Methoni — The Overlooked Upper Road (Πάνω Δρόμος)

Methoni, the town where I grew up, has grown into a primo vacay destination. So much so, that I’ve overlooked some pics I took of places because, frankly, there were just too many to choose from.

Take the above, for example. Zoom on in and you’ll see a cute menu catered for tourists. It’s mostly a local winter or low- and off-season staple. Then again, off-season is the time to go. Even pre-season of May-June is great. My favourite time is post-season of mid-September to early November, where you can enjoy all the amenities at bargain prices and temperate weather (as opposedto the 52-degree Celsius feel of Juky and August. The water will have few swimmers and you’ll be sure to eat without a reservation. Even though most restaurants are closed in the winter, pre- and post-season finds almost all of them open. And you’ll be treated like a king.

Although he deserves a separate article, and will get one soon, Andreas runs a great place. The owner of an organic olive orchard, Andreas Diles has the liveliest place away from the beach. In the evening, the main Methoni street, made of mostly cobblestone, is closed to traffic. Mind you, there are only two streets long enough to traverse the whole town. This is the “upper” street where the “market” is. In relaxing wooden chairs and old-school tables, Andreas and his wife, introduced as a chef from Poland, offer sumptuous nouveau-Greek cuisine. Or is it fusion. You have the old favourites your Greek grandm used to make but with an Eastern European twist. I never knew how many different versions and name ratatouille really had. When asked if this was ratatouille, Andreas says “I can’t say if is, since our version is a lot better”. It’s this proud spirit and Andreas’s constant interaction with the tourists taht makes this an unbelievable dining experience.

With its colourful non-matching chairs, “το καφέ της Φιλιως” or Filio’s Cafe, is a hit with the locals. A traditional coffee shop in the morning (above), quiet WiFi and contemplation spot in the afternoon (although the owner will try to outdo herself to make sure you’re continuously comfortable), and bar at night, there’s always something going on here. This is a surprising hotspot to meet people.

There you go. And not a beach in sight. It’s about a 10-minute leisurely walk away.

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