Saturday, 14 May 2016

The Tenth Week

Sunday 8-5-16, Monday 9-5-16, Tuesday 10-5-16 and Wednesday 11-5-16

Our wild camp next to the beach at Neo Oitylo Seafront was nice but we’d been there two days so it felt like we should move on.  From here we had two choices, continue south on the small west coast road and then hit the bottom and try to return north up an even smaller road on the east coast.  Or take a red road on the map, from here to the east coast across country.  After considering things like food stocks, beer stocks and Liz’s bad back, which seemed to be made worse by my enthusiastic driving around hairpins and bumpy roads, we opted for the latter.  

Up and over the spine of the Mani peninsular to a town called Mavrovouni near a bigger town called Gytheio.  It had an open supermarket, which was handy as it was Sunday.  We thought we’d be eating what remained of some frozen pork meatballs that really just tasted of mint, and neither of us cared for.  As an added bonus the buy 4 and get 2 free packs of Amstel were stocked, so we grabbed a couple of them too.  

We’d passed a campsite coming in to town and decided to go back and see what it was like.  It suited our simple tastes and we pitched up.  All the pitches were named after Greek gods and after careful consideration I settled on Hercules.

The Camping Meltemi is in an olive grove that ends at the sea.  They cater to wind surfers with racks for their sails and boards. 

The campsite is named after the Meltemi wind that blows across the bay.  Everything on the site was old and homemade but freshly painted, clean and tidy.  I was most impressed with their "Internet Wagon"  

I had my head shaved by Liz for the second time, the last time in Southern France, this time we got the setting wrong and I was left looking a bit like someone I wouldn’t want to meet down a dark alley.

 After an hour of being there a chap came over and loudly introduced himself in German as Herman.  I said I was sorry but I didn’t really speak much German apart from ordering a bier or saying I love you, neither being much use when talking to a 70 year old man in baggy shorts.  Not a problem for Herman the German, he spoke English too, lots of it very loudly.  Apart from his volume we got on well with old Herman, he was stopping on site for two months and made a point of shouting at everyone.  I said we might stay a week while Liz rested her bad back so then, every time he walked by, he’d shout at me enquiring as to whether her back was better.  He always seemed very happy when I said it was getting better.  

One day Herman asked me if I liked meat.  I said I did, very much so.  He said I should go to town, find the butcher and order fillet beef from him. He’d get some in for me the next day and I could then pick it up.  He said it was only 22 euro a kilo whereas at home he paid 45 euro a kilo for the same meat.  I said I would look for the butcher, I couldn’t really tell him that that would blow two or three days food budget for us for one meal.  After a couple of days I thought it would be nice to walk down the beach to town and do a bit of shopping, we needed coffee and veggies.

Just as I turned off the beach into town a big nasty dog decided I was fair game and followed me snarling and barking.  I regretted not having a walking stick, I thought if it were to attack I’d have to wrestle with it bare handed.  As it happened a little girl on a balcony told it to shush, in Greek and it left me in peace.  I eventually ended up at the same supermarket, so of course, as well as the coffee and vegies, I felt obliged to buy 12 more big bottles of the cheap beer.  As I paid I remembered I didn’t have a vehicle in the carpark but had to walk back with it all.  Nobody stopped to help the tubby, sweaty, red headed Englishman as he trudged 3km in the mid-morning sun back to the campsite.  

Liz spent mornings and afternoons on the beach tanning and resting her back, I wandered about and read. 

All very chilled, but on Wednesday Liz felt better and we decided to leave on Thursday, We’d backtrack to the West side and then continue South down the coast of the Mani.  I went to say goodbye to Herman the German and found out, after seeing his number plate, that he was an Austrian.  Such a shame as Herman the Austrian doesn’t have the same ring to it.  He said he was from Linz, the only thing I knew about Linz was that Hitler had gone to secondary school there, I decided not to mention this.  

Also on the night before we left an English couple turned up in a motorhome, the first GB we’d seen for 8 weeks since a Welsh couple in Italy.  They’d been touring since last September and had done Spain, Morocco and Portugal before France, Italy and over to Greece, like us.

Camping Meltimi, Maurovouni, Greece.  N36.72928 E022.55327

Thursday 12-5-16

We’ve got some documents we need to sign that are in the UK, so we spoke to the campsite lady and she said it wasn’t a problem for us to have mail sent there.  We said we’d be back in a week and left Camping Meltimi.  We bought food, beer and diesel, which, added to our full gas tanks and full water tank meant we’d got a full van.  The crapper and grey waste tanks were empty too.  This meant we could disappear for a week with no need of the services of a campsite or shop.  We drove back over the hills to the West coast, through the largest town around here called Areopoli, which wasn’t very large at all, and down to a white pebbled bay near a town on the map called Diros, that as far as we could see didn’t exist at all. 

This is the start of an area that’s called the Deep Mani.  As it turned out it was the next bay on from the one that had a tourist attraction called the Diros Caves.  Liz swam out to sea and could see into the next bay, she saw a coach and a carpark.  We were quite happy in our bay at the end of a dead end road. 

Two other motorhomes were here, an Italian couple that we’d seen four weeks ago in the North when we camped under olive trees in a tiny cove and a pair of very large French people who got their BBQ out at lunch.  By the evening the strip of road next to the beach was hosting six French vans, one Italian and us.  We sat outside watching the sunset and listening to the sea on the pebble beach.

Wild camping at Diros Bay, Greece. N36.64063 E022.38301

Friday 13-5-16

I had a battle with some mozzies during the night and they won.  I got up very early and read.  It was cool and I figured I’d have plenty of time to catch up with my sleep the next day.  I watched the Italian van leave at 6am, he very politely crawled down the road so as not to wake anyone.  And the rest of the day just flew by.  Naps, sun, reading, lunch, naps, reading, sun.  We enjoyed our beachside spot. 

And then before dinner I sat outside the van with a beer and went a bit sunset crazy with the camera. 

Greek meatballs filled us up and then we had an early night.  It’d been a tiring day.

Wild camping at Diros Bay, Greece. N36.64063 E022.38301

Saturday 14-5-16

This morning we decided to leave the beach and head further down into the deep Mani but we didn’t intend coming this far.  We did stop at two places people have camped at before.  The first was a tiny beach at the end of a tiny track.  But some Greek potholers, or cavers as they described themselves, had got there before us.

We talked to them and they said we could park up next to their cars and tents but we thought it was a bit crowded for such a tiny beach. One said he was off to Yorkshire next month to go caving with a group called Hidden England.  The next place was at a town which was a struggle to drive through and the only place to park was already occupied by another van so we carried on south.  Over the last bit of the mountain range that runs down the spine of this peninsular.  The roads were small and the scenery rocky, it reminded me of the Outer Hebrides in Scotland, even the plants and grey sky took on a Scottish theme.

We eventually ended up at the end of the road, we then drove down the beach in front of a Taverna to its car park facing out into the bay and harbour.  We couldn’t go any further.  We were at the southernmost tip of mainland Greece and the second southernmost point in mainland Europe after Tarrifa in Spain, I’ve been there too and this is nicer.   

Thats us on the left...
We spoke to the lady at the taverna and said we’d eat there tonight if we could stay in the car park.  Not a problem and we could use the sun beds in front of her house too.  The sun came out and we decided this was good enough for us. So that’s where we are now, the only way to go now is back up north.  And that’s what we’ll do tomorrow.  But we have a Saturday night out in The Taverna Porto in Porto Kagio to look forward to first, but only after a bit of a snooze.

I might get into trouble for this one....

Taverna Carpark, Porto Kagio, Greece.  N36.42829 E022.48696

Cheers, the Van Brian Crew.

Below are the updated facts and figures for 67 days away.


  1. Herman sounds a right laugh! Enjoy the taverna tonight and I hope Liz's back is almost cured. Here in Calpe the sun is shining brightly and it's very, very hot. Looking forward to next week's blog and keep away from large dogs Kev :)

    1. Cheers Julie, hope it's not too hot for you. I'm praying for lamb chops to be on the menu but have a feeling that fish will will be the choice of this taverna :)

    2. Defo Kev, give me lamb chops any day before fish, but whatever it is enjoy and don't forget to take a pic :)


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