Sunday, May 17, 2009
Taking in the Taygetos
On the outskirts of the village of Olive is a small church that sits atop a hill beside the sea. This church of Saint Nicholas, is surrounded by good pasture for grazing sheep and looks towards the forbidding snowy peaks of the the twisted and wild range of mountains responsible for forging the legendary character of the ancient Spartans. From our perch on the patio of our little church we study the spiny Taygetos range as it meanders it's way down the third finger of the Peloponese. Severe and isolated this peninsula known as the Mani is the most southerly point in continental Europe and really couldn't be a more poetic place to house Taenarus the ancient entrance to Hades.
As we take this all in the sun eventually bores a hole between the clouds and the peaks of the Taygetos and blazes before us like a giant demonic eye. We all watch as the sun's spectacular gaze sinks below the distant purple range. Putting it all together, Paul turns to us and ponders, "we're riding the highway to Hell, aren't we?".