Saturday, May 16, 2009
Citrus is full-blown right now in the Southern Peloponnese. The whole valley that spills south of Sparti towards the Gulf of Lakonikos is ordered with olives and fruit trees. The orange trees that line the coastline are doubled over under their bounty of oranges and blossoms. The fruit is so plentiful that it almost seems there could never be an end to the season. Could this be why the only fresh juice available in Greece is orange juice? They're one step ahead of Belize where every orange grown in the country goes straight to concentrate and then straight to flavourless English breakfast tables.
Under the cool presence of Lakonia's snow capped Taygetos range, we take a pause from our pedalling to quench our lazy thirst with sun-ripened oranges fresh from the tree . As we near the port of Gythio we understand why this region gave birth to Helen's epic love affair that led Mycenae to 10 years of war with Troy. The contrast between the harsh and craggy interior where Helen lived and this gentle green seaside destination could loosen up the sternest of Mycenaeans.