Four hours south of Athens lies a little discovered part of the Greek mainland, the Mani. Acclaimed for its beauty, it attracts discerning tourists who return year after year, once they have discovering its charms.
Greek tourism has suffered a dramatic downturn due to the economic and political uncertainty hovering over it like a dark cloud. Most news reports focus on Athens, the nations' capital, but down in the Mani in the southern Peloponnese it is hard for visitors to resist the delights they have discovered on previous visits.
Drawn to the idyllic peace and astounding scenery, the majority of tourists questioned will gladly declare this is their fifth, tenth or fifteenth trip to the area. The Mani appears as if protected from the realities of the Greek crisis to returning visitors who are confident that they will receive the traditional warm welcome.
On a June evening the beach was emptying as tourists headed to their apartments to change for dinner in one of the seafront tavernas.
Taverna owners told Digital Journal that numbers were down somewhat from last year but they are seeing the same returning faces. There is a marked absence of German tourists, with the majority of visitors arriving from the U.K. Some English tourists said their intended visit had raised eyebrows back at home where friends thought they were mad, or brave, to holiday in Greece at this time, but they shrugged off such worries having visited before.
Amazingly, some expat Brits questioned by Digital Journal were actually unaware of the crisis unfolding, having no knowledge of the recent and forthcoming elections. Life for them remains an extended holiday in glorious surroundings. Many of the tourists still harbor dreams of moving to the Mani.