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Happy New Year! Now that it is 2013, it's time to think about warm and wonderful Greece.

So what is new in Exochori?

It is tempting to say that nothing is new and nothing has changed, as that is the timeless quality that is so appealing.

But this is a newsletter so let's try...the village continues to have a small but increasing population of returning Greeks, people are heading out of Athens in search of a simpler life, growing vegetables and getting back to their family roots. This is perhaps a good by-product of the crisis. These younger families are contributing to the cultural life of the area, through music and the weekly film club.

The 'Hotel Farragi' restaraunt, with its wonderful view of the Viros Gorge, was open all summer and put on some terrific music nights.'Me Thea' restaraunt now opens all year, very much the heart of the village it continues to be a great favorite with our guests

Alongside this renaissance the area remains delightful and unspoilt.The environmental group GAIA going from strength to strength, protecting the natural world and promoting ways for people to support those in need.

Maintainence of the many old stone paths between the villages is now being taken on by groups of volunteers. This means that there are increasing numbers of paths to use from the village and beyond. Caroline spent a sweaty day helping clear the route from Thalames towards Trachila last summer, and we'll be trying to complete this soon.

Mani in the Spotlight.

Last summer the Peloponnese became a film set. Director Richard Linklater chose the the amazing scenery of Pylos, Koroni and Kardamili to film the third part of the trilogy "Before Sunset", in which Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy play the main roles. The third part, "After Midnight" will be the final and will put the end of the trilogy under the Greek sun. During the filming various members of the cast were to be found in the Kardamyli cafes. Look

out for the release of the filmEthan Hawke and Julie Delpy in Before Midnight, which has completed shooting in Greece.

Mani has also been in the news with the release of the biography of writer and traveller Patrick Leigh Fermour, by Artemis Cooper. Until his death this famed adventurer had made Kardamyli his home.

Easier Transport Links

The motorway from Athens to Kalamata now has further sections open, dramatically cutting down driving and bus times between the airport and the Mani. For those of you travelling from UK, Easyjet have now introduced direct flights from London Gatwick to Kalamata. This new service begins in July and runs 3 times per week. This gives you greater flexibility in your travel and makes the idea of a short break in Exochori a real possibility.

We look forward to welcoming you to the guesthouse in 2013. We are open from 1st May through until October. This year Greek Orthodox Easter is on 5th May, so come and join us for the celebration.


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