Friday, 15 April 2016

The Sixth Week

Sunday 10-4-16

We woke up at half six to thunder and rain hammering on the roof.  I got up and looked at the rain hammering down on the sea.  It was Sunday morning so decided to do the only thing any civilised person would in these conditions, I went back to bed.  I woke again at half ten.  The rain had stopped and bacon and eggs were frying in the pan.  We’d found bacon in the supermarket the day before.  We didn’t plan on moving today so after bacon and eggs we read and idled about.  The only excitement was a dog chasing a lamb down the bank behind us, the lamb shot off down the road and the dog went back up the bank.  After lunch we walked around the bay and found a better parking place for tonight so when we got back we drove less than a mile down the road and pitched up again. 

Maps were consulted and a very rough plan devised for tomorrow.  Drive south for 20km to the island of Lefkada. The sun set through our door.

Wild Camping at Mitikas Beach, Greece. N39.18874 E020.53292

Monday 11-4-16

We left our beachside spot about nine and drove into Preveza, popping back into Lidl to buy beef (it was on offer so we’ve filled the freezer with it) At Preveza you can take a tunnel under an estuary so you don’t have to drive a long way around a lake, it was 5 euro but worth it not to take the diversion. To get to the island of Lefkada we drove along a causeway connecting it to the mainland.  Darth Garmin sent us down a tiny road just as we got on the island and we had to shout a farmer out of his field to move his moped which blocked our way.  You get a sense of how small the road is if a moped can block your path.  From the town of Lefkada we climbed up into the hills and got a great view of the causeway we’d just driven over. 

We’d decided to go around the island in an anticlockwise direction so we headed to the west coast.  Looked in on a beach in a bay but it seemed to be owned by a taverna, so we drove on a few more miles and found Kathisma Beach

Turns out that in the summer this is one of the busiest beaches on the island.  We could see why, a long stretch of beach and the most turquoise water I’d ever seen.  At this time of year we had it to ourselves.  At the far end a km from where we’d parked up were some small apartments, closed up for the winter.  I pointed our Wi-Fi signal booster gizmo at them and got onto their wifi.  Bonus!  So we walked up a down the beach looking at the sea, Liz got a bit close at one point.

 We watched the sun set over the sea and had the trip favourite for dinner, beef bourguignon.  On the internet I found a photo of what the place looks like in the summer, full of cars and sunbeds.  Tonight there was us and our van.

Wild Camping at Kathisma Beach, Lefkada, Greece. N38.77736 E020.60064

Tuesday 12-4-16

As we left in the morning I stopped on the hill above the beach and took a photo from the same place as the one I’d found taken in the summer.

We’d read of a really nice beach at Gialos which was only 20km down the road so that’s where we headed.  Off the main road we had three km of very small twisty road and then around a corner we found out that the road had fallen down the hill.

So that was Gialos beach out, this was the only road to it.  We consulted the big map of Greece and saw a few places on the west coast that looked promising.  So back down the small twisty road and then across the island we trundled.  We saw only one car in 30 km.  The small quayside town of Syvota was pretty and everyone said hello to us as we walked around the quay.  But the only place to park the van was right in the middle, a bit too in your face for the locals for my liking.

So we drove on and found another quayside, not as pretty but very quiet and we had a nice parking at one end for the night.  It had our name all over it. 

As a bonus, next to the van on the quay was a tap, which worked.  So full water tanks tomorrow.  Lunch was tomatoes and feta cheese and for dinner I’d prepped a kind of experimental moussaka in the slow cooker that morning (beef mince, diced onions & green peppers, slices of aubergine, no white sauce) and it’d been simmering away all day.  We had a walk, sat in the sun and watched a big fishing boat dock then unload its catch straight into a waiting lorry.  Early beers and experimental moussaka (success) then early bed.

Ellomeno Quayside, Greece. N38.72059 E020.72439

Wednesday 13-4-16

I started the day by filling up the water tank.  Time to break out the long hose we’d bought in Italy for a bargain price of 4 euro, which we needed for the 1st time today as the short hose we’d brought with us from home wouldn’t reach the tap.  Fail, it leaked. It seems it was designed to leak, it’s one of those hoses that dribble water out so as to water veggies and flowers.  I felt a bit foolish as we watered the quayside.  So that went in the bin and we set off for the causeway taking us back to the mainland.  In the big town, just as you cross, I spotted a hardware shop.  13 euro later I was the proud owner of 15m of non-leaky yellow hose and a Hoselock connector. We turn right and headed south.  We stopped at three or four places that looked likely for an overnight, the best being a small beach at the end of a little road.  But this had been taken over by men erecting fish farm cages in the sea and their machines and kit had turned the place into a builder’s yard.

  We dumped Van Brian next to a taverna and walked around a really nice town called Mitikas but it was all pedestrianised and narrow streets, nowhere to hide a van. 

We filled up with diesel for the 1st time in Greece, 98 cents a litre. The old Greek chap who served us got a good dose of “Lizzie Greek”, this confused the hell out of him.  He pointed at our map and we just nodded.  But he let us fill our water tank with his garden hose and we shook hands. So on we drove, big miles today, ending up at the end of a long spit of land at a beach called Tourlida.  A late lunch, a snooze and then walk. 

I’ve got a longing for grilled lamb chops and chips, like you get in Greece.  Two things we can’t really cook in the van.  But all three of the restaurants near us were fish restaurants so it was back to the van for pasta and a sauce made from the leftovers of my moussaka experiment.  We need a campsite soon too, we’ve done 12 nights since we last paid for a campsite, but we have a full laundry now.  Liz making a mess of the nice Italian campsite man’s washing machines was a long time ago.

Wild camping on Tourlida Beach, Greece. N38.32610 E021.41902

Thursday 14-4-16

We looked in the ACSI campsite book and found one just after the bridge at Patras on the Peloponnese.  So I stuck its coordinates in Darth Garmin and off we went. A quick call in at a supermarket to pick up bread and milk, where we saw a UK registered car, the first we’d seen in Greece.  Then onto our 1st motorway in Greece, we were doing 70mph and it felt like we were flying.  After a couple of hundred miles of small, twisty, bumpy Greek back roads this felt odd.  Patras is huge and I expected the sat nav to take me straight through the middle of it, but it played ball and kept us on the ring road. All the way to the stunning Patras bridge which links the mainland to the Peloponnese.  Now I have a bit of a bridge fetish, we’d travelled miles out of our way in France just so we could spend a night overlooking the Millau Bridge.  This one didn’t disappoint.

 We did get charged 13.20 euro for using it and I managed to scrape Van Brian’s bumper at the toll booth in my excitement to get on the bridge. But well worth it. Then a bit more new motorway, funded by the EU so the signs said. And then a mile or so to the camping.

It was lovely and we managed to confuse the nice campsite man with our English and French passports and Liz throwing random Greek phrases at him.  All the pitches were in the shade under olive and Black Locust trees (looked that one up in my iSpy book of Trees & Shrubs) and we had a lot to pick from. 

There was us, a French camper van and a man on a bike in a tent on the whole site.  Liz hit the poor old washing machine with two huge loads.  I sorted out connecting the van to the electric hook up, it’s a good job we carry numerous adaptors as it took three different ones to eventually get us some power.  The water heater went on and we revelled in the joys of 240 volts.  We had a walk down to the beach which turned out to be tiny and pebbles.  Then it was pastis and nibbles outside the van sat at the big table, 1st time out this trip.  I cooked outside and we ate outside (chicken in mushroom sauce with rice) and then I did some serious damage to a 1.5 litre bottle of generic Greek red wine.  Smashing.

Campsite Kata Alissos, Galio, Greece. N38.14970 E021.57748

Friday 15-4-2016

And now it’s today.  We got up late, breakfasted outside, bacon and eggs making a welcome return to the breakfast menu.  Did jobs, emptied a full loo, took in dry washing and then I laid on the bed for a rest and fell asleep.  At dinner I woke up and decided to get this literary masterpiece written up.  So that’s where you find me now, hammering at the keyboard in the shade outside the van.  Thanks for reading and let us know if you enjoyed it.  Cheers The Van Brian Crew.

Below are the updated facts and figures for 37 days away.


  1. Enjoying your blog. We did the Peloponnese two years ago, loved every minute of it.

  2. Oh wow Kev, and an early blog this week, fabulous, you are both an inspiration. Keep it up and keep enjoying it, one day it will be my turn, soon I hope. What's amazing is you've been away 37 days and the cost is so low and the freedom, not stuck in a blooming hotel. Have you not had any baclava yet? Speak next week :)

  3. Another Great write up for Van Brians Weekly Gazette.Like the Archway Pics.

  4. Like the Archway Pics . You both look well (in spite of the foreign food)Had to publish under my Utube title. ? Don't know why.

  5. Hi Kev - have been following your blogs, enjoying them enormously. Hubby Phil has just started a new one for this year. Last 2 have been Wordpress but it now needs Windows 8.1 and it was too late to upgrade it. So, have opened a Blogspot one. First posting went fine. A posting on Facebook was available for all to see. However, the 2nd posting was just tagged below the first and there was no posting on FB telling everyone that it had been posted. I notice that your's have the most recent at the top, with later ones coming below. I wonder how you managed this. Phil's language is ripe as he struggles to understand the instructions on blogger. If you want to befriend me then it's Jane Brooks (profile photo shows me in a grey jumper) Many thanks Kev. Blog is Bessie goes East.


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