By Catherine Tsounis
The beauty of the beach lies in the serene, clear blue waters of Greece. It is a healing experience that inspires. On the Feast Day of our church, The Transfiguration of Christ in Mattituck, NY, which took place on August 6th, I had a unique experience at Finikounda, Messinia. This was part of a bus trip organized by Kapogiannis Travel agency that also included visits to Methoni and Pylos. We explored the entire coastline of Messinia, witnessing its cliffs and crystal-clear beaches. Our fluency in Greek proved to be an advantage in getting to know the heart of the Greek soul.
Finikounda is a coastal village and resort area located in Messinia, in the southern Peloponnese.
The village is nestled in a cove bay, just across from the complex of Oinousses, which includes Sapienza, Schiza, and Agia Mariana islands. “Schiza Island is not open to tourists, as it is a military base used for air drills,” our guide/leader Kostoula explained. The name “Finikounda” is believed to possibly originate from the Phoenicians, who, as naval people, landed on the coast of the Peloponnese and founded Finikounda at the present location of Anemomylos (Windmill).1
We decided to visit the beach near Terra & Mare restaurant. The lunch menu was tailored to accommodate everyone’s dietary preferences. A waiter informed me that “the cook does an excellent job.” After our swim and lunch, I requested to meet the cook and personally express my gratitude. I had the opportunity to meet the owners, with whom I had an informative conversation.
“My name is Adriana Zorba Karvela,” said the owner’s wife, who also holds the position of mayor in Kalamata,” she explained. “My daughter is a university student who manages our restaurant Terra & Mare. I am an educator of the German language. I hail from Preveza, Epirus. My husband, Panagiotis Karvelas, comes from Chrisovitsi, Arcadia. Panagiotis Karvelas serves as the mayor of Pylos-Nestoros municipality.” The village was a hub of Greek rebellion during the Greek Revolution of 1821. The revolutionary leader Theodoros Kolokotronis grew up in nearby Limpovisi.
Four years ago, I took a taxi trip to Monemvasia for 200 euros. In 2023, I had the opportunity to embark on several bus trips along the southern Peloponnesian coastline, exploring even more areas, all for 20-25 euros per person through Kapogiannis Travel agency, with guide Kostoula and bus driver Giorgos. A family member commented, “2023 was the best Greek trip I have had.” He is originally from Greece. Make the most of your time by enjoying the beach and socializing with Greeks at seaside restaurants.