45 minutes from Methoni, 30 from Pylos, and 15 from Gialova, Romanos Beach is just metres from, and in the same town as, Costa Navarino. Knowing the Methoni – Pylos rugged, steep, tight, and curvy road, the first 13 kilometres were easy to navigate. Then you need to go through Pylos until you see the fork on the road a few minutes away. Don’t pick the Kalamata one, everyone said. Although a cypress was blocking most of the sign, I just chose to go towards the water. The road to Gialova had been rebuilt and was surprisingly smooth.
After Gialova came the difficult drive. Olive branches hit our windows and even scratched my arm. As a first time Canadian on that road, I thought I’d drive like grandma on a Sunday morning. The sun was not strong. It was not very bright, but there was not a cloud in the sky. A perfect day in the low 30s with the cold wind becoming more apparent and present with every tight curve. I knew it was on the left side. Soon, we saw a confusing sign and I guessed. The guess took me to a dead end reserved for the aforementioned resort. I turned back and took a small entrance that looked like farmland just about 50 metres before. It slowly turned a bit villagy and a very cool and humid air hit my face and chest. There was a grassy parking space right before the beach. We finally breathed a sigh of relief because it was still 11 o’clock. We were the second couple or group of people there.
This is where we were. Nice sandy dunes and very comfy chairs. They cost 5€ for 2 chairs and an umbrella , with free water included. This was the beach with the highest waves. It was, in fact, the only beach with significant waves. It was, by default, the warmest water than any beach in the area.
It was still fairly empty after our coffees. It was the beginning of the off-season. There was only one girl server. I remember her enormous tattoo with some Chinese -looking symbol. She seemed like a tree hugger. You know, someone who thinks and creates, as it seems to mean to most nowadays. There was a small beach chair menu, but she told us there was a nice restaurant on top.
There were, in fact, a couple of restaurants. We were told that Kookoonari was the real treat.
We had this food.
Divine flavors for only 10€ a pop. A gem almost,no one knows about.
Then it was time to relax.
I lounged for about 20 minutes and went back to the beach. It was crowded now with mostly young locals. You could see some of them walking in from the village. I had fun in the waves as I enjoyed getting wet in the warm water. I had a Gelato and a subpar smoothie.
At about 4 o’clock, we had to leave. The road was even harder to navigate. It seemed narrower than before and I almost collided head on to a speeding local who just veered right at 80 ticks. I was afraid to surpass 40 on a straightaway. There was the very bright sun hitting my face as we parked to visit a protected site called Voidolikia, meaning “the belly of the bull ” , for obvious reasons.
Then off to Gialova. I hadn’t been there in over a decade. The little fishing village now had a makeover, prompted by wealthy tourists staying at Costa Navarino who want to leave the resort. There was an outrageously priced boutique that no one went into. The owner sat outside on a fancy armchair all made up waiting for her next tourist to come along. A sale a week paid the bills and everything extra went in her pockets. This was too easy, I thought. Gialova has a horrid beach resembling a kiddy pool. Then there’s this mosquito laden lagoon. There’s a nice beach after the lagoon that we had no time to get to.
The drive back was easy, but there seemed to be a fire burning one side of a big hill. We found out later it was the region burning the garbage. It stunk. It kept stinking for 2 days off and on, depending on the wind.