Thursday, 21 May 2015

Harbour life and an early start!

Thursday 21st May Napflion 37.56975 22.80110

We stayed here on the big car park on the harbour last year and nothing much has changed apart from a curvy metal fence in an attractive undercoat grey which has reduced the parking area by one third. I can't quite work out the purpose of this very expensive looking fence but I'm sure it will be nice when it's finished.

We left the pretty town of Galatas yesterday morning and after a short drive ended up in the even prettier town of Ermioni 37.38898 23.24832. Another working harbour with small fishing boats and a regular ferry service up and down the coast and to the nearby islands. We were entertained most of the day by the loading and unloading of a small freighter with a variety of cargo. First a variety of crates, boxes and pallets were unloaded by crane and forklift truck and at the same time as all sizes of vehicles came to collect these goods other vehicles arrived with goods to be loaded back on. At times the quayside was blocked with vehicles and accompanied by a soundtrack of horns blowing, engines revving and folk shouting. The forklift driver was doing his best whilst being cajoled and encouraged in equal part. The whole process took about six hours and was a pleasant diversion while I sat attempting to, again unsuccessfully, entice fish from the harbour with a variety of baits and lures. The coastguard officers and police wandered about smiling and being generally cheerful. "Yassus" said the coastguard. "Hello my friend" said the policeman. Which we took as a sign that it would be ok to park the night at the harbour, which we did.

The sound of banging, crashing and music woke Phil first at 6 this morning. Raising the blinds slightly we realised we were in the middle of the weekly market which was being assembled around us. Quickly throwing some clothes on I jumped out of the van and said I'd move it immediately which the tomatoe stall man thought was a good idea. I moved 50 metres further along the quayside and after a cup of tea and some breakfast we walked back to look at the market. The fruit and veg looked as if it had been picked that morning but although everything made our mouths water we only have so much room in our home on wheels so settled for a big bag of cherries. No doubt the coastguard and police "forgot" to tell us about the market when we saw them last night.

So an early start for us today and we headed off first to a tiny beach with no name on the west coast of the peninsular 37.36413 23.07507. A hair raising drive down some C roads got us there intact and on the way we passed the largest, most luxurious gated resort I have ever seen. Smartly uniformed security guards were at the gates making sure only the right people gained access and although the resort would have accommodated thousands there was still an enormous construction site extending the site still further. It was necessary to drive through the site to get to the beach, much to the amusement of the construction guys working there. We arrived at the beach thinking it wasn't much really but as we walked along and passed a fence we came upon another opulent area which was the water sports location for the resort we had passed a couple of miles back. We made a pot of coffee and speculated on who would stop at such a place and how much it would cost for a week or a fortnight. We came to no conclusions.

Back down the C roads and we reached another lovely harbour and ship and boat building centre at Kilada. 37.41543 23.12640. Fishermen mending their nets, boats being overhauled and ladies in their finest returning from mass. The last day or so we've been getting low on water and yesterday we bought twelve litre and a half bottles to top up so when we called at the bakery this morning for some bread we asked the baker where we could find some water for the van. In northern Greece it's never a problem finding water, with taps and springs everywhere you look, but in the Pelleponese it's a bit harder to find a tap and nearly all the harbours have a credit card system for metered water and electricity. "Water to drink or to wash?" asked the baker. "To wash" I replied. Out of the shop he came, showed us his tap, gave us the key and left us to it. Another example of Greek hospitality.

It was still only mid morning so after the compulsory Fredo Cappucino we set off for Frachti beach 37.42881 23.13432 which is only just around the bay along some more narrow winding roads. The beach itself is pretty enough but the real attraction is the pre-historic cave 37.42258 23.13111 reached after a strenuous walk in what was now becoming a very hot day. Our friend Bernd told us about the cave and said we should visit if we had the chance. It was well worth the effort, thanks Bernd. The cave had been continuously occupied since Paleothonic and Neolithic times right up until the middle of the last century when it was still used by shepherds and goatherds. Discovered and partially excavated in the early 1970's it's about 150m X 50m and has a walkway through and around with descriptive information boards although the artefacts found there have been removed to other museums.

Back to the van for a sandwich and back up the coast road. Further stops proved to be a little disappointing but Kilada and Frachti made for a great day of exploration. We only drove about seventy five miles today but it felt like two hundred and seventy five. It's nearly eight o'clock now and we are both ready for our beds! These six o'clock starts take it out of you.



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