07/22: The Mounties Always Get Their Man

The Mounties Always Get Their Man

As the Canadian Mounted Police slogan goes.  Well the Pindos Mountains have certainly caught us.

08/07/22:  Aoos Lake

The Pindos Mountains are new to us.  We avoided the are when not too far away before as we are snow adverse … well Jez is.  Despite his 3 litre engine he has rubbish traction.  We headed up off into the mountains to one of the few official motorhome parking spots.  No services, but over looking Aoos Lake (reservoir). There were several water points on the ascent; the 3rd was a spring water standpipe with a constantly running tap.  We needed to do laundry, so having checked with the local potato farmers who were working, that it was OK to take water, the twin tub came out.

Only a further 6km to our parking, which was just as well.  Our fuel gauge was reading nearly a quarter full, but with the climbs, now declaring low fuel and no range!  On arrival, I considered getting the clothes horse out, but the heavens opened!  So all the laundry was hung on knicker chandeliers and hangers to dry inside the van.

We have both been a little incapacitated (more tired than usual) with the heat and some high humidity …. But up here the temperatures plummeted.  So cool that, after showering, we dug out long trousers and layers … we’d not anticipated wearing these until the U.K.!  It is super green and lush here after the scorched grass of lower slopes.  We were joined by a CH camper and a D big yellow off roader …. But super quiet …. To cold to sit outside and enjoy the peace though!

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Think this is one of the most beautiful / unusual places ever to get the two tub out.  One of those, where the Pix don’t do it justice.

 

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Undulating potato fields.

 

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One of the few Greek official motorhome parkings.

 

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The guide books states the weather is changeable up here … yep, we had hailstones! 

 

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Walk around part of the reservoir.

09/07/22:   Zagori Area in the Pindos Mountains

A lazy start.  Obviously too late up as Stella had peed, not once, but twice, in the van! J got up first so got to clean the floor!  Lucky him.

We refilled our tanks at the potato field spring water.  Free wheeled down most of the mountain, watching the fuel range exceed 300 miles lol!  Filled with under €2 diesel.  Filled with under 1 LPG at another garage … both much cheaper than other garages we passed. Happy us.   Popped into a large supermarket for 2 days worth of provisions, but they didn’t sell ice!  Why ever not?

We headed to a viewpoint over Vikos gorge, but after a wrong turn, a tight turn around, crunching gears, and brushing overhanging branches, I had a melt down!  I didn’t like the narrow slope of the correct route.  Think I’ve had enough driving for today.  Quick look at Park4Night … where’s the nearest decent over night spot?  Parked up, I took COS along a track for a good walk and then a shorter walk for Feck … with separate walking I’m getting lots of steps in. 18,000 today.  Lovely wooded scenery and some stunning rocks.  

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10/07/22:  Konitsa Stone Arch Bridge and Gifts

After yesterday’s aborted route, I looked for a destination along a main road.  We really struck lucky with Konista.  We parked up right next to the 1871 stone bridge.  Marketed as the largest single stone arch bridge in Europe, it really is stunning.  And in a stunning location.  We had a hot and sticky 1.8km climb up to the town square along some stone lanes.  Normally Stella walks beautifully on the lead but today I had to tow her.  I tied her to Oscar so he could pull her up, which worked for a while.  When she lay down and refused to go further, I had to carry her.  Coffee, ice cream and a glass of wine were my reward!

On the descent, I managed to loose J, who had been walking behind with Feck.  I thought I’d been walking slowly enough and had checked at most turns, but I still managed to loose him.  I back tracked, but no sign, so decided the best bet was to return to the van … J could ask for directions to the bridge.  This episode highlighted the need for communications … J’s phone is with Vodafone who are now charging for roaming under their fair usage policy.  We have switched his phone to airplane mode as he keeps getting sales calls.  And he didn’t have any glasses to see to be able to turn his phone off airplane mode, so I couldn’t get through when I tried to ring him  Morals of this story:  walk slower, check at EVERY turn and J to carry the Greek phone.

With us all safely back at the van, J and 4xK9 napped whilst I knitted and nattered.  Firstly to a chap who had followed a girlfriend to Manchester.  We talked politics, media and about how great the mountains here are.  He came back with some stalks of oregano for me to hang to dry.  My other chat was with a priest who had come to take part in name day services at the nearby monastery.  We talked about knitting and how precise the Greek vocabulary is.  His gift was his email address and should we ever need anything.  Just how lovely are the Greeks.

Supper was at the hotel over the bridge watching the evening sun’s rays on the bridge and mountains.

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Konista stone bridge.

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The Priest was waiting for the 4wd to collect him and colleagues to save the 5 km walk to the monastery.  Not every day you see priests squished into a pick up!

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Watching the sun set over the bridge.  Mellow.

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11/07/22:  Aoos Gorge Walk & Voidomatis River

Konitsa Bridge crosses the Aoos River; the first 70 km are in Greece, the remainder in Albania.  We had stayed on the Aoos Lake a few days before. With an early start to beat the heat, we walked 6km out and back along the gorge.  It would have been 5 km each way to the monastery but it would have been too far for the pup (and us!).  Stunning rocks above us and in the gushing river.

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We had considered heading to the coast north of Igounmitsa for our last night, but decided it would probably be busy and wild camping may be difficult.  And we were loving the mountains.  We settled on a destination, but stopped and stayed en route at a lovely big flat space by an arch bridge on the Voidomatis River. 

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Bridge by our parking.  Watched a a large flat bed truck with a digger on board attempt to drive forward and then reverse over it … totally ignoring the 5 ton weight limit. 

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Walk to the ruin bridge 

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12/07/22:  Ferry or Not to Ferry

It was an easy run down to Igouminitsa for the 2130 hrs ferry.  We found shade to park up whilst we walked 4xK9, packed, did admin etc.  We had “lundin” (lunch/ dinner as named by the Aged Ps) at about 3.00 … unremarkable but plenty left over for takeaway.

We headed for the port to collect the tickets … or so I thought!  The muppet at the Minoan email booking office had emailed me the revised booking ref, but not added James or a pet friendly cabin.  There was availability for a normal cabin, but 4xK9 would have had to go into the onboard kennels.  Now, our sensitive soul Oscar bolts past Stalag 17 so not quite sure what being an inmate would do to him … or the other 3.  So having parted with an additional EUR295, we are now booked for tomorrow night  … with a pet friendly cabin.  Just wish all 4xK9 could be friendly!

Concerned about being moved on by police, as it is high season, we elected to stay at Camping Drepanos.  When we drove over in February, we stayed here to spend an evening with Brian.  And our last night in Greece is here … a nice symmetry in that.

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13/07/22:  Money’s Worth

We got out pitch fee of EUR30’s worth.  We spent the morning showering, laundry, cleaning, toilet cassette cleaning (YUK!) and filling with fresh water.  With nearly full diesel and LPG … all is good with the world.  At 2.00 p.m. we had to move off pitch, so set up in the shade to relax until time for the second attempt at leaving Greece.  Presented my revised ticket at the port, all good.  Strange system here.  J had to walk through the pedestrian passport control.  I drove round, presented my docs and was inspected … well, the van was.  Then collect J on the other side.  On board … yippee … Italy next.  

 

14/07/22: To Sleep or Not to Sleep

Another not brilliant night’s sleep for me as CO2 shared my narrow bunk.  What’s wrong with joining J???  I’d brought the MacBook on board so have been able to charge it with my EU cable.  Blogging, knitting, reading, napping and showering … pretty boring really.  It is a long old crossing.  We are not due to arrive in Ancona, Italy until 17.30.

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15-21/07/22: Travelling through France

We had an appointment with a vet in Cremona Italy for Stella’s puppy boosters and had lost a day with the Minoan ticket mix up, so had to drive till midnight on arrival in Ancona.  Smart new vet facility with a dog walking area and pet washing outside!

Then another long driving day to Antibes.  We stayed at Camping Les Treilles, as it is handy for James’ daughter Sarah and family.  Only EUR22 per night without electric.  But being the silly season, it is busy and we felt very closed in.  James went for lunch with Sarah, children and one of his son’s who is also staying.  I stayed back with 4xK9.  Feck is unpredictable and we just didn’t want him to be around the children, they cannot help but move suddenly.

After 2 nights on the campsite, we headed up to see Geo and Anetta in the Jura, with an en route overnight at Chirens.  Anetta and Geo were part of our lockdown family on the Turkish Campsite.  They have renovated part of the farm house adjacent to his parents with mostly recycled and up cycled furniture.  Fabulous.  We met at Lac des Vouglans (know I’d camped here as a child with the Aged Ps): swim and ice cream.  Then stayed over at their house, nattering, drinking and a great BBQ.

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Anetta and Geo’s.

Early start to get to Cluny for another vet appointment.  EUR61 for 4xK9 worming tablets is the best price I’ve very paid.  Very thorough vet assisted by 2 interns.  She spotted Corrie’s dew claws and clipped them.  Rather than shove the huge tablets down their throats, she burried them in Royal Canin pate.  Dogs happy and I was happy with the price too!

Overnights at Mailly le Camp and then our usual Bergues.  Tunnel on 21st and arrived at Woodlands Farm Chichester just after lunch.  Car collected and washing on at Aged Ps!  Trip complete.  Wouldn’t bring an unknown dog back with us again, unless Oscar approved!

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