On the way to Sparta

A fantastic road connects Kalamáta with Sparta, crossing the Taígettos mountains over a pass at 1,300 metres.

We started this tour in Kalamáta and drove up through the valley of the Nédonas river. In general the road was very good, just on some points it is sliding away, so the road is narrowed to one lane. That’s the Greek solution to the problem ;-). A sign warned us of falling rocks for the next 40 km, which was more or less the whole route over the maintains. And we saw a lot of rocks which had crumbled down!

Hairpins into the valley
A landslide narrows the road
Luckily, that’s high enough for us
We are through!
More tunnels
Using a spring to fill up the water tank
Again we used our canister to provide a deposit for our pump
We always use 2 filters, even to filter sediments from crystal clear spring water
Climbing area
Lost homes along the mountain route
When we reached Sparta, we first went to the Olive museum, which was in an old electricity building and gave a good overview of all aspects of the use of olives.
Map showing where olive trees grow today
Olive oil was used for many purposes, among others for lamps
Hand-driven oil-press, used until modern times for domestic production of oil

Oil was extracted from the olive in 3 stages:

* Crushing the olives to separate the flesh from the stone
* Pressing the olive pulp
* Separating the oil from the rest of the vegetal liquids

Afterwards it was stored in special vases, where it clarified after about forty days.

Crushing the olives

The olive was first domesticated in the Jordan Valley, where cultivation began in the 3rd millennium BC. But wild olives had been used much longer and continued to be collected as they were considered more suitable for preparing creams and perfumes.

Sweet olives

There was a very nice shop on the other side of the street where we couldn’t walk past. And after we had tried everything, we didn’t leave with empty hands either 😉

The lady in the shop informed us that this weekend the Trifecta World Championship was taking place in Sparta, so we already knew where we would go next. More on our next post!

Posing in front of the monument of Leonidas, the famous Spartan King

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