Visiting Mystras and living on an olive farm

It’s about the mid of April 2022 and I’m driving Rosinante through an olive farm right next to the famous ancient site of Mytras in Greece. These olive farms can become pretty tricky to drive through from time to time. They tend to narrow down and passing the sometimes low-hanging branches of the trees can be tricky as well. I’m always wondering how the farmers are making it up and down the steep slopes on tracks full of loose stones and sometimes pretty big stone steps.

Right next to the little track I took and on the foot of Mystras, I’m happy to find my new home in the center of the olive farm. Hesitation arises in me as I think about if it’s ok for the owner of the farm that I’m staying here for a couple of days. I lay this thought away by coaxing myself. Just at this moment, I hear some low sounds of people working on the farm and I’m pretty sure that they will come along sometime and so I’ll be able to ask them.

I’m exploring my home in between beautiful nature with all its fresh green, olive trees, a meadow, and a nice small stream. The small area I call home now seems to be the dump of the farm because there are some small piles of rubble. It’s funny how different perceptions can be: for me this dump zone is so beautiful that I want to stay here for some days. For the farmer, it might be the most unproductive and worthless area of his whole farm.

A couple of hours later, I’m hearing a tractor approaching and meet it on the small road. I’m waving and smiling and the driver seems to be a nice guy. It’s the farmer and I’m asking him if I can stay for some days. He is absolutely fine with this. We have a short chat about a lot of things and he gives me tips about what to visit in the area. Once more I see one of my beliefs confirmed: if I’m meeting people friendly and open, they do the same to me. It’s like a principle of friendliness attracting more friendliness.

The next morning I start my way to the ancient site of Mystras. After a couple of meters, I’m deciding to try going barefoot for the whole day. As a fallback, I’m tieing my flip-flops to my backpack.

The ancient site of Mystras with its ruins and reconstructed buildings in the rising spring is very beautiful. But the most beautiful part of it is the view from the top of the fortress on top of it. I’m hanging around there for quite some time and thinking about what side of the view I like more: the nature side with its mountains or the valley side with the roads and little settlements? For me, it’s an easy choice and I decide to climb up one of the mountains tomorrow.

After about eight hours I’m arriving back at Rosinante and my barefoot experiment went pretty well. After the first hour of getting used to especially sharp gravel laying on flat concrete, it felt super good and slowed me down a bit. But after having my soles backed on a dark tarmac road it’s super intense to walk on these little, sharp stones.

Visiting Olympia and it’s old stones

After a couple of days living on different spots during March 2022 in Greece, I thought that it is time to go and have a closer look at some old stone.

Back in school when I started “learning” latin, my interest for Greek mythology was born. Up to now, I just remember barely the first lesson of Latin, but I remember quite a lot of stories about the Greek gods etc. If you want to get a taste, I can recommend the book Mythos by Stephen Fry. It follows a quite interesting, fresh and different approach of telling Greek mythology. You’ll see.

In the morning I’ve been nearly alone in the whole area of ancient Olympia and so I took quite some time to explore it. The weather has been great, the flowers were flourishing and the wing beats of the insects were filling the air.

When I was walking around, investigating these old stones and trying to imagine how they’ve looked in the past, I had an idea. I googled for images that recreated the broken buildings etc. And by that I found the app Ancient Olympia. You can take a virtual tour through the whole place and what is more, you can use it’s augmented reality function to lay the virtual recreations on top of the broken originals. I had a lot of fun with it. And if you can’t visit Olympia right now, you may give it a try to have a brief look.

When I’m walking around these old places, I’m always excited and wondering what life was like at that time. And because I like a lot of the ideas that are described by Stoicism, I had a closer look at this statue of Marcus Aurelius. This guy was one of the biggest Stoics ever. At least he had written a lot about it. If you want to have a closer look at Stoicism, I recommend reading the summary of Stoicism on reddit. I really loved reading it and from my point of view it’s an fantastic summary. What is more the guys on reddit are discussing a lot what a Stoic approach on the challenges of their lifes would be.