Tuesday 31st May
We are parked up now on the Blue Dolphin Campsite a few miles around the bay from Corinth (37.93556 22.86605). The campsite is a little tired but we are just a few feet from the shingle beach and it's only a short walk into Lecheo. We were talking last night to Peter, the owner, and he like other campsite owners we've met here on Greece confirmed that he was seeing less and less customers and they were spending less and less money in the restaurant and bar. He acknowledged that the site needs some money spending on it but he's not too optimistic for the future. We asked how his wife's dress shop was going which she opened in Corinth a couple of years ago and he said she had closed it a few months after H&M opened a store nearby at a new shopping mall and she couldn't compete with their prices. We were a bit embarrassed as we had visited H&M yesterday where Phil bought a few bits and pieces! Mind, we eat in the restaurant every other day so we're trying to help in our small way.
Having visited four garages over the last two weeks to try and get my handbrake repaired I asked Peter yesterday if he could recommend a garage which he duly did; a garage specialising in brakes no less. I won't bore you with the details but yesterday we visited a total of six (6!) garages, one of them twice. It would have been seven but we couldn't find that one. At the end of the day the problem had been diagnosed but the various garages either didn't have ramps that would lift the van, or if they did the ceiling was too low and in one case they were just plain disinterested. I returned to the campsite and the Dutch guy in his van next to us mentioned the garage he had been to that day for some repairs to his van. He offered to show me where it was and off we went again only to arrive and find the workshop closed for the day! But the guy on reception told me to phone in the morning to make an appointment with the service manager. This I did but was confronted with a series of options, in Greek, aargh! I found Peter gave him the phone and after he spoke to the service guy he presented me with two options - make an appointment for 8.00am tomorrow or go now and wait for anything up to two hours before they could have a look at the van. Well, we had nothing else to do so off we went. We waited an hour in the luxurious Alf Romeo showroom ( the receptionist made us coffee) and then there was some action and two hours later, and €100 lighter, we were on our way. And that, we hope, is the end of the handbrake saga. Halfway through the day yesterday the guy at the Renault garage said we needed a new piston/calliper (?) for the rear o/s wheel (or n/s if you are in Greece). He said a new one was €300, he'd just bought a reconditioned one for somebody else for €150 but the guy didn't have any more. At the garage today the mechanics took off the offending part, stripped it down, cleaned and greased it and it's now working perfectly.
By the time we left the garage we were starving so we called at a shop on the way back and bought these beauties. I've no idea what breed of fish they are, sea bream possibly, but they were delicious.