Wednesday 13th May Ancient Corinth 37.91145 22.87921.
We are parked up this evening at a Camperstop site in Ancient Corinth. We decided to stop here because our friend Bernd recommended the site, it has all facilities for €10/24hrs and it says in the Camperstop book that there is a washing machine available. Well, there is a washing machine but it's not available for use by us motorhomers which is a shame because we haven't been able to do any washing for over a week. Don't worry, we're not smelly and still have a few clean clothes yet but the situation is getting a bit critical! Fortunately the Blue Dolphin campsite, where we stayed last year, is only about twenty minutes away so we'll head off there tomorrow and probably stay for a few days and relax. The campsite is right on the beach and the owners are lovely people.
When we left Thermopylae on Monday we headed for Galaxidi, a small picturesque harbour where we stopped last year 38.37522 22.38762. On that occasion an elderly guy with a sea captain's cap got chatting with us, told us of his exploits in the navy, showed us where to fill up with water at the facilities reserved for yachts and said that we could stay anytime and if anyone told us differently we were to tell them he said it was ok. When we arrived this time we parked up in the same place, went for a walk around the harbour and ended up in the fishing tackle shop. I was chatting to the owner and mentioned our friend from the year before. "Oh yes," he said "he's going back into prison tomorrow". We asked why and he said that the old boy makes a nuisance of himself, falls out with the harbour police, things get out of control and they lock him up for a few weeks or months. "He quite likes it" said the tackle shop owner, "he gets three meals a day and it's nice and warm. He meets his old friends and generally quite likes it". The next day we went into the small town and there was our old friend, I must say looking a little worse for wear. "Hello," he said "come back and see me here at four o'clock" pointing to the small police station.
Last year we wanted to visit the Maritime museum at Galaxidi but it was closed but on Tuesday morning we went and it was open and one of the best small museums we've ever visited. We discovered that Galaxidi was the second largest boat and ship building port in Greece until the introduction of steam ships in the middle of the nineteenth century at which time it failed to adapt from the change from sailing ships and the industry withered and died. The museum shows the development and decline of the shipbuilding activities and the bonus was that all the descriptions and explanations of the artefacts were in English as well as Greek. Additionally it holds the largest collection of maritime related stamps and covers in the world. Collected over many years by a wealthy Greek ship owner it was donated recently to the museum and was absolutely fascinating.
We set off yesterday morning thinking that it was too far to drive to Corinth in one day and looked for places to stop on the way. I have to say we drove through some of the least interesting countryside on some of the worst roads. The taverna we planned to stop at no longer existed as they had built a flyover next to it and it had closed down. We pushed on and for reasons we still don't understand ended up at Porto Germeno 38.15038 23.22572 which doesn't really have too much to recommend it to the motorhomer. A few cafes and tavernas which were all closed and a couple of mini markets but by the time we arrived we were too tired to drive any further. There were plenty of low rise holiday apartments and a lot of very large villas, the later either being expensive holiday rentals or second homes for wealthy Athenians. This morning we drove around the coast and discovered that Psatha would have been a better choice for us but it's one to remember for next time 38.11282 23.21841. We followed the coast road to the lake at Heraion which is a salt water lake connected to the sea via a narrow causeway and which affords some spectacular views over the gulf of Corinth. From there it's only thirty minutes to the Corinth canal. Near the lower end the canal is bridged by the main road to Athens and the railway line but at either end are the hydraulic bridges which rise and fall to let boats and ships pass through the canal. We decided to take the upper of the two bridges and had to wait for twenty minutes while a couple of boats passed through but it was worth the wait to see the bridge rise up out of the canal, still dripping water as we passed over.