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.