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Methoni, a small fishing and farming village and quiet resort on a cape south of Pylos, has been delightful for some time: it was one of the seven towns Agamemnon offered Achilles to appease him after his beloved Briseis was carried off. According to Homer, Pedasos, as it was called, was "rich in vines," and tradition says that the town got its modern name because onoi (donkeys)
carrying the town's wine became methoun (intoxicated) from the aroma. The small fishing and farming village is still fairly intoxicating, with long beaches backed by olive groves and vineyards. Modern Methoni is two towns: a low-key settlement huddled on the beach beneath the fortress, and, just above, an animated old town on the crest of a rise—a laid-back, pleasant place to rest for a day or two.
West of the isthmus, the countryside opens up into a low-lying coastal plain around the head of the gulf of Corinth. Modern Corinth, near the...