On this two-week voyage, we save the last day as an exploring day to adjust to the voyage thus far and the group interests to finish the trip with a crescendo. Since we’d had plenty of excellent sailing day and night across the Ionian Sea and the water was still too cool for an improvised beach day, we knew that this group would love a surprise stop at the stunning Greek rock of Monemvasia on the east side of the Peloponnesus. The offshore rock was inhabited in prehistoric times, and the medieval town of Monemvasia was founded in the 6th century. An arched bridge was built to connect it to the mainland in the late 19th century, but there are no roads or vehicles in the walled medieval city that is perched under the cliff face. No maps or guides are necessary, and we all enjoyed the morning winding through the labyrinthine streets and alleys. It was a stunning finale to a beautiful voyage.
I often wondered if the sailors of Homer’s day felt as we did when we sighted dry land after a long voyage? During breakfast we tied up to the small pier in the sleepy port of Pylos on the Peloponnesus peninsula after two fantastic days of sailing across the Ionian Sea. Under cloudless blue skies, we drove through sage-green olive groves surrounding the Bay of Navarino to the Mycenaean Palace of Nestor—Homer’s wise and benevolent king who features large in both the Iliad and the Odyssey . In the afternoon, after a sumptuous Greek buffet lunch on the Lido Deck, we climbed up to the spectacular Neokastro—a 16th-century Ottoman fortress that was modified and added to by the Venetians when they occupied the region in the 17th century. What a perfect introduction to Greece after our circumnavigation of Sicily.