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.