Sunday 5th June.
Yesterday afternoon we had the massive parking area at Messolonghi to ourselves, we were parked on one side of a long U shaped harbour and apart from a couple of cafe/bars there was nothing beyond us. During the afternoon we watched families strolling up and down, ages from tots to grandparents. The whole parking area where we were was maybe 120m X 30m and there were about four or five cars parked up. But by nine o'clock the place was rammed, a seemingly endless procession of folk walking up to the cafes and the place full of cars, scooters and motorbikes. At about 11pm a couple squeezed in front of us and tapped on the window to ask if it was ok if they parked so close. I said I had no problem but remarked upon how late they and others were to be coming out for a Saturday nights fun. "We come out late in Greece" she said with a smile and in perfect English, "I hope we don't disturb you too much". To be fair it wasn't too noisy, we were only woken up a few times as folk left at silly o'clock slamming car doors and wishing each other goodnight.
This morning the car park was empty again but for a couple of makeshift stalls selling fresh fish. We couldn't resist and walked over and bought a couple of unidentified fish which looked about the right size for us for €4. Whilst they were being cleaned for us the fishmonger asked where we were from and, inevitably, when we told him he said, "I've been to England - Dover, Cardiff, I like England". He explained, with the help of some sign language, that he had left home aged thirteen and joined the merchant navy, travelled the world, jumped ship in Australia where he spent a year and he still had a twinkle in his eye. Lovely man.
We left Messolonghi and drove for a couple of hours through one of the less picturesque areas of Greece. Mind, that's relative I suppose, we've been spoilt by the spectacular scenery of the Mani and the Pelleponese for the last few weeks. We needed a campsite and initially thought we would stop on the island of Lefkides but the site we looked at was on the bottom of the island and it would have been a long drive there and then back again on the only road so we sacked that plan in favour of the campsite where we are now, Camping Kalamitsi, just a few miles north of Preveza (38.97390 20.71604). The campsite is ok, clean and tidy but despite moving pitches I still can't pick up the WiFi; just about the first time on a Greek campsite that decent WiFi hasn't been available and as we're in the middle of nowhere there's no 3G either. We were a bit restricted as to where we could move on the site as although it wasn't too busy when we arrived we were told that a group of sixteen Dutch motorhomes were arriving during the afternoon. There are a lot of Fig, Lime and Apricot trees on the site and it's been great fun over the last couple of hours watching all the Dutch vans arrive with the later arrivals having a few problems squeezing in between the arboria.
We barbecued the fish we bought this morning (delicious) and then sat outside with a glass of wine watching the entertainment as mentioned and a colony of ants building a new nest a few feet away. Then one of the Dutch guys complained about the ants on his pitch and the odd-job man here came back and sprinkled some powder down. He came over to us and asked if we had a problem, we said no but then he spied our ants and although we asked him not to bother he insisted in giving our new friends the treatment. I know it sounds daft but it's been a bit distressing watching all these ants going through their death throes.
We catch the ferry from Igoumenitsa back to Ancona on the 9th so tomorrow we'll head for Ammoudia, just 50kms further north, and stop there for a couple of days before finding a campsite near the port for our last night in Greece.
Sunset last night in Messolonghi looking across to the Marina:
The sixteen Dutch motorhomes have all arrived now and they've started playing boules, two groups - men and women, I guess mixed boules is not their game. Anyway, the German guy next to us who has been here a few days watched for a while and then called me over. "Do you know why they are playing boules?" He asked. "Err no." I replied. "Because they can't play football, that's why they're not at Euro 2016! Ha Ha!!" Ouch.
The bamboo tunnel to the beach at Kalamitsi
Monday 6th June.
A 45 minute drive this morning brought us to Ammoudia, a beautiful and popular location for motorhomers. We are parked on a spit of land with a sandy bay on one side and the river Acheron on the other (39.23627 20.47909). In Greek mythology the river Acheron is one of the five rivers of the underworld, the river of pain or woe, and is the ultimate punishment for the souls of the damned, especially muderers! However we will sleep easy knowing that the entrance to Hades is a few miles further upstream and the ferryman probably won't bother with us anyway as we are nice people. That's the theory anyway but if there are no further blogs I've obviously slipped up somewhere, probably in a previous life.
We are sharing this spot with about eight or ten other vans and although they are no facilities here other than a shower tap on the beach for water most folk usually stop for a few days. We had a coffee in the nearby cafe this morning and bagged the WiFi password so we're good for internet access and emails for a couple of days. The local villagers don't seem to mind out presence, most folk spend a few euros at least in the local mini market and two of the local taverna owners have been round inviting us to their establishments. One who said we were welcome to empty our toilet cassette in his facilities. The thoughts of going out for an evening meal lugging our toilet with us is an image we can't now unsee!
Whilst the weather has been glorious for the last few days the forecast is for thunderstorms tomorrow with a possibility of some flash flooding so we may be carried off to the underworld after all.
Hades is about five miles upstream:
Not too many folk on the beach: