Friday, 3 June 2016

The Thirteenth Week

Saturday 28-5-16

So it was Saturday and we were at a camping.  Five minutes down the road was a small harbour with four or five tavernas.  We had a walk around and decided we’d have a Saturday night meal out.

We bought our bread for lunch, the Greeks sell it by the kilo, half a kilo is a small one and one kilo is a huge one.  I then got my ice coffee fix at the site café.

I noticed they’d made a compass on the patio in mosaic, a nice touch.  What was odd was they’d made East at the top of the compass.  Is this a Greek thing?

 After a few beers in the evening we walked back into town and chose a taverna, or I should say the old lady who ran it chose us and virtually dragged us in.  But it turned out she was right to be so enthusiastic, we had a cracking meal.  Liz got a photo of me enjoying it.

We had toasted bread with olive oil, tzatziki, eggplant salad, fresh bread, chicken souvlaki, fresh grilled sea bass with Greek salad, chips, two ice creams, ½ a litre of red wine, ½ a litre of white wine, bottled water, a Greek coffee and a bag of a dozen oranges from their garden to take home with us.  The bill came to €35.  We left a good tip.  Back at the van we squeezed the oranges and put the juice in the fridge for breakfast.  It’d been a good day.

Camping Semeli, Greece. N37.14938 E022.89241

Sunday 29-5-16

We paid the camping man €30 for two nights camping and left in the morning, but only after a breakfast of cold freshly squeezed orange juice.  We climbed up from the harbour and around the bend, we stopped to look back.

 Then it was onwards north.  At a big town called Paralio Astros we did well and found a supermarket open at lunchtime on a Sunday.  We bought a huge loaf (1kg) and some bottled water.  The beach there was accessible and you could park next to it but it was busy and looked like it could be noisy at night.  Another 10km on we found the harbour town of Kiveri.  Much more to our taste.  At the end of the harbour was a carpark and we dumped the van at the far end in the shade of some trees.

 There were two other motorhomes here as well as us.  There was a posh beach café with wicker settees and arm chairs and an old taverna with the classic Greek Restaurant chairs.  I wanted to do the old one but Liz wanted the posh one.  She got her way and we probably paid double for our coffees.

 The harbour was busy in the evening but quietened down by the time we were ready for bed.

Wild Camping at Kiverio Harbour, Greece. N37.52802 E022.73118

Monday 30-5-16

Today was a retail day.  We did a very busy Lidl in Nafplio where we listened to an English couple arguing by the meat fridges.  Then we found a service station selling LPG, the first one we’d found in the last 30 days, the tanks were getting very low so this cheered me up.  Finally we found diesel at one euro a litre, the cheapest we’d found in Greece, this also cheered me up.  At lunch we reached a beach called Kathonas Beach.  A spot under some trees looked ideal for an overnight stop.

But just as we were sitting down to a tomato and feta salad a Police lady came to us and said that it wasn’t allowed to camp overnight there. This is the first time we’d had this in 82 nights away on the trip.  So we finished our lunch and moved on.  We looked at a crappy beach carpark a few miles on and were considering a campsite when we spotted a place on the map we’d read about.  So its coordinates got fed into the gps and off we went down the west coast.  We ended up in some shade by a beach at Salantio. 

So no siesta for me today but we’d found ourselves a nice spot again.  In the evening we got yet another Greek sunset to watch from the van.

Wild Camping at Salantio Beach, Greece. N37.44692 E023.12556

Tuesday 31-5-16

After coffee we did a bit of exploring.  A short walk behind the beach, where we were parked, was an empty hotel.

It closed down in the 80’s and looked like it’d been built in the 60’s.  It had a huge swimming pool, an amphitheatre, tennis courts and crazy golf.  All now overgrown and abandoned.

 Today was our 30th wedding anniversary so that evening we sat outside with a beer and a wine and gazed lovingly into each other’s eyes by candlelight.  Well we had beer, wine and a candle so that’s nearly true.

Wild Camping at Salantio Beach, Greece. N37.44692 E023.12556

Wednesday 1-6-16

The decision was made to move today over coffee in the morning.  As we backtracked up the hill I stopped to take a photo of the beach and the old hotel.

We didn’t know then but today would be a long one.  The Peloponnese is the shape of a cow’s udder with four teats hanging from it, we were driving down the west side of the far right hand teat. We headed south down the teat and found nowhere to stop.  Then around the bottom, where the milk would come from, then up the East side of it.  We stopped at likely looking places but there was no shade, today was a scorcher with not a breath of wind.  An example being behind this little church. Great spot, nice and quiet with a stunning view, but in open sun the van was soon 36 degrees inside.

At lunch we stopped at this old taverna, the quality of the sign writing was what drew me to it.  Tabepna is Greek for taverna if you were wondering.

Next we had some fun on a bit of road with one lane closed and dug up.  They’d put temp traffic lights on it and as they turned green we followed a Honda 4x4 through the roadworks.  About 500m along the narrow single lane an old bloke in a tatty white car came from the other direction.  He didn’t seem to understand what a red light meant.  He wouldn’t reverse back and we sat there while the lady in the 4x4 argued with him.  Long enough for the lights to turn green at the other end and two other cars to appear behind the old man’s car.  The lady in the 4x4 tried to squeeze by the old blokes car while he waved her on, it was obvious there wasn’t enough room and she put a nice scrape down the side of her car.  Liz got out and backed me up a way till I found a gateway to reverse into.  The traffic passed me and we carried on.  The old bloke had just driven off and left the lady to survey the damage to her car.  

I was a bit hot and bothered and made the executive decision to find a campsite with some shade.  This we did in an orange grove in Epidavros after a marathon 87 miles.  We found out later that the campsite is in the Cool Camping book for Europe  and could see why, it was very chilled.  Feeling cooler and a lot more relaxed (4 cans of beer later) I knocked up a stir fry with noodles for dinner.

 It was a success and got the thumbs up from all the Van Brian crew.  I give you sweet and sour chicken with sweet peppers, cashew nuts and egg noodles.

Camping Nicolas, Epidavros, Greece.  N37.63039 E023.15784

Thursday 2-6-16

During yesterday’s travels we’d picked up a single ring gas burner and some spare gas canisters.   The butane one we’d brought with us was great but we couldn’t find replacement gas cartridges anywhere in Greece. This new one was typically Greek in blingy gold.  It got tested for breakfast coffee and was a great success.  No more heating the van up in the morning by having the kitchen hob lit.

Liz wanted lemons and so I was tasked to get them.  All the low hanging fruit had been picked so I spent a while swinging my pole at high level fruit.  With some success may I add?

 We walked into town and bought bread and a small leg of lamb for tea, which blew the budget today.  Also the obligatory iced coffee had to be done.  It came with free cake and as I think I’ve said before I’m a big fan of free cake.

On the way back I lost my bearings and we ended up going through the remains of an ancient theatre This only reinforced my total apathy for ancient ruins and tourist sites, they just don’t do it for me.  I’d sooner see the towns and the people of Greece as they are now, not as they were a long time ago.  Plus they don’t give you free cake at archaeological excavations.  Back at base camp the feeding frenzy continued with a tomato salad lunch.

We chatted to a French couple on the site who we’d met at Kotronas Harbour a few weeks ago.  We gave them gps coordinates of places we’d stopped since we last saw them, they’re going around this Peloponnese teat in the opposite direction to us.

Camping Nicolas, Epidavros, Greece.  N37.63039 E023.15784

Friday 3-6-16

And that brings us to today, Friday.  This site has the best Wi-Fi connection we’ve had since leaving home so this week’s blog gets uploaded today.  Tomorrow we’ll be leaving and heading north, we’ve a few beaches and harbours to check out for overnight stopovers.  

I was thinking about what we needed that we didn’t bring and what we haven’t used.  I think we got what we brought with us about right, everything’s got used. We did leave some of the stuff we’ve brought with us in the past at home, like outdoor awning carpets and wind breaks.  

In the past on different trips we’ve taken pushbikes, electric bikes, a scooter on a rack and a motorbike on a trailer.  But those were only three week trips at most.  They never seemed to get used enough to warrant them.  So this time we didn’t bring anything like that.  It’s now clear a small scooter on a rack would have been very useful on this longer trip.  Some of the wild camping places we’ve stopped at have been remote and we’ve left them to get food and supplies after a day or so.  With a scooter we could have stopped longer.  Also the ability to park outside a town and have a good old tour about it on the scoot would have been great.  So the next time we do this length of tour I think I’ll be sticking something like the Honda SH125 on the back of the van.  I’ve got a design for a simple rack in my head that I can easily get made back at home.

We’ve now been away for 87 days and the costs have levelled off to £36 a day, which includes everything, fuel, ferries, food & drink and camping costs.  Which I don’t thinks too bad.

Camping Nicolas, Epidavros, Greece.  N37.63039 E023.15784

Cheers, the Van Brian Crew.

Below are the updated facts and figures for 87 days away.

1 comment:

  1. Great photos - brings memories of our autumn trip flooding back. Good to hear that you have not had the GPL issue we encountered, I think we must have been unlucky. Jealous of your MPG! Maisy is a thirsty girl, on a good day, about 22mpg. Keep blogging!


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