Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Bye bye Greece, Hello Italy.

Monday 29th June. The Adriatic 41.28696 18.03629 !!!

We are currently sailing up the Adriatic Sea with Brindisi to our left and Dubrovnik to our right. We can't see them, of course, all we can see is sea.

We were told we should enter the port via gate 4 at 5am so we set the alarm for 4.30 but woke up just after 4am, funny thing body clocks. So, a cup of tea and a quick scrub up and we passed through uneventfully, nobody checked the van to see if we had any stowaways, and joined what was, to start with, an orderly queue on the dockside. After an hour or so this had deteriorated into a kind of anarchic phalanx and by the time somebody resembling an official arrived it was too late for him to arrange order from the chaos. But we were near the front, almost at the point of the arrowhead. Now, we've only done this crossing once before camping on board but it's a great arrangement. Basically you don't have to pay for a cabin and you don't have to find a quiet corner to doss down in. You have access to your van throughout the journey and access to all the ships facilities including a shower. But we've learnt that you have to be a bit smart and a bit cheeky to get the best location. Ideally you want to be parked on the side and not in the middle. We thought all the good spots would have gone as the ship started its voyage in Patras so we didn't hold out too much hope of getting where we wanted to be but we were the second vehicle on and there was a whole side empty. The van in front was directed to the side and then the guy directing traffic waved us to the side of him. No, I pointed that I wanted to be behind the first guy. No, the director of traffic waved me to the left. So I pulled up behind the first guy, shrugged my shoulders and smiled at the traffic director. He scowled at me but, so far so good. Now, the next thing you want is an electric hook up. They're available but there aren't enough to go round so as soon as you see the guy with the long pole pulling the cables down from the ceiling you grab one. None of this British "After you mate, no, after you". None of that, you grab one and hook up. Then you get your comfy chairs out of the boot, set them up in your little alcove and that's it. Then you think, well, I deserve a beer after all that and realise it's only 7am. So we had a cup of tea.

Initially it was a bit windy and chilly on our side of the boat, the left side (west) but now the sun has passed over the meridian we have glorious sunshine and we'll see a beautiful sunset over the sea tonight I'm sure. All we need now to make it a perfect voyage is a few Dolphins (gay whales?) following the ship so we can "ooh" and "ahh".

Our own sun lounge

Tuesday 30th June. Stezzano 45.65608 9.65285.

We are parked up tonight in a small car park in the small town of Stezzano, half way between Brescia and Milan. The ferry docked this morning at 7am and we were on the motorway by eight o'clock. Originally our plan was to take our time through Italy revisiting Verona and Vicenza and also stopping at a few places that we haven't been to before but we also want to visit our daughter and her family in Saint Etienne and this coming weekend is the only one when she will be at home for a few weeks. So we are pushing on in an effort to arrive there on Friday evening. If all goes to plan our next stops will be at Susa, just this side of the French border and then Tournon-sur-Rhone from where it is a scenic drive along the banks of the Rhone until we turn off toward Saint Etienne.

It was a bit of a shock when we hit the roads in Italy. We've been used to dawdling along in Greece hardly seeing another vehicle as we've generally avoided the main roads and motorways. Even when we have used those roads in Greece there has been nothing like the traffic we've seen today. The exception to this is the ring road around Thessalonika. We've used that road five times now and when we get off it and stop I just about have to prise my fingers from the steering wheel. I can't think of many more scarier roads. The alternative is to drive through Thessalonika itself which is basically five miles of stop start traffic jams which take forever to get through. So we take the ring road for the adrenalin rush.

I read today that there is a heatwave in Spain, Portugal and France heading toward the UK. It didn't mention Italy but it has been unbearably hot here today. There's not a breath of wind so even with all the windows and the door wide open it's like an oven in the van, I think I'll be on the lookout for a 12v fan over the next day or so.



Sunday, 28 June 2015

Vonitsa to Igoumenitsa.

Thursday 25th June. Lychnos Beach near Parga 39.28157 20.43519

We're on a campsite. We needed a washing machine and loo emptying facilities so here we are. It's ok but it would be nice if there were hot water taps in the sinks in the shower block so I could shave in hot water. Oh yes, toilet seats are always a good idea as well and I don't believe they're terribly expensive. Anyway it'll do us for a couple of days before we head off for Igoumenitsa and the early morning ferry on Monday.

We left Vonitsa on Tuesday and drove up to Preveza where we parked last night beside the beach, next to the quayside 38.95008 20.75498. It's a relatively large town and the signs of the current Greece recession are to be seen everywhere. A lot of closed down shops and abandoned construction work. And yet there were plenty of expensive yachts moored in the harbour and some of the cafes and tavernas were doing good business. Recessions don't affect everybody the same but it was clear from the tackle being used that a lot of the guys fishing on the harbour were doing so for food rather than sport. But we liked Preveza and will visit again and maybe spend a little more time there. When we come this way again we'll also explore Lefkada. We met an Austrian couple last night who have been going there for many years and they suggested places to go and told us how beautiful it was. One for next year maybe. We've enjoyed this west coast of Greece and tomorrow we plan to take the water taxi from the campsite to visit Parga which sounds quite interesting.

We're coming to the end of our visit to Greece and it's coincided with the end of the negotiations between Greece, the EU, the ECB and the IMF. It's tragic in my opinion that the vast majority of Greek people, who are suffering hardship of varying degrees already, would be made to suffer even further if the increased taxes and reductions in pensions proposed by the "Troika" are accepted by Tsipras and his government. The Syriza party were voted in last January on a promise of no more austerity and it's hard to see how they can offer any more the to the EU without betraying their promises to the electorate. It's a horrible situation. Here's an article worth reading.


However this ends it isn't going to end well, that's for sure.

Friday 26th June. Lychnos Beach.

Still here at Lychnos, a lazy day for both of us. A beach day for Phil and a laze in the shade for me. This evening we had a meal at the taverna overlooking the beach. Plenty of entertainment from the kids with the water balloons. Our plan to visit Parga has been put back a day because we got the taxi boat timings all wrong but we'll make it tomorrow now the ferryman has acquainted us with the right times.

Just watched some Glastonbury. Mark Ronson - with Boy George! Mary J Blige! Grandmaster Flash! GRANDMASTER FLASH!!!!!!!! And the crowd singing along to Valerie with Amy's vocals. Spine tingling. I think MR owns Glastonbury now. Stayed up a bit longer to watch Florence & the Machine. Err, nothing new, nothing to see here. Bobby Gillespie got it right eh? "Kill all Hippies!"

Saturday 27th June. Lychnos Beach.

We finally made it to Parga today on the water taxi (return journey was a bit choppy, to say the least). It's a very busy tourist town but no less attractive for that and gave us an insight into the Greek medical care system. Phil had an infection so we went to the pharmacy to buy some antibiotics. The pharmacist said he would prefer we went first to the medical centre for an examination so he could provide a specific rather than a generic antibiotic. The medical centre was just up the road where Phil was examined immediately, diagnosed and a prescription given at no charge at all. Back to the pharmacy where the antibiotics were supplied and all for the princely sum of €12. In England we wouldn't be able to obtain antibiotics without a prescription anyway. Phil would have had to phone the doctor, obtain an appointment probably several days hence and whilst the prescription would have been free the whole process would have taken much longer. I think we can claim back the €12 anyway should we be so inclined. So, all praise for the Greek health service.

Sunday 28th June Igoumenitsa Port car park 39.48730 20.25939.

Our last day in Greece. We have our tickets and tomorrow morning at 5am (!!!!!) we will start queueing to board FB Forza bound for Venice.

We've been in Greece since the 23rd of April and we've travelled 2964 miles (4688 miles in total since we left home on March 25th). We've overnighted or stopped for a few days at 38 different places, some of them twice as we travelled back and forth to Zampetas for various jobs to be done on the van. We stopped at just six campsites, the rest of the stops were at tavernas, on beaches or harbours with a few inland stops where required. Greece really is the place to wildcamp. We've never been moved on or asked to leave anywhere, in fact the contrary, we've been warmly welcomed wherever we've stayed.

High points? Well, travelling around in a Motorhome means that virtually every day is different and we love that aspect of our trips. Not always knowing where we will be staying that night and changing plans as we choose gives us a wonderful sense of freedom. Ancient Dion was impressive as was Mt Olympus. The Diros caves were unlike anything we had seen before. The beaches at Stavros (Crete), Ammoudia, Vonitsa were beautiful. The May Day bar-b-q we shared with Bernd and Annie and the family who owned the campsite at Agiokampos is something we will remember for a long time. The small museum at Galaxidi was interesting, showing the development and decline of boat building in the area.

But the thing we will always remember about Greece is the generosity and hospitality of the Greek people. I don't just mean the campsite or taverna owners but everyday people we met who were always helpful when we needed help. Greece is going through a hard time at the moment and I suspect it will get harder before it gets better. This would be an ideal opportunity for me to rant against the previous corrupt administrations here or European bankers and certain Western European politicians. But I won't. It's not difficult to discover why Greece is where it is now and where the blame lies and if you're interested you can do that for yourselves. But I sincerely hope that the austerity programme applied here as some kind of EU experiment ends soon and that the folk suffering as a result see their situations improve.

Next stop, Italy.


Monday, 22 June 2015


Monday 22nd June. Vonitsa 38.93382 20.92021

We stopped for three full days in Ammoudia, the weather was kind to us and it was a lovely beach. Beach days aren't my favourite thing but an umbrella and a couple of loungers could be had for free if you bought a coffee from the beachside bar. Well, we would have bought the coffees anyway so lounged about for a couple of days taking the occasional cooling dip in the sea. The first day we arrived there the surf was up but for the last few days it's been pretty calm and the sea is really shallow for a long way out. In fact it was exhausting walking out to a depth where you could cool off! We are usually quite discreet when we park on beaches or harbours here in Greece but the other dozen or so motorhomes in Ammoudia had the awnings, tables and chairs out and the Italian guy next to us said he had been there for three weeks. I suppose the holiday season proper hasn't started yet and the money the motorhomers spend is appreciated and so I guess they're not going to discourage them.

But we got itchy feet and so moved today an hour or so further south and we are parked up now on the large salt water lake a mile or two east of Vonitsa. There were a couple of motorhomes when we arrived but they have since left and so we have the place to ourselves apart from some folk in a caravan a couple of hundred metres away. There's a taverna at the end of the beach and we'll pop down there this evening for something to eat.

We called in for a beer earlier.

Back from the taverna after a nice meal, well the calamari was a bit chewy but hey, not to worry. The place we are parked gets prettier by the hour.


Here's a map of where we have been so far on this trip to Greece

And here's the weather forecast



Thursday, 18 June 2015


Wednesday 17th June. Twixt Siatista and Grevena. No co-ordinates as will become apparent.

At last the leaking shower has been repaired. The original assessment was that the whole of the shower room would have to be dismantled, a new waste outlet fitted and then the whole thing put back together again, with no guarantee that they might not cause some damage as half the area is held together with silicone. This morning, after another look, they decided to fit a new waste trap from the underside of the van. Cut a whole in the floor and then, after replacing the trap, fit a new piece of wood, seal it, paint it and bob's your uncle. They did a great job with the added bonus that if the waste outlet needs replacing again it's a relatively simple job. I love the way that the Zampetas brothers work. Ok, I've had to hang around for a couple of days in blistering heat but the repair has been carried out and it's cost us less than €100. I shudder to think what it would have cost in the UK.

So, job done and, after a shower each, we set off for the west coast aiming for Parga, Lefkas and Vonitsa, all places that we've not been to before but which Greek folk we've met have said are worth a visit. Too far to travel in one day so we thought we'd stop at a location recommended by our friend Bernd. Described as " refurbished ex campsite, public recreation area". Well, one of us got the co-ordinates wrong. We just managed to negotiate the farm track and get back onto the road without ending up axle deep in mud. The weather broke today and we've had thunderstorms and torrential rain since thirty miles out of Thessalonika and consequently off-road driving has become a little tricky to say the least. Once we managed to get back onto Tarmac we drove back to the village of Lefkopigi looking for somewhere to park for the night. No luck so we set off for Agapi where we stopped beside the river seven weeks ago just after we arrived in Greece. Back onto the motorway and we stopped for a break at a parking area a little way before the turn off to Grevena. And that's where we've stayed! We've never stopped on the side of a motorway before but I was just too tired to drive any further. It's a large parking area, there's hardly any traffic noise and we have a few HGVs to keep us company. Anything has got to be better than the noise at Zampetas. The on-site and off-site dogs sleep all day and bark all night, the planes land and take off from the airport a kilometre away and the compressor kicks in and out from the car wash next door. It's been very, very hot for the last few days and nights and we haven't had a decent night's sleep since Thermopylae four nights ago so it's an early night tonight (not much to do here really) the temperature has dropped a few degrees so, hopefully, we'll be fresh and raring to go again early tomorrow morning.

We are at an altitude of about 750m here tonight and as we passed Veria today we started to climb and passed lots of signs warning of snow and ice and although they're not really applicable at this time of year at about 500m we started to travel through a succession of fourteen tunnels. After coming through the last one we were at 1000m.

Thursday 18th June. Ammoudia 39.23624 20.47955.

All went well last night, in fact if it hadn't been for the torrential rain pounding on the roof it would have been one of the most peaceful locations we'd stopped at for a while. This morning was a lot cooler and overcast and we set off again for the west coast and eventually, as we reached Ioannina for a Lidl stop, the sun broke through but as we rejoined the motorway we could see black clouds in the distance. Sure enough we drove through another storm but as we neared the coast back came the sunshine. We thought the coast here might be a bit windy as we were told yesterday that they held the national kite boarding championships here! True enough the wind is howling and the waves are crashing against the rocks a few metres from where we are parked. A walk to the cafe results in a sand blasting experience. It's warm though so we're not complaining and I think we might stop here for a day or two. There are another half dozen motorhomes here parked between the river and the sea and a few on the beach a few hundred metres away and they all look like they have been here a while, camping not parking and nobody seems bothered. This is a beautiful bay with a few hotels and low rise apartments but the season hasn't really started yet so I guess they're happy for the few euros that the motorhomers bring in. The tavernas are all offering fresh fish so I guess that's our dinner sorted for this evening.

Our drive today along the A2 motorway took us between the Voreia and Notia mountain ranges and the scenery was stunning. The mountains are heavily forested and quite spectacular and we lost count of the number of tunnels we passed through, it must have been at least twenty with the longest at 4.5 kilometres. On either side of the road the mountains ascend to over two thousand metres and at one stage we were a little over twelve hundred metres. It's one of the most picturesque motorways we've travelled on and a lot less expensive than the motorway on the east coast between Thessalonika and Athens. The 120 miles we travelled today cost just €4.80.

It's 6.30pm now and surf's up!! There's about a dozen or so guys out there now riding some three or four feet high waves with varying degrees of expertise. The lunatic fringe catch the bigger waves which eventually crash onto the rocks so they really need to get it right. So far they all have.

Ammoudia beach.

Surf's up!





Monday, 15 June 2015

Corinth to Thessalonika.

Monday 15th June. Zampetas at Thessalonika. 40.50269 22.97095

We spent the last couple of days driving here from Corinth so the Zampetas boys could repair the shower. Our first stop after Corinth was at Thermopylae 38.79707 22.53573 with the spirits of Leonidas and the three hundred looking over us, (plus those of several thousand Persians). Last night we stopped at Larissa opposite the new high tec police station 39.62007 22.40169 and to the list of noises that keep us awake at night ( trains, planes, automobiles, dogs, birds etc...) we can now add people screaming and shouting at the police when they are brought into the station! The car park is massive and it was blisteringly hot yesterday so we parked between a couple of HGVs trying to find a little shade. At 2am this morning one of the vehicles fired up and the driver ran the engine, about six feet from our heads, for ten minutes before finally driving off. The one on the other side was more considerate and didn't start his engine till 6am!!

In an effort to get here quickly from the Pelleponese we've used toll motorways over the last few days which we rarely do. Corinth to Thermopylae was the worst day, 178 miles of motorway, €44.60, ouch! But the journey on the old national roads would probably have taken twice as long and we did make a slight saving at one of the service stations where they had a "buy one coffee, get one free" deal, thus saving €2.30.

The drive from Thermopylae to Larissa was interesting. A short drive to Lamia and then up and over the low mountains before the plains of Thessaly spread before us. The descent took us down to wheat and corn fields for as far as we could see. The wheat was being harvested and the roads were busy, although it was a Sunday, with trucks taking the grain to the mills.

We arrived here early afternoon and Alexandros told us he would start the repairs on the shower tomorrow morning. However all our non-stop driving over the last four days proved to be in vain as he came to see me this evening and said that he had sold a caravan today and the client was insisting it was delivered, after air-con was fitted, tomorrow evening. So we've been knocked back a day. There's not much I can say, Alexandros is delighted to have sold a caravan during these austere times and I'm pleased for him but it means we have to hang around for another day. He thought I looked a little pale so suggested we drove to the beach at Peraia tomorrow where I could have a swim and get some sun and not waste the day in his car park! Reading the latest reports on the Greek financial crisis I think that might be a good idea, coupled with a visit to an ATM machine to top up with euros.



Friday, 12 June 2015

Kotronas to Corinth.

Wednesday 10th June. Mezzapos 36.54221 22.39084.

Everybody thinks they have the prettiest wife at home, as Arsene said a few years ago as a rebuke to Sir Alex. Well, I guess most Motorhomers would say the same if folk starting suggesting they had the best, or better van. I'm sure there are bigger and better vans out there but we're really happy with what we've got. We've had a few problems (who hasn't?) but, touch wood, she's really done us proud so far. Especially today when we've driven around the Mani peninsular and got to places where folk with longer and higher vehicles would struggle. Tonight we are at the tiniest of fishing ports at Mezzapos, arriving at the small car park above the harbour after squeezing through the narrow, winding roads and avoiding the overhanging balconies. But it was worth it. We came here last year but only stopped a couple of hours and the disappointment on the face of the taverna owner when we drove off stuck with us. This afternoon, as we drove past, he gave us a cheery wave. We parked up and gingerly walked down the steep hill to the tiny natural harbour where the sea colour changes from blue to green with the light and you can see the tiniest of fish clearly through the clean water. The local dog of indeterminate pedigree adopted us, the fishermen mending their nets smiled and waved at us and the travelling shop/van sold me a bag of stale, sweet biscuits which I didn't really want for three euros. The dog has a sweet tooth and is now our best friend.

Back to the taverna for a bite to eat and I ordered an Ouzo, they must be hard around these parts as it came neat. I asked for some ice and water, I got the ice but no water. No menu, "I have fresh fish, Greek salad, bread and wine"said the owner. The fish, which we couldn't identify, was delicious. Everything was fresh and tasty for about £18 for the two of us and the view from the terrace overlooking the beach as the sun set was magnificent.

After leaving Kotronas this morning we saw a sign leading to a fortified settlement at Flomohori so diverted to have a look around. There were a few scattered towers, mostly in a state of disrepair but the welcome from the elderly lady in the taverna when we stopped for coffee was outstanding. She pulled tables and chairs into the shade for us, shook our hands and gave us the best cracked toothed smile we've had for ages. The old guys at the next table were tucking into pickled fish, feta, tomatoes and bread with bottles of Tsipouro. It was 11am.

We carried on down the road to the tip of the peninsular past Porto Kagio but the promised ruins (oracle, cave, burial site) were a 4km hike. The car park was adorned with "no camping" signs and the folk in the taverna weren't particularly welcoming so we pushed on again to where we are now.

Some pics we took on today's journey.




The tiny harbour at Mezzapos

The harbour at sunset


Thursday 11th June. Diros Cave 36.64076 22.38299

We are parked up this evening on the beach opposite the Diros Cave. And we have company! Tony and Cheryl, who we got to know through the wildcamping forum have been in Greece for a few weeks now and we have been emailing each hoping we could arrange to meet up. Yesterday they were just a few miles behind us and just an hour or so after we parked up today they arrived out of the blue. It's good to meet folk from home and we spent a few hours today swapping tales and suggesting places to visit.

Before their arrival we had visited the Diros Caves which are believed to extend some 14km inland from the entrance on the beach. Public access is limited to about 1.2km comprising of a 30 minute boat ride, with a guide and a 300m walk. The boat ride through the winding caverns which suddenly open into huge cathedral like caves with stalactites and stalagmites is amazing, the water remains at a constant temperature of 12deg C, is crystal clear, generally shallow although in some parts is 30m deep. The caves were occupied in Neolithic times but abandoned after an earthquake in 4 BC. They weren't rediscovered until 1895 and systematic exploration began in 1949. Considering these natural formations grow at a rate of 1cm every thousand years (I think) it's awe inspiring.

They take H&S seriously before they let you on the boat in the caves.

The Caves


We had hoped to explore more of the Mani over the next week or so but unfortunately the temporary repair to our leaking shower tray has failed so we now have to go back to Thessalonika in order that the Zampetas brothers can effect a permanent repair. We'll set off tomorrow and get there by the middle of next week which was not really part of our plans. Ideally the temporary fix would have lasted and we would have called in a few days before we left Greece on the ferry. But there's not much else we can do under the circumstances so we'll just spend more time exploring northern Greece. The Mani will still be here for us next year.

Friday 12th June. Blue Dolphin Campsite 37.93560 22.86585

One day, probably in about 10,000 years, the beach here near ancient Corinth will be all sand but for now it's just that bit too pebbly for my delicate feet so I have to abandon the idea of a refreshing dip in the sea. I could shuffle in on my backside but there are other folk here and I would look a right numpty. Then again, I'll never see them again so maybe that's an option?

We drove here today on the first leg of our return trip to Thessalonika. We are both a bit sad that we couldn't have continued our tour of the Mani and the Pelleponese but that's the way the cookie crumbles and it's no good worrying about it. Motorhoming teaches you patience and a "no worry, no problem" outlook. It's not like we have to be anywhere in particular over the next two and a half weeks and northern Greece has a lot to offer.

The campsite here only has a half dozen caravans and motorhomes on site at the moment and I feel sad for the family that own the place. There are the elderly grandma and grandad who look after reception, their son and his wife who look after the kitchen and they employ a cook and an elderly guy who tidies up and carries out other non-specific duties. I doubt they are breaking even with so few visitors and I hope things pick up for them later in the summer. They say they have plenty of Greek folk here during July and August but they rarely patronise the restaurant and even walk up to town to collect their daily bread to save 10cents. This is the third time we've stopped here on this trip and each time we leave we all shake hands and I say "see you next year". It's becoming a standard joke now discussing how quickly a year passes!










Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Back in the Mani

Tuesday 9th June. Kotronas Bay 36.61842 22.49443

We are parked up this evening on the harbour at Kotronas Bay in the Mani. We drove here this morning after spending last night at Gythion Bay campsite and the previous two nights at Blue Dolphin campsite. If we could have caught the ferry from Rethymno to Gythio we would have been here three days ago but hey-ho, we are here now with hills and mountains on three sides and the sea in front of us. We stopped here last year but only for an hour or two but this time we've decided to stop overnight. When we arrived there was just one small van here with a German guy who we met at Gefyra on the harbour a couple of weeks ago. Now there are two Slovenian vans and a Belgian making five in total. I always feel when we are in an "unofficial" overnight stop that one or two vans are acceptable but get a bit worried when there are this many. Anyway we've put a few euros into the local economy - 2 melons, 2 coffees and a loaf of bread. And a euro in the box when we lit a candle in the tiny church in the village. The Mani has a harsh landscape, matched by the reputation of the folk who live here. It's not surprising that the words mania and maniac derive from this area which was ridden with blood feuds and only incorporated into Greece properly relatively recently. Many of the old style dwellings remain, tall square towers on hillsides, easy to defend and with a trap door before the exposed roof as a final refuge. But it's a stunningly beautiful landscape and the harbour here, with a small sandy beach,is especially beautiful. It's a working harbour for small fishing boats and the fishermen have been going out laying their nets for the last couple of hours.

When we were in northern Greece very few of the churches were open during the day but as we come further south we find more that are accessible. There are at least three churches in the town here, possibly more because we haven't explored the whole town yet but we went into a tiny church today, not much larger than our Motorhome and it must be hundreds of years old with a typical arched roof (the church that is, not the Motorhome). The frescos on the walls are faded but the glass enclosed icons are shining and bright. We've been to some magnificent cathedrals in Europe over the last couple of years but this tiny church was equal to them as a building to pay homage to Christ. The simplicity of this building, and others like it that we have seen in Greece, has a profound effect on me. When we visit the vast cathedrals in Seville, say, or Granada I always admire the architecture, the scale and the detail and the sheer magnificence of those buildings but I always think that they say more about the folk who built them then they do about the act of worship. Anyway, I'm a severely lapsed Catholic so what do I know eh?

The advantage of parking on a harbour is that I get to do a bit of fishing and catch supper. Well, that's the plan but the fish have been uncooperative again so it's kebabs and salad tonight. I hope the local fishermen have more success!

A couple of days ago at Old Corinth we were told to expect thunderstorms for a couple of days and then, by the middle of the week, the temperature was due to rise to 45deg. We haven't seen or heard any thunder but it absolutely hammered it down with rain last night about 1am and, of course, we had all the roof windows open. By the time I had closed them we were a little damp but I felt especially sorry for the folk on the site in tents, they must have been completely washed out. Today it's been warm and sunny but storm clouds have threatened and it looks like it's raining on the mountains all around. The forecasts I've looked at aren't showing any 45 deg temperatures fortunately.

Little fluffy clouds. (Big fluffy clouds actually)

Working boats at rest

Two's company, five's a crowd.



ps. A policeman in a shiny blue and white 4X4 just drove up and down the harbour and had a look around. I jumped out and gave him a cheery wave, a big smile and wished him kalispera. We're either ok for the night or he's gone off for reinforcements.


Friday, 5 June 2015


Thursday 4th June Koutouloufari 35.30772 25.39283.

We are parked up today in the village of Koutouloufari in northern Crete feeling a little marooned. We left Stavros on Tuesday morning and headed back to Rethymno with the intention of buying our return ferry tickets to Gythio. Parking at Rethymno is crazy so I abandoned the van outside the coast guards office and enquired as to where the nearest ferry agency was. They didn't know but had a number which they dialled for me and I spoke to the agent who informed me that they wouldn't have the schedules for the route until Thursday. So we came here to Koutouloufari to meet up with old friends. We've been here seven or eight times before but not in the van and although it's a bit touristy it still has a lot of charm. We met our friends and we've had a couple of days not doing much at all apart from eating and drinking. Yesterday we walked down to Hersonissos to the harbour and called into the ferry agency there so see what our options were. They phoned Anek lines for us and confirmed that there was no information on the sailing we wanted until today. So this morning I phoned Anek lines to be told there would be no information until tomorrow after 2pm. We have two options now, if the ferry is sailing on Saturday we will return to Gythio, if not then we will take the Friday night sailing from Heraklion to Piraeus, Athens, which is not really where we want to go. But hey-ho this is Greece so we don't panic or fret. On reflection it probably wasn't the best idea to come to Crete. Whereas we saw few tourists on the mainland the season is almost in full swing here and it's very, very busy. After weeks of having the roads and beaches to ourselves all of a sudden it's the complete opposite. I think we'll come back here in the Motorhome but earlier in the year, say April or May before it gets too busy.

Friday 5th June.

Talking to folk around here it would seem that Anek lines are a bit of a standing joke. When we tell them about the difficulty booking a ferry back to the mainland they all say "Ah, Anek lines" and smile and shake their heads. I phoned the ferry company just after 2pm today and they said there would not be a ferry from Rethymno to Gythio this Saturday but there might be a ferry from Kissamos to Gythio.

"When will it sail?" I asked.

"We don't know" they replied.

"When will you know?" I enquired.

"Maybe you phone back at 6pm and maybe we know then. Or maybe not."

So I booked on this evening's sailing from Heraklion to Piraeus. Leaves at 9pm and gets in at 6am. From there we'll go back to the Blue Dolphin campsite at Corinth for a day's domestic activities before heading back south again to Sparta. We're both looking forward to getting back to the mainland and resuming our tour, albeit a day's driving further north than we had planned.

At Heraklion now waiting to board.