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Stephan Bartholomä

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I am sending the newsletter in very irregular intervals. Here are some older issues:


you haven't heard from me for a long time. Actually, I wanted to get in touch before my beautiful trip to Southeast Asia last November and December, but I just did not make it - I hope, you forgive me.

10 years the desire in me had to grow until I finally made it: I was at the Greek 'Clean Monday' in Nedousa.
Not very far from Kalamata, this small village is hidden in the mountains. Already the drive there is an experience. But the people and the atmosphere in this place really exceeded all my expectations.
To the sound of a simple drum and a flute songs are sung with a lot of love and people dance. Even before you know it, you get soot smeared on your face and you are part of it. A little later, the goats, which are hung with big bells, come 'controlled' by the shepherds.
From what I have been able to find out so far, these are centuries-old rituals with roots in the Dionysian era. It celebrates the infinite life cycle, the end of winter and the fertility of the coming spring.
The nymph Nedousa, which suckled Zeus and lives in the river Nedonta next to the village, can be seen between the trunks of tall plane trees, in the wing beats of colorful butterflies or around the magical spring blossoms.
Not all rituals I really understood, even my research on the Internet helped me on only a little. Even more reason a to go back next year - which I would highly recommend to you as well.
Some photos can be found in our picture gallery.

What else is new:

My quote of the month:

"There is no coincidence.
Things happen because it was time.
- Very freely translated from German -


Last Thursday it finally rained! A very dry summer is finally over. Even drought-tested plants have reached their limits. Almond trees lost their leaves, Oleander bushes do not look fresh anymore, and even some Agaves seem to have used the last reserves.
Not least the olive trees had big problems with the drought. A premature ripening happened on many trees during September, meaning that the olives became blue practically without pulp and are already fall ing off ...

The first Mani Pulse Festival in Agios Nikolaos was overall a big success. It has really worked out great and offered to the visitors plenty of interesting things and lots of entertainment.
There are things to be improved, but the organizers deserve praise, the exhibitors, suppliers and artists a lot of respect and, last but not least, the villagers and the businesses a big thank you for their forbearance and help.
Certainly an event which I would miss in September in Agios Nikolaos!
Here are some links:

What else is new:

My quote of the month:

"Ay, make yourself a plan.
They need you at the top.
Then make yourself a second plan.
Then let the whole thing drop."

From the song of the Insufficiency of Human Endeavor. The Threepenny Opera. 
- Bertolt Brecht - 


The high season is over, again it becomes more comfortable in Stoupa and surroundings!
After many conversations with business owners in the area, the general, subjective impression is that there was a little less business compared to last year. In the first place, it was mainly due to the fact that the Greeks themselves could either not come at all or only for a short stay. Then they only rarely went out, and if they were no longer as 'lavish' as in older times. Also they stayed again at the grandmother's in the village and not in the rented apartment directly by the sea. But also the holidaymakers from the british isles seemed a little less numerous and also a little more economical...
Now comes the wonderful late summer with cooler nights and a general sigh of relief is felt.
But also the autumn is highly recommended for a - and if only - short holiday. Until December, the sea is still warm enough to bathe, the days are clearly shorter, but it is also because of the milder temperatures that trips are much more enjoyable and even more extended hikes can be made.

In Kalogria and the other organized beaches, the authorities have now carried out an effective and rigorous process, the number and position of the sun loungers and sunshades have been precisely defined on the board and since this is now definite, I decided to develop an app - of course absolutely free of charge and ad free - with which you can reserve your lounger the day before! This saves you the annoying early getting up to carry towels to the beach. Reservations via app will be unlocked starting from 5:30am for the next day.
If you now believe that the above belongs to the category 'Fake News', you might be right. But I really hope this is not a sinister premonition...

What else is new:

My quote of the month:

"All I wanna say is that they don't really care about us."
- Michael Jackson
Brazil version on YouTube


I have always been aware of the fact that I live in a paradise. However, I am also gradually learning I literally sit in the middle of a gigantic natural pharmacy.
Apart from well-known spices and healing herbs such as wild oregano, thyme, chamomile or sage, less well-known medicinal plants grow in the Taygetos mountains such as the good mountain tea, St. John's wort or valerian.
Now, some protected species are actually so much in demand that they are massively collected wildly for to be sold. Unfortunately, many collectors are only interested in the quick money, behave very ruthless in the nature and also without the necessary commercial permission: plants are ripped out improperly, entire areas are harvested completely and so much is harvested that the nature has no chance to recover.
Obviously, the authorities do not have the staff, the possibilities or the priority to control the partially difficult to access areas in the mountains.
It is allowed to collect properly certain plants for personal use in fixed maximum quantities. If you do not collect, you should at least look where you buy. The chance to get legal and properly collected wild herbs is perhaps higher when sold in a shop instead on the small stand by the road. But perhaps not. So you should absolutely ask where the goods come from, who delivered them and whether they were harvested properly. This is certainly not a guarantee, but it brings the issue into awareness and consolidates this.

After the authorities appeared at Kalogria in mid-July many rows of sunbeds had been removed. For a few days the beach looked 'normal' again but in the past days clandestinely piece by piece more loungers were added again.
Even the volleyball net is still missing.
Today, about 10 days later, the police was again in Kalogria. Some people were actually arrested. As I've heard, especially because these people have not even paid their duty for the chairs to the municipality. If this is true, this really tops the infamous greedyness of some.
For this very short-term thought madness that takes place in Kalogria, probably mainly one beach bar operator is responsible. Others, in my opinion, often exaggerate it, but don't go that far. I even heard that this bar owner not only reacts ruthlessly when he is addressed to the situation, but supposedly even threatens with violence. Draw your own consequences ...

What else is new:

My quote of the month:

"It is not the things themselves which disturb us, but the ideas and opinions of things."
- Epictetus



The first real heat wave is covering Stoupa on the weekend. At least 40°C say the predictions. The weather station records the actual figures.

Together with the summer temperatures, also the guests arrived. The season is in full swing, although I have heard in some places that the second half of June was comparatively 'bad'...

Especially on the beach Kalogria the tourists romp about. All tourists? No! More and more of them do not go to this beach anymore or they boycott at least those businesses on the beach which are immoderate with their beach chairs and umbrellas. Too close to the water, too close together and too many.
Anger manifests itself also in the forum. But the association of holiday accommodation as well as the association of Stoupa's businesses are also taking action. A complaint letter which is at the same time an application for a change of the situation was written. The letter (in Greek) can be viewed on the Internet. The letter was sent to the municipality, the police and the port authority in Kardamyli and Kalamata, the independent office as well as the official authority for common property.
It would surely be helpful if everyone who does not like the conditions, also sends a letter to these addresses - preferably in Greek, but also in English:

(There are some cheap internet FAX services)

What else is new:

My quote of the month:

"Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught, then will you find that money cannot be eaten."
Known as 'Prophecy of the Cree Indians'
- Alanis Obomsawin - 



So - I shall write a newsletter. But what can I do if there are no news from our area really worth mentioning? I will certainly not fudge a story! Anyway there is this saying: "No news are good news!".

Keeping track of the news in the media espacially in these days does not make you really happy and anyway does not change much (please do not misunderstand!), so at least I would have one alternative suggestion - as I think it is a serious one: Make your own news! Even the German poet, Matthias Claudius, said, "When someone does a journey, he's got something to tell."
I am not saying that you should travel to Greece now (which definitely would be no mistake), there are plenty of beautiful places in this world - God knows! But one thing I really believe is: to go through this world with open eyes and ears and to meet people, among other things, is the best thing to do.

Instead of constantly searching for news, you can also browse in the past for a change.
My semi-professional weather station has been recording weather data almost continuously since July 2014. I find it especially interesting to compare temperatures and / or precipitation amounts. To do this unfortunately the Flash-Player must be installed on your computer...
The best overall view is perhaps the 'standard table'. Now select the desired time frame and then play a little with the date.

And yet there are (good) news:

My quote of the month:

"Skating away on the thin ice of a new day."
 - Jethro Tull - 



At the beginning of March I was asked to translate for the documentation of a German radio station. We were together with Katerina Georgilea, who owns the 'Pelagia' Villas and the 'Kelly' Apartments. The houses at Kalogria beach in which Nikos Kazantzakis as well as Georgios Zorbas were accommodated at that time belonged to her grandfather.
A myth was destroyed: The simple wooden lodge, in which Kazantzakis actually spent a lot of time, was not on the rocks to the right of Kalogria beach close to the 'Prinkipas' spring, but about in the center of the beach below the high cliff and got completely destroyed in an earthquake in 1926 by a huge boulder.
But another myth was confirmed: At the time lived a widow with her children in the house 'Sourmelina'. And most likely, this woman inspired Kazantzakis to the figure of the beautiful widow in the novel!
In addition, I found very interesting that Zorbas certainly was a womanizer, but here in the area he can not to be blamed for anything. He just went to Kalamata from time to time to 'go shopping'...
It is also not true that the Maniots were or are angry with Kazantzakis because of the two scenes in the novel - robbing of the dead and stoning. Firstover in 1950 really only a few people were reading books and secondly, he deliberately moved the act to Crete. After all he did not write history but 'only' a story.

Other topic:
The house of Patrick Leigh Fermor in Kalamitsi can only be visited until the end of April. From then on (finally) the renovation works will begin. The Benaki Museum has sent a newsletter.

The renovation works of Agi and Sokratis in their café 'Niriides' have already begun and will probably be completed much sooner. This time it is not only about small changes but the interior will be completely redesigned. You can be curious...

More news:



With works like "Alexis Sorbas" (1946) Nikos Kazantzakis became world famous. Last month on 18 February 2017 was his 134th birthday (* 18.2.1883). On October 26, 2017, his death will be celebrated for the 60th time. He died at the age of 74 in Freiburg im Breisgau.
From 1916 to 1917, with the help of his friend Georgios Sorbas, he tried to dismantle coal as a tenant of the mine in the village of Prastova, very close to Stoupa.
Kazantzakis died in my home town and the former resident of the house 'Sourmelina' gave him probably the inspiration for the "beautiful widow" in the novel - in the film (Film@YouTube) played by Irini Papas. I myself have been living in the area for almost 25 years. The name of the travel agency does not come by chance...
Exciting is whether and what events this year will happen in Stoupa. I try my best to find out more as early as possible. If you hear something, I am very happy if you let me know...

After the award-winning restoration of Agios Petros - the 12th-century Byzantine church in Kastania - has been completed in 2016 I would like to recommend a stay in this authentic mountain village. For example, you could stay in the 'Kastanea Apartments' and in the 'Krya Vrisi' restaurant you will also get very good food again...

More news:



Please excuse the not working links in my previous email!
A very grim winter is soon behind us. On nice days you can already feel the spring and more and more blossoms open and stretch towards the warming sun.
The olive harvest was a disaster almost everywhere. Parasites made sure that most of the olives were rotting on the tree and could not be harvested. So the cold winter gives hope. Really cold days in the winter and hot temperatures in the summer the parasites do not like. Let's see how the summer is - but I am not asking for many weeks around 40°C...

Here briefly summarized some news:
Kalamata was reached twice a week this winter by Aegean Airlines via Thessaloniki!
Unfortunately the bus schedule between Athens and Kalamata was changed in January. For example, the last bus departs from Athens at 21:00. The current bus schedule can be found on our website.
From Athens as well as from Kalamata there is now a minivan-taxi available for up to 6 passengers. More details on our website.
We have found some nice new accommodations:
Villa 'Phaedra' just below Neochori is something special. A beautiful pool, great views and the modern luxury amenities indulge the guest.
To the beautiful villas 'Pelagia' directly in Stoupa by the sea a third villa had beed added. The so-called 'Pyrgos'. Look at the pictures!
In Kardamyli, we have the 'Olympia Zervea' Studios new in the program. Affordable living for 2-3 persons in the middle of the village and nevertheless with nice sea view.
Our beautiful old cottage with a very special history not far from Stoupa is not yet fully booked! Have a look at the availability calendar!



It's been a very long time since I sent the last newsletter. I am sorry for that! There are some news on our website that I wanted to share:

1. You can find the schedules for the (express) long distance coaches from Athens to Kalamata or vice versa plus the times of the local buses from Kalamata to Stoupa at The online ticketing is now also available in english:
2. We still organise also taxi transfers from Athens or Kalamata airport. Find the prices at
3. We now have a new cooperation with the local car rental company 'Napoleon'. More information can be found at Still I would like to suggest also the "Economy Car Rentals" ( The feedback from our clients is very good and also their prices are quite competitive.
4. We have a lot of new accommodation on our website - Villas, holiday houses, apartments & studios:
- Zerveas Villas: There are 3 luxury villas with private pool to choose from. Villa Sofia, Villa Ismini & Villa Nefeli.
- Villa Panorama: With breathtaking sea views and again with private pool.
- Villa Lakonia: Right in Stoupa only 150 meters from the beach for up to 8 persons.
- Athena's Cottage: also only 150 meters from Stoupa main beach and suitable for handicaped persons in a wheelchair.
- Thomeas Spitaki: Located very quietly in Stoupa, not even 5 minutes from the beach.
- Lakonia studios: 10 very popular studios with sea views and very close to the beach.



Reisebüro Zorbas - Stephan Bartholomä
24024 Stoupa, Peloponnese - Greece
Tel: +30 69781 44435, +30 27210 77879, e-Mail: