945-948: And Up Into the Hills

945 – Thursday 4th January 2018:  Waiting for the Weather

Another day of pottering waiting for the weather to improve so we can head for the hills.  We moved out of the strong winds and then back again as they abated…
K:  I found the trees far too gloomy with no view … fortunately the wind died down so we moved to ‘our’ pitch.  Funny how you can become quite territorial
We were treated to supper by San and Dave. Their permanent home is in Bulgaria and they gave us loads if good tips of places to visit. They also kindly invited us to visit them there in the Spring! Many thanks to you two…
 
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 ‘Our’ pitch sunset view.  Worth moving back for!

946 – Friday 5th January: Interesting Drive to Interesting Places

Our first run for eleven days…a bit creaky but what a lovely place to run…..  Plentiful water supply so showers were in order – and then adieu to San, Dave and Phil, although we’ll see Phil next week on our return to Elea – definitely one of the best ever wilding places… 
 
The road through the hills to the Temple of Apollo (about one hour and a half) had suffered badly from recent rains – rocks on the road, subsidence, slippery mud, etc. But quite safe.  Very narrow towns and villages – but well worth the drive – the Temple is amazing – K’s photos do it justice! 
 
We could have stayed overnight in the Temple car park but decided to Jezzy on to Adritsiana…  Well, with vino at €2.00 per reasonable glassful – could we resist? Our dry night became a little less so… never mind – most of next week will be completely (mostly) alcohol-free – a real challenge but necessary after the Christmas and New Year festivities. We treated ourselves to a local meal out – with Oscar in attendance – €30.00 in total. (We found out in the morning that we had won £50.00 in Premium Bonds – yippee – good old Ernie!!!  
 
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Traffic Jam.  Not the only road obstacle encountered.  Fallen rocks, mud and some narrow towns.
 
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Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae.  Wow factor as soon as you enter the big tent.

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The stones outside may be replaced within the temple at some point; they are all numbered with the location where they fell.

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A Walk around Andritsena / Andritsaina and at EUR2 apiece, our dry day went out of the window and led to this…
 
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… Supper out.  Once they had taken our order, one of the chaps disappeared and came back with a shopping bag … know it’s fresh.

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 Andritsena is known for the tree fountain.  We’d not found it until I looked across from our restaurant window and there it was!

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A lovely kooky town with lots of stone crumbling buildings and narrow cobbled streets.  And people living here, with normal shops!

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Liked Andrritsana a lot … checked it out, a massive 300m2 house with 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, in the centre of town and ours for all of EUR95 before we begin negotiations!  But what would we do all day … every day???
 

947 – Saturday 6th January:  Karytaina / Karitena

No morning run – but all brekkied up and on to Karytaina. It’s the feast of Epiphany which is more important (or as important) than Christmas in Greece.  A much easier drive and the town was buzzing because of the feast… We were extremely lucky to get a parking place in the town centre where we will overnight – we had to wait in Jez until a space became free.  It may well be busy until much later…  Lovely steep walk up to the castle with magnificent 360 degrees panorama. Coffee in town – and moist orange cake!  Plenty of tourists around – what a nice place to stay…we are so lucky in our chosen lifestyle…  Quiet overnight once the charming church bells finished tolling the hours – our parking was lit up brightly all night.
 
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The castle was visible from about 20km away.

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Views from the top of Karitena … miles of rolling hills.

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Oscar there are treats at the bottom to entice you down.  Didn’t take him long to decide.

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Byzantine Church with castle.

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More crumbling stone buildings and narrow roads, but definitely more touristy than Andritsena.  No proper shops!  Cafes and restaurants.
 
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Fabulous views from our parking…
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948 – Sunday 8th January:  Megalopoli & Stemnitsa

We drove from Karitena to Megalopoli to see more Grecian remains – it was closed but we walked around the perimeter fence – not a lot to be seen but a work in progress…  An ‘interesting’ drive to Stemnitsa – fallen trees almost blocking the road and snow!  A very slow drive indeed with no chances take…..multiple z bends as well.  Into the town – the overnight parking was through the centre – very narrow streets, cars parked – mega busy due to Epiphany feast weekend. A large easy carpark alongside the road, but few using it.  We’ve been told by a Greek, that the Greeks do not like walking and will park as close as they can to save walking!  Sound familiar?  Think the Brits are often like this too.   A folklore museum – the town was for centuries the the premier metal smithing place. We had previously lunched in Jez.  
 
To the Lousios Gorge for our night stay – Scandinavian serious z bends all the way down with cars coming up on a very narrow road – some reversing and wiggling.  Not to mention the rock fall and subsidence!  
When we arrived at the parking it was  busy and remained so until quite late – some people stay at the monasteries atop the gorge – maybe some ‘courting couples’ also. What a nicely old fashioned word – do girls and boys still ‘court’ each other?  We hope so….. our courting went on for some years before the ‘question’ was popped.
zzzzzzs in absolute blackness until the moon came over the mountain.
 
 
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Megalopoli:  Massive carpark, but closed for restoration.  The guide book described it as ‘one of the most extensive and least touristy sites’.  9km of walls.  The amphitheatre seated 20,000.

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OK, so we ended up on a more minor road than intended … we saw a lot trees down …

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… experienced another traffic jam ….

P1150575… and thankfully the snow plough had been through some days before us.
 
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Stemnitsa.  Another touristy town with lots of Greeks meeting friends and family for coffee.

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The gift shops were all selling jams, noodles and some fruit drinks.

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Viewpoint looking back to the town.  It is divided by ravines.

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Lousios Gorge – our over night parking view from Jez.  I sat on the door step of Jez with my knitting in the sun.  There may have been a beer!
 

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