04/27/2015 07:20 pm ET | Updated Jun 27, 2015

Savoring a Sweet Mani Peninsula Surprise

Driving around this land so steeped in conflict and bloody vendettas, it occurred to me that there are a lot of towers on the Mani Peninsula. While everyone gets excited about the towers of San Gimignano in Italy because they are so unique, here on the Mani, towns with such skylines are common. It seems like wherever people lived around here in medieval times, those places were fortified with towers built by family warlords. Seeing this town on the horizon, we had to stop. And as soon as I got out of the car I realized the sweet blessing of this stop: bees. I had stepped into a world of hardworking, honey-making bees. The flowers here (these, which we couldn't recall while videoing, are sage) make the Mani honey the most treasured (and expensive) in Greece. Later, we stopped at a group of hives and met the beekeeper (who had an eye nearly swollen shut due to a bee sting). He explained how beekeepers constantly relocate their hives to get the best action. The lesson: Stop the car a lot, get out, talk to the people... and smell the sage.