseraki must be the same thing like Tapa in Spain. Too bad that this custom is not all over the world. Its such a friendly custom to serve a little platter with some goodies of the house with your drink.

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    • Yes, exactly like tapas. I love it. It’s such a nice surprise. I remember having a small glass of beer once at a little outdoor stand in Almeria, Spain, and they gave me a little platter with a big prawn and a couple of olives on it. I was so surprised and thought how nice that was!

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  3. I have always thought octopus might be a bit tough..but you say “octopus tasted delicious”..knowing how to prepare it makes taste buds happy.
    Awesome how much you remember from that wonderful trip.

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  4. Okay, first of all, I wish I could hear you pronounce those Greek town names. Heh. Next, I must address the hanging octopuses (I guess there is a plural to octopus)…did it smell?? It looks disgusting, but sounds like it tasted great. The ouzo, not my kinda drink, but I’d have to drink it to be polite too. 😉 Enjoying taking a trip with you in the time machine back to the 70’s in Greece.

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    • GITH- ee-on. No bad smell from the fish boat. Yes, I felt a bit bad that the octopus were so small and there were so many. I hope they haven’t fished them out completely. Tasted heavenly. It was served in small, bite-sized pieces. Ouzo is something I don’t normally buy here, but it’s a standard drink in Greece. I happen to like licorice (the red strawberry twizzler kind) so the flavour wasn’t bad at all. Depends on your personal preferences. As a matter of fact, as I write this, I’m having a cup of herbal tea. And the flavour? Licorice Spice.

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  5. My girlfriend and I traveled all over West Africa by ourselves — often the only women with groups of men — and we never feared for our safety. We were always treated so well. I wouldn’t try that now!!

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