Another Canine Odyssey

Woodlands Farm and Stationary

21/07-28/07/22

Maddy didn’t come down to see us as her boyfriend had caught Covid.  So far, touch wood quickly, we’ve not had it and did not want to risk ourselves or passing it to parents and other family who are immune suppressed.  Sad not to see her, but better safe than sorry.

On Saturday, Stella’s new owners drove down to collect her.  They kindly took us out to lunch to say thank you.  What blew us away was on top of that, they arrived with 3 large boxes.  1. Filled with toys, cool mats and treats for CO2.  2.  Filled with yummies from Waitrose … things we may not get easily in Crete.  3.  Filled with booze!  Incredibly generous.  Just as well they did come for her as J was getting attached … on being asked he had said he would keep her.  So much for our no more dogs rule!  Feck, incidentally, was collected as we arrived in the UK on the M25 … not the live carriageway, of course, but at the services.

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Watching for deer.

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Card from Stella’s owners.

J got his 4th booster.  We ate with the Aged Ps.  BBQ at my sister’s.  And David and Karen (also part of our Turkey lockdown family) came over and stayed 3 nights:  walked, ate at a nice restaurant in Chichester and generally drank too much.  David is the man who ‘has a glue for that’ so he helped with a few maintenance jobs too :).

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Another K9 Odyssey

28/-7-04/08/22

We will be leaving Jez in the UK, but will need to get back to Crete by road as we have CO2 to take with us.  So I flew to Chania to fetch the Greek car and the camping kit.  Thank you to the train strikes  (NOT), J had to drive me even though there’s a perfectly good direct 1 hour train service from Chichester to Gatwick.  I had 4 nights in our Crete house to clean and shut it up for being empty.  Friends had used the house and left just before I arrived and there was just a bit of laundry to finish off. I got to see Gillian, Karl and June and Nicky and Rob.  I’d thought I would have had an empty suitcase coming over.  Paid for when I planned to fly back on my own after returning the van solo to the UK in Sept.  No refund on cases … so I’d offered to bring back anything for friends.  I did some ordering and shopping for us too.  So much so that my case was overweight with HP sauce, stain spray, Worcester sauce etc!  Had to borrow a small cabin bag from the Aged P’s!!!

Cretan Animal Protection had two smallish dogs for me to bring over.  Both absolute sweeties.

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Johnny who had cruised from house to house for left overs.  Had been fostered by a family who all cried when he was collected.  

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Little Alma.  Had been rescued from a couple who were alcohol and drug addicts.  They used to batter her.  When she was removed from their ‘care’ she had to spend weeks in vet hospital.  So nervous that cowered initially, but got used to us and is a real poppet.  Loves cuddles.  She’s available for adoption if anyone reading this is interested.

Gillian had been thinking about coming back to the UK to see her mother and sisters in and around Portsmouth and friends. She suggested joining me on the road trip.  Excellent … spent a lunch with her booking her onto the crossings.

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First ferry.  First Campari.  Daytime crossing from Chania to Pireaus.

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First ferry for dogs.

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Overnight at an AirBnB.  A wander with wine and beer, followed by a few red wines on our balcony.  Bit later to bed than panned!!!

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Coffee stop required after leaving our basic accommodation.

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Ferry No.2  No cabins to be had.  We bought airplane seats at the port.  I paid EUR20, Gillian EUR9!!!  Why????  She’s a certain age! LOL

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Ferry No.2.  Campari No. 2.

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Picnic lunch.  Dogs had been refusing their dog food (kibble supplied by Cretan Animal Protection) so I mixed out left over salmon and sardines with it … which they sucked off and left the biscuits.

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Pre supper drinks!

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Dogs starting to vomit bile and slime as soooo hungry.  They woofed up bread, ham and cheese!

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They also woofed up half a burger each!  The other half was given to Johnny’s new owners in case he refused to eat what they had bought.

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DFDS Calais.  Got here in under 22 hours from Ancona.  Both drove and stopped a couple of times for a nap.  

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White cliffs of Dover.  Always think first time visitors must be disappointed.  No Campari, but Gillian did force down a glass of white!

 

 

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!

07/02: Warring Dogs not Greek Gods!

Dog Relationships

Animals, just like people take others into instant aversion.  I remember Nicky telling me in my youth that my face clearly declared I did not like the new girlfriend of a friend … it became known as my Nadine face.  I’ve learnt to look more impassive since.  Oscar has no such sensibilities … he’s extremely growly and snappy at Feck.  Feck is still very reactive and grumbly, even at little Stella when she wants to play with him.  Poor Feck, don’t think he was ever allowed to play.  We had to re-think how we manage the situation after a particular nasty incident where I was about to walk Feck on the lead with the 3 other loose.  Oscar attacked F resulting in J having received another warning nip (and small bruise) from Feck.  And Feck slipping his collar.  Really concerned we would not be able to catch him, I dived into the van to fetch his food bowl with biscuits.  Talking and moving calmly, i followed him around for a bit … he sniffed always several paces ahead and I rattled his bowl.  Eventually food got his attention and he was captured.  Just call me the dog whisperer!

J and I agreed our stress levels were too high and we needed a better routine.  So now O and F are tied opposite ends of the van.  A dog is held back as the other enters or leaves the van.  Not ideal for either, but it works.  CO2+S are walked separately to F, and if all out together J follows with F behind so O can ignore him!  We did contemplate bolting for the UK to offload poor F, but we calculated it was only 19 days … and we could manage. We brought 2 large dogs back in April last year, whilst a handful, worked.  We have said 4 dogs never again.  Oscar is too unpredictable with whom he will accept.  Oh, I’ve just heard that I’ve 2 dogs to bring back when I fetch the Greek car at the beginning of August!  It’ll be fine, she says hopefully… I won’t have Oscar with me!

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Feck.

A Mini Mainland Holiday

02/07/22:  Departing Crete

Having collected Hercules / Feck and our very expensive fully comprehensive insurance from our broker ( €1891 with discount, and excess of €1650, and only 3rd party for the U.K.), we finished cleaning the house and loaded the car.  Good friends are arriving with 3 boys to use the house on 17th so I even managed to work out how to pull out the sofa bed without getting frustrated and therefore asking James to step in!  Friends of friends are using the house in September and when empty, the fabulous Spiros, our cut-it-all-back-hard gardener, checks on the house and the water metre.  This latter is important … water is fed along overground black pipes along side roads etc to properties.  At least it is for agricultural water.  Traffic and age means the pipes spring leaks. Our landlady had a leak racking up a several hundred euro bill one summer.  We’ve already had a small leak, which was, of course €70 to fix.  Again proof of my trades standard price theory, Spiros messaged … he’s upgraded and reset the irrigation system …. €70!!!

At the airport parking we swapped and unloaded into Jez, leaving the Suzuki for Ian, Mel and 3 boys.  We paid for the parking up to when I collect the car on 28th July from 7th February.  Thrown in 3 car washes at €10 each, the total bill was under €200!  Bloody marvellous, really. CCTV, gated and 24 hr surveillance and it met our insurers terms.

We sailed from Heraklion at 2100hrs just over 2 hours drive away.  Not our choice given Chania port is on our doorstep.  But our choice to have an overnight crossing with a cabin on this date. Didn’t have time to eat on the way or to pick up cabin fodder, so we took it in terms to stay with the dogs or go and eat.  J didn’t stray far from the cabin and had pizza in the bar.  I wandered further and found myself in the waiter service restaurant… no surprises there then!  I was tempted, but given J’s lack of exciting meal, I compromised with the self service restaurant!

With carrying a bag containing wine (we had managed to organise that!) and hanging onto 4 dogs, we couldn’t manage dog beds.  Approaching a flight of stairs and an escalator, we had to do th manual climb, but a member of staff took the heavy bag from me, placing it moving escalator and another chap at the top lifted it back onto my shoulder.  Clever!  I shall remember that.   It was also good to shower after a busy sweaty day!

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I didn’t get much sleep as COS bunked up with me and they’re narrow bunks!  I finally got around to doing some planning for our 9 days on the mainland.

 

03/07/22:  We’ve Been Here Before

6.30 a.m. disembarkation.  It feels early.  It is early.  I did have to pull over for a 20 minute nanny nap after a while.  Our destination was UNESCO Osios Loukas monastery. It had a full page spread in one guide book so I was surprised we had not visited it.   However, we had!.  It was one of those ‘we’ve been here before’ moments.  I’d just not marked it off in the book.   But we’ll worth the €4 to spend nearly a couple of hours wandering around.  Rather than stay in the car park, we drove for 15 mins to a chapel.  It had trees (shade) and a few benches, if rather hard.  Perfect with the dogs as I could let 3 off the lead and walk in various directions.  A much needed easy afternoon.

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Just look at the quality of the road on the mainland  where are the potholes and Oleander growing over?

 

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Osios Loukas monastery.  When we were here in Feb 2020 when the almond blossom was out.

 

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COS walking with Mount Parnassos in the distance.

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Our afternoon and night stay.

04/07/22:  Not Leaves, but Wild Fires De-rail Planning

We both exercised under the shade.  Well, I stopped when I was completely fed up with the wind wrapping my Pilates mat around me!

Our plan was to explore parts of the mainland new.  We set off up towards Thermopylae.  But our best laid plan was thwarted by a wild fire.  J said there is smoke.  No a cloud surely?  You just don’t recognise clouds as we’ve not seen one for ages.  But as we past a couple of farmers on tractors with large water containers, who were diverted off the road along a shortcut, and the cloud looked blacker, I conceded to J.  Needless to say our route was blocked and we were now heading South towards Itea.  We’d stayed here for a couple of nights in early 2020 just before setting off for Turkey, so didn’t really fancy it.  A busy large car park with 4 barking dogs, err no thank you.

We found a lovely peaceful spot past Itea on the water’s edge.   We watched the sea planes come in low, lower and touch down on the water, to collect a belly full to douse the fire.  I’d expected big suspended sacks of water.

Another easy afternoon, although not what planned.  I started the blog post on my MacBook.  Low battery warning.  No problem, I’ll plug in my new charging cable …. No, it won’t work with my 3amp EU to 3 pin plug adaptor.  One dead MacBook!  Grr.

Stella and Oscar came for a swim …

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Yep, definitely looks like smoke from here.

 

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Tractor with water diverted directly to fire.

 

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Smoke in the distance all afternoon and the next morning. 

 

05/07/22:  Left at Lefkada

The sea planes were back at it by breakfast so we surmised the road would still be blocked.  Forget Thermopylae … we will follow the main road along the south and the up the west coast Lefkada … an island joined by a causeway.  Motorhoming friends regularly stay there out of season, so we thought we’d take a gander.  The guide book implied the west coast was quieter, so wither we headed.  Yes quieter … due to the roads … narrow and bendy.  Had to reverse a few times to let SBR, RO, BG, NO and A cars past.  We didn’t like the look of the busy parking spots I had identified … all far too touristy and not great for 4xK9.  Let’s just get off the island!  We stopped and looked at the map.  Unless we went back exactly the was we had come (err, no thank you), we had to carry on heading S to pick up the main road (and we knew it would be a better road as it is orange on the map!) to return north to the causeway.  It had been a long driving day for all of us and was going to be another couple of hours!  About half way back up, we were coming down a mountain and and spotted a sports field adjacent to the water at Vlycho … they usually have parking and it did.

3 of the dogs played in the stagnant, smelly and brown water by us, so I had to walk them along the road to a fresh water area and chuck them in one by one!  I was rather smelly and wet too by this point.  J decided that after all my driving, I should not have to cook.  We were also feeling rather frazzled as Oscar has made it clear he WILL NOT accept Feck.  The grumbling and growling continues and twice now, O has had F by the scruff of the neck and shook him. We are rather shocked by this behaviour in our boy!  Despite us repeatedly telling him that it is only for 3 weeks, O is not reading the Memo.

The local taverna owner was shut as he was getting ready for a big name day celebration tomorrow.  Busy laying out tables and chairs for an anticipated influx of 2000 people. It would be an all night party.  And the following night!  We love a good party, but not when you don’t know anyone and you’ve 4 waring dogs, so we decided to move on the next day.  Helpfully, the taverna owner suggested the yacht club.  It was small and staffed by two lasses from Cork working their summer Uni vacation.  Most customers were faded yachty types.  But it was a typical English pub menu and actually a welcome change from Greek cuisine, much as we love it.  My chicken fajitas (no wrap or rice) were so yummy, I walked back with a very full tummy.

We’ve seen a lot more campers and Motorhomes on the mainland than Crete, as you would expect given the ferry crossing €€€s.  But even more on Lefkada.  None of them wave back … is it us?  But a Hungarian pulled in next to us late.  I warned them that we had 4xK9 thinking that would be a good deterrent.  But no, they repositioned their motorhome even closer!  WHY???  We didn’t see them in the morning when Oscar enthusiastically barked his morning chorus!

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Vlycho 

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Some of the bigger boats … met some of the crew in the yacht club last night.

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At dinner, Stella assisted oscar by removing fur burrs from his tail. 

06/07/22:  Koronisia

Driving off Lefkada, we agreed it is pretty but not for us in the silly season.  We drove up past Arte not stopping for the Roman Walls etc … seen on a previous visit and headed up to a beach in the middle of a lagoon area near Koronisia.  We have been here before, but it was so stinky sweltering hot, we just needed to be able to lie in the water, even if it were the temperature of tepid bath water.  A popular spot with a German and two French vans, all with awnings and chairs out.   Knowing our awning is ‘difficult’ to retract, we took the moral NO CAMPING stance and just got chairs out!

So another lazy afternoon where we alternately dozed and swam.  Feck even came in for a paddle and let me pour water over him.  What we had not anticipated was the scale of the mossie invasion … we have a system …  bedroom sprayed and door closed.  As we go to bed, we spray the living area and shut the connecting door.  Than when J gets up in the night, as he does, he leaves the door open.  We’d also not anticipated the humidity.  We reckon it as up at over 80%.  Fortunately the 12v fan over the bed doesn’t draw down the leisure batteries unduly, as it was on all night.

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07/07/22:  Ioannina

Heading north to the Pindos Mountains, uncharted territory for us, we stopped of at Ioannina.  This had been our first ever stop in Greece in our motorhome Dec 2017.  This time we parked south of the city and walked along the lake, past the castle.  A peaceful coffee lakeside and then wandered the old town.  We were stopped a number of times with people cooing over 4xK9.  Well, specifically over CO2 and Stella, who are tied as a trio to my waist.  J is behind with Feck, who pulls randomly in every direction, so actually I think I’ve the easier job with 3 of them.

We commented that Ioannina would be a fab place to base yourself for exploring the area or, indeed, just a weekend break.  One lady who stopped to pet COS, said she loved living here … lovely city and easy to get to mountains and coast.

Leaving Ioannina we drove the other side of the lake, where we’ve stayed before and found a large cleaning with views of the city through the trees.  And most importantly, some shade!   Sadly previous folk stopping here had left a carpet of wet wipes, toilet paper, water bottles, fag packets and the odd condom.  Nice.  So with our disposable gloves that we use for dying my hair, we filled a black sack.  The other downside of this parking was the flies.  So another spray of one section of the van and then the other.

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Ali Pashacastle in ioannina.

 

 

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Ioannina old town.

 

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05/22: In Search of the Perfect Beach

Komatose At Komos!

Saturday 28th May

We exercised.  Swam.  Sunbathed. Read.  Repeated.  Big beach so no worries about the weekend and tourist bodies being too close.  Lovely staff at a mobile snack wagon who plied us with cold drinks, ice cream and J’s burger lunch.

Beach showers used with my natural bar shampoo.  Toilet emptied under the cloak of darkness into the public loos.  A really lovely site.  Only disturbance, other than Oscar barking at passing dogs, was lads arriving for beers at 1.30 a.m. playing loud music.  

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Reward after a longish and warm day. 

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Beach Bum Jez!

Agios Pavlos

Sunday 29th May

Moving from beach to beach has never been something we do.  Being beach bums for days has never been something we do either.  But they are so pretty here.  It’s hot.  And we’ve done pretty much all the sites nearby.  So now on a beach cruise.

I didn’t fancy another full day at Komos.  Needed a change of scenery.  So we upped sticks, cos we can, and moved to Agios Pavlos, arriving early before the  Sunday crowds.  Snack shack staff asked us to move right into a corner, given it was a smallish car park.  All very pleasant, so we went in for breakfast coffee and a shared plate of humous.  And then for a drink and icecream.  The sun loungers were a tad expensive at EUR6, but the shade meant we didn’t have to erect the kiddies UV beach shelter for J and CO2.  

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Agious Pavlos beach. Walked up the steps to the cave and over the massive sand dune to the beach the other side.  A really pretty spot.

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Time to turn back CO2!

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This amazing rock formation was on a boat cruise poster.  We saved £££s by cruising there in Jez.

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Up some steps from Ag. Pavlos and then over the huge sand dune to another nudist beach.

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Supper at the hotel slightly up the hill with lovely views over the bay.  Cash reserves running low, so we were relieved to be able to pay by card.

Ammoudi, eventually

Monday 30th and Tuesday 31st May

We were headed to Triopetra (3 rocks) and long beach, but we didn’t like the look of the shortcut turning … tarmac only about as wide as Jez’s wheels.  So re-routed via the main road adding 25 mins to the journey.  Didn’t like the look of that turning either.  Cobbles and steep … not Jez’s favourite!  We filled with diesel and asked the attendant about the road.  Road good, village at the start is  small and may be difficult.  As the solo driver, I’m a lot more adverse to risking it than I used to be.  Another quick re-route and onto Ammoudi, a recommendation by friend Lin.  

Suddenly we found ourselves in Spili.  We’d been here only weeks ago to the Maravel Herb Garden.  The main car park wasn’t too full so were able to stop.  I re-stocked on natural products of bar soap, shampoo and creams.  J had an omelette for breakfast and both had coffees … to 2 bills were EUR 6.60 and 7.00, but the charge was 9.50 … confused.  And we found a bank.  Back in funds.

Ammoudi is very pretty.  A short walk either side to nudist beaches.  A snack shack … already sampled ice cream and a drink.  A few small campers look pretty well installed.  They’ve hogged all the shade under the trees, but we wouldn’t have fitted anyway.  And a taverna just up the road.  A reprieve from the heat of the weekend.  Only 28C today and a cool breeze on the beach.  And bargain sun beds at EUR5.  And reading our blog from a few years ago we had walked here from Plakias and identified it then as a great park up.  We hadn’t stay ed there then as we had an appointment in Plakias to watch a rugby game in a bar.  Great to be able to ‘remember’ what we did by reading about it!

We stayed 2 nights and walked over the Damnoni Beach for supper both nights.  I got up very early one morning to climb to the chapel with views both ways.  The temperatures have generally been 29C by 7.00 a.m., a real feel 33C for most of the day, so reading, swimming and dozing has been the order of the day. Every day.

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Another beach snack shack.

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Despite the early start, it was still sweat making.  A few other folk were on the path also trying to avoid the heat.

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Ammoudi Beach.  Jez is invisible as he’s concealed by the mountain rocks.

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View the other way to Damnoni Beach where we ate … twice.

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The Summit to prove I made it!  Looking inland

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First cherries of the season.  They are grown in the Amari valley, where we started out.

Plakias for the Last Time

Wednesday 1st June

We have been to Plakias a few times, stayed and driven from nearby to eat, but always out of season.  We used the sells-everything-supermarket and a butcher.  Parked up and then were asked to move by the Life Guard … the season started today and we could not take up more than one parking bay.  With his OK, I moved us onto a rough area … it suited us as I could angle the fridge out of the sun.  And a bonus was that we were a little distance from the late night revellers loudly wending their way back to the their holiday accommodation …. we still heard them, but at least from a bit of a distance.  We have both agreed that out of season with only a couple of bars and restaurants open is much preferable and have no desire to stay there again.

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A drink stop in Plakias.  Last time we were here with the Aged P’s we watched a car being pulled out of the harbour. 

Secret Location P!

Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd June

This is a park up that has not yet appeared on any of the parking apps and we will not be the ones to change this.  We were introduced to Secret Location P by friends Lin and Bo who are good friends with some of the business owners there.  Lovely sandy beach.  Showers.  Great inexpensive tavernas.  It is a special place …. calm and quiet.  It feels healing somehow.  The two days here just oozed by.  Maddy and Jordan are coming to stay from 11th June and to give them some space,we will come down here again in the van.  We think this IS the Perfect Beach.

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Coffee Break.

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 View from the van 

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Rocky walk with CO2

And so back home

Saturday 4th June

I walked CO2 through the rocky undergrowth to the next beach and came back by the road!  J cleaned Jez … not a deep clean as we will back in him in a couple of weeks and before we leave Crete on 2nd July we will wash all the rugs etc.    Swapped vehicles back at the airport parking and returned home to Almyrida.  Feels hotter here as less wind.  I’ve already made my jobs list for the week and made a batch of soup!!!  Our mini holiday was a proper beach holiday.  Not our normal choice but it was relaxing.  

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 Back at Almyrida and these are the temperatures inside and in the shade!!

 

 

 

 

05/22: Amari Gorge Tour

Since the last trip, we’ve had some fun, mostly based at home.  Highlights include:

  • A musical lunch at the Botanical Gardens with friends
  • Various meals with friends …. still not loosing weight!

And Danny and Lisa visited from Thornaby.  They became part of our Turkish lockdown family.  We’ve been up to see them and they stayed in our Devon house in January.  Danny had been unable to get a dental appointment for 18 months … what is that all about?!  So for EUR50, he had a filling replaced over here.  could have had a next day appointment, so we are moving into Dental Tourism as a money making exercise!  just don’t expect your flight to arrive on time!  Once that was down, we headed off to Spinalonga for 2 nights.  Lisa only just managed to finish ‘The Island’ before we arrived.  We parked up at Plaka beach for 2 nights, visited the island and ate out.  Super hot so used a bar’s sun loungers and had a few swims.  En route, we stopped at Knossos (Minoan main city) and on the way back at Moni Arkadi.   And we managed just fine all 4 of us plus CO2 in the van.    We also has a WW2 tour about the start of the invasion … will probably repeat this with the Aged Ps in October.

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Knossos.

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Spinalonga Island and Elounda behind.

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Danny and Lisa are not lepers, honest!

So Danny and Lisa left on Monday.  House cleaned Tuesday.  Next guests arrive on the 11th June … we have a few weeks to head off in the van … yay!

 

Potamon / Potamoi Dam

Wednesday 25th May 2022 (IRemembering Nicky’s who would have been 57th today)

Before we collected Jez, we went via Chania for J to pick up his repaired hearing aid … he’s been on one working for over a week.  And let me tell you 50% of hearing aids is not equal to 50% hearing loss.  I am sure people think I must be more unpleasant than I am, due to the aggressive sounding shouting.  And he has missed most of the conversations when any background noise.  

Our 2nd chore was to take Jez to a Fiat garage to have a new remote key programmed.  When we were thinking of selling Jez last summer, I hid 2 sets of remote keys, along with all locker etc keys somewhere SAFE.  Of course, we kept hoping they would turn up.  The van has been emptied and turned over, but at some point (probably much earlier than now) it is sensible to get a replacement key.  Especially as we are thinking of Turkey come July.  So down some narrow lanes to the Fiat service centre.  A chap came out and wanted to drive Jez down to the back of the garage, between a wall and lots of parked cars.  It was TIGHT.  I don’t know if he had ever driven a right hand vehicle before.  Keys programmed … apparently if we do find the missing 2 sets they will no longer work anyway!  But then I had to reverse out.  J was my rear end man and another man on the front …. big sigh of relief when out onto the road.

Only 1.5 hours drive to Potomon Resevoir  We’ve stayed here before, but this time we’ve moved around the other side of the dam.  So hot, we got the chairs out and sat in the shade of the van reading and knitting.  Peaceful views only briefly disturbed by a drone!  What?!?  Two photographers and a bride and groom for a photo shoot.    And thankfully CO2 didn’t jump on her!  Once it cooled down, I walked CO2 to the junction of the road we want tomorrow.  It was impassable on our last visit here due to massive subsidence.  It’s been re- tarmaced and slipped again.  Along with landslip across the carriageway and encroaching foliage making sections single track, but passable.  Signs up declaring it a ’slow speed road’!  And no prizes guessing for the person who didn’t pack the mossie spray! I’m OK, J is my decoy!

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Potomon Resevoir.  For the second night we moved up to the chapel.

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We’d gone cheap on a replacement roof light, and it doesnt open as far as the previous one.  After exploring lots of alternative routes up the roof, I finally managed to get through the aperture and cleaned off the various Sahara dust storms.

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The wedding shoot.  Do wish men would have their too long trousers turned up!  Lovely dress, but grey from the dirt at the bottom.

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View for the chapel parking.

Patsos Gorge

Thursday 26th May

We ran the dodgy road but only for a 3km run.  Getting warm.  And recently we’ve been driving to where it is virtually flat to run, so the hills were taking it out of us.  A short drive the Patsos Gorge.  Anther revisit.  Very pretty … a (much) younger couple ahead of us indicated that it was impassable from the bridge, so we aborted on part of the climb down.  Into the taverna there for lunch.  Decided to head back to Potomon reservoir, but stayed next to the chapel.  More shade and higher up to less mossies.

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A prayer to St Anthony and you don’t need your crutches to walk out of the gorge.

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Lots of prayer offerings and scraps of written prayers stuck into the rocks.

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Patsos Gorge.

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Syvritos by Thronos, Monistraki a mistake, and Moni Asmaton a ruin

Friday 27th May

We stopped by a church in Agia Fotini to ’steel’ some water.  Such high pressure, it should have been called Agia Fountainii!  I did a mini hand wash, filled the van.  Proper working town so managed to buy mossie repellant and itch cream from a pharmacy.  J suggested a cold drink at the cafe …. good to ‘pay’ the town for the water.

A sort hop onto Thronos, destination Syvritos.  J is normally up for most of my suggestions.  He had some comments on this mini excursion though.  Mostly along the lines of the sense in climbing a rocky track in the heat of the day.  And hadn’t we seen enough Minoan sites already.  At the top, he sat with CO2 in the shade and I went to explore Syvritos.  I was back pretty quickly.  It was so overgrown that there was very little to see.  Just a few signs denoting building A or B.  Thorny bushes so couldn’t even walk around what was there.  Ho hum!  It was much quicker going back down to Jez.  Had to move the van from a dirt area as apparently that was the bus parking!  Lunch in the shade with a breeze.

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View from the climb to Syvritos.

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Was the climb worth it James?

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Not when this is all there is to be seen!

Then onto Moni Asmaton and just before we arrived, J suggested an ice cream at a cafe …a quick swerve and parked.  Coffee and ice cream. I looked at the map … Mono Asmaton was all of 150m away.  So I left J with CO2.  A stunning ruin with an intact chapel in the middle.  From 1927 to the 80’s it had been an agricultural school.  One much newer building had been replastered recently.  It would make a good hotel complex.  I was tempted to ‘lift’ a couple of shutters and doors to decorate the patio area in Almyrida, but would have had to walk back past the cafe with my swag!  Too embarrassing.  

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Is Moni Asmaton worth walking to James?

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 Yes, it was! 

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We drove towards Monistraki.  Another ancient site with a parking that promised views (ergo a breeze) and water.  Errr … not down that road we aint!  Sat nav re-routed us to another unfeasibly narrow road with over hanging trees and parked cars.  A 5 point turn and the bemused faces of locals as we passed by them on the way outta town!  Similarly we headed to Amari, but it didn’t seem to have any larger roads.  Another 5 point turn.  Ooh a lovely parking identified with water, a breeze and on a hill top.  We arrived and decided we may have got Jez up there and under the arch, but then again … Abort.  Tired now, we went for safety.  And drove down to Komos Beach.  We had cycled here previously when we have stayed at Matala.  Much as we like Matala, we knew it would be rammed with a small beach.

We arrived.  Parked.  I swam.  And availed ourselves of cold drinks from the mobile snack bar.  Once the beach front parking cleared out, I moved the van into a prime position.

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Our prime beach front parking at Komos Beach.

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We used the Snack Shack … 

Having been the solo van it felt a bit congested to now be one of 4 vans.  A D, Ch and Greek rental.  The German Swiss chap I disliked.  He seemed to think it was to let his large German Shepard roam free.  Disturbed CO2, who promptly shot out under our new £600 door flatscreen.  Minor damage.  The concertina trellis was no deterrent.  Humpf!