Monday 8th May.
We are parked up this afternoon on the harbour at Petalidi (36.95925 21.92849). We left Finikes campsite this morning after a stay of 13 days while we waited for Phil's ribs to heal a little. They're still giving her a bit of gip but much better than they were. We'd had a look at the map over the last few days and thought that Koroni might be a nice place to visit, not a long drive and a castle and a monastery to visit together with a few shops and waterfront cafes and tavernas. We bade farewell to Spiros, his wife and the folk we had met at Finikounda and set off. A pleasant drive through the tree covered hills and we turned off the main road to drop into Koroni. Half a mile later and we were almost stuck; we stopped just in time before descending a ridiculously narrow cobbled alley which was missing more than a few cobbles. As we reversed a small van pulled up next to us, the driver stuck his head out of his window and suggested we wouldn't get too far in the direction we were pointing! " Back up, turn round, top of the road turn right - or is it left? - then turn right, or maybe left again. Manchester United?"
"No, I'm an Arsenal supporter"
"No problem, I like Arsenal too! Have a nice day."
Five minutes later we dropped in to Koroni. "Hang on, we've been here before. It's all narrow streets and nowhere to park". Sure enough, we stopped here two years ago -http://withnoparticularplacetogo.blogspot.gr/2014/06/a-close-shave-and-haircut.html
We parked up before we reached the point of no reversing and walked down into the town, which is very pretty and "compact" to say the least. I went to the same barbers I went to a couple of years ago, he didn't remember me but why would he? The haircut had increased in price by 25%! €10 today but he trimmed what passes for a moustache.
With no chance of stopping in Koroni we set off up the coast road toward Kalamata. Looking on maps the roads are a very thin white line and look a bit scary but in reality are plenty wide enough for us and in reasonable condition. Another half an hour and we arrived here at Petaldi, a small town with a harbour and a quayside for us to park up and spend the night with free WiFi courtesy of the Piraeus Bank just up the road. Of course a quayside means I can get a bit of fishing in which I did this afternoon with no success. The Greek guy 20m away took great delight in shouting for my attention and giving me a big smile every time he caught a fish. This carried on until I ignored him and he got bored.
We've got the quayside to ourselves tonight. Just us and a few folk strolling along and kids playing round the van, it's all very peaceful with the lights from Kalamata twinkling at us from across the bay with the mountains behind.
Tuesday 9th May.
Did I say peaceful? We were parked 40 metres from the church and yesterday afternoon the bells rang the hour a couple of times so we weren't too bothered but from 11pm until we left at 10am this morning they rang every hour! We heard every chime so we probably had about four hours sleep last night. We've been near church bells before but never this close; another lesson learnt.
So this morning after picking up some bread, tomatoes and yoghurt from the local shop we set off for a Lidl store at the other side of Kalamata to pick up some cheap basics. We try and support the local shops and supermarkets whenever possible now but sometimes, unfortunately, we need a Lidl. Our plan then was to drop down the middle finger of the Pelleponese toward the Mani, hugging the coastline when possible until we found somewhere to park up. Kardamyli looked good, a small village with a few shops and tavernas and a tiny harbour, just the kind of place we like. We negotiated the narrow streets through the village and dropped onto the dirt track leading to the harbour, we could see there were already a few motorhomes there but hoped we could squeeze in. We reached the harbour and there was just one place left, but.... A group of French motorhomers had their tables and chairs out and were settling down for their lunch; one of them jumped up, waved his arms and said "No room, no room!". I stopped, looked and thought, well, if you moved your lunch table there would be room and on another day I might well have had the conversation but it was pretty cramped and I really couldn't be bothered having a discussion regarding the etiquette of wild camping.
A ten minute drive down the road and we arrived at Aghios Nikolaos where we stopped two years ago. It's a very pretty coastal village with a tiny harbour and a car park up against the sea wall. We parked up (36.82305 22.28316)and went to the Bar Niriides opposite where the owner said we could stop as long as we wanted, gave us the WiFi code and served us two refreshingly cold beers. We're the only motorhomers here, as we were a couple of years ago, although there are quite a few hire cars with English tourists from the resort of Stoupa which is just up the road. The village is set up for tourists with half a dozen harbour side tavernas and a few houses and apartments to rent although it's a little early in the season yet so it's still a bit sleepy, which suits us. Fortunately the church is a half mile away and we haven't heard a bell yet!
Here's a pic looking across to the harbour at Petalidi:
This looked like a beautiful spot to stay today but we couldn't get the van down there;
This guy is in the car park with us and he's been working on his boat all day:
I had a really nice shot lined up and then these two yellow babies turned up!
Here we are:
Views around the village: