Thursday 26th May.
What a great lifestyle we are enjoying at the moment. When I say we're lucky to be doing what we're doing and visiting some of the most beautiful places on earth Phil corrects me and says, no - we're not lucky, we've worked for this. We are fortunate but we're not "lucky". However you call it - lucky, fortunate, blessed, whatever, it certainly works for us.
We're parked up this evening on the harbour side at Ermioni (37.38818 23.24774) and we've just watched the light change from a brilliant blue, sunny sky through dusk to darkness. The sea is like glass with barely a ripple and the lights from the shops and tavernas reflect their blues, greens and orange across the water. We live in a space barely eighteen feet by eight feet and yet we never feel cramped. Contained within this relatively tiny space is everything we need or, for that matter, want. We have a house back in England full of "things" we have accumulated over the years and I don't think either of us miss any of them. The only thing we do miss is friends and family but with the various forms of communicating these days barely a week or so goes by when we don't talk with or have video chats with our family and we'll be home in a month or so to give them all a hug.
We stopped here last year on a Wednesday night and we were woken the following morning at about 5.30 to all manner of banging and clattering. When we looked outside we discovered we had parked in the middle of the area used for the weekly market! We made a note of this and today arrived in the afternoon as the last of the stalls were being broken down so we should be ok for a good nights sleep tonight, until the kids arrive for the school and kindergarten opposite tomorrow morning. We met some other motorhomers recently who said they didn't care for Ermioni because it was a bit too touristy. We don't see it like that. It only has one or two souvenir shops and they double up selling other bits and pieces to the locals and the tavernas have less menus in English than we've found elsewhere. What they do have here are two quays, one for the high speed hydrofoils that ferry passengers between the islands of Hydra, Spetses, Poros and as far as Athens, and another where small freighters load and offload a bewildering array of goods.
Looks like nobody wanted these so I guess they'll be going to tomorrow's market somewhere:
Friday 27th May.
We left Ermioni this morning and as we drove a mile out of town Phil spotted a garage with a sign outside proclaiming that they spoke Dutch and English. A quick u turn and I went back where the owner greeted me with a cheery hello. I explained the handbrake problem and told him someone had already looked at it in Areopoli and their verdict. He listened patiently to me and then asked if I spoke German! Unfortunately nein so he shouted to his wife on the balcony and gestured that I should explain my problem to her. I shouted up, she shouted down, a couple of mechanics came out to join in and after much nodding and head shaking it was explained that he couldn't help because he needed to get under the van and my van wouldn't fit in the workshop. But, he had a friend on the other side of town who could help and one of his mechanics would drive there and I should follow him. This I did and we followed the guy back to Ermioni and out the other side with the Sat Navs pleading with me to "Make a u turn when possible". We arrived at garage number 2 which did have a high entrance and an inspection pit, unfortunately there was a concrete beam running above the pit about six feet above the ground. Mechanic number 1 slaps his forehead, scratches his ear and then asks me to follow him again. Mechanic number 1, now with mechanic number 2 on board, drives up the road for half a mile or so to another garage where they have an inspection pit with nothing above it but clear blue sky. Over it I drive and mechanic number two descends with a torch and a few minutes later asks for a screwdriver. Five minutes later he climbs out and says the rear brake pads are shot because I must have driven at some time with the handbrake on. I need new rear pads and the handbrake cable adjusting. Hmmm, can he do the work? No, because he doesn't have the brake pads. Can he order them? Well, not really but if I want to drive to Argos for them and bring them back he would do the job. So I now have two different explanations for my useless handbrake. Tomorrow we are going to Corinth so I will ask our friend Peter on the campsite there if he knows a mechanic.
After the morning's excitement we set off for Galatas where we are now parked up looking across the bay to the island of Poros (37.49514 23.45489). We like Galatas because the old rough and ready tavernas here serve a snack, meatball, cheese, half an egg, a tomato or some other delicacy, when you order a drink. So we did a little taverna crawl which meant we didn't have to cook lunch but we did need a siesta to sleep off the beer and ouzo! Poros is only a few hundred metres opposite where we are parked and the waterfront is now lit up with all the bars and tavernas. We could take the ferry over, with or without the van but we expect that there won't be much there to entertain us and the prices will reflect the fact that it is a tourist island. If anyone from Poros is reading this and I'm doing your home an injustice, I apologise.
Panoramic view of Poros:
After our little siesta today I went outside for a stretch and....... yes, that is a man up a mast!
So, tomorrow we set off to the Blue Dolphin campsite just outside Corinth. If we're lucky we'll get a pitch right on the beach and we'll stay for a few days. You never know, I might find a mechanic and get a third opinion on the handbrake.