955-961: Reoccuring Meetings

955 – Sunday 14th January 2018:  Gialova Castle and Lagoons.

Ag Kiriaki harbour was the perfect peaceful overnight and we awoke to beautiful clear blue skies.  As I was still suffering from a minor ‘mancold/chill’ – and requiring R&R……K and Oscar ran in the am.  We jezzed a short distance to – Gialova Lagoon – another amazing wilding spot.  My recuperation was proceeding in a ‘manly’ fashion – men are so brave – how do ladies cope with these ailments?  I couldn’t possibly comment!  We met Tony – Greek resident from God’s own country – Wales!  He gave us loads of advice on walking routes….. K had a fantastic walk to the Castle and 360 degree views… K: coming down to Nestor’s Cave from the castle was seriously steep.  my knees are not brilliant and my sense of balance abysmal … even with the metal foot bars and railings, I was reduced to all fours on more than one occasion!
 
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We didn’t get washed away at Ag Kiriaki harbour, but woke to brilliant blue skies 🙂
 
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Our two night pitch.  Gialova Lagoon behind and the Bay of Navarino in front.
 
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A climb up to Old Navarino Castle, another Franco Venetian construction, huge but lacking any restoration.  In fact signs say it is dangerous so closed.  At the base, the walk is also shut due to rockfall.  In true Greek style, Oscar and I ignored the signs.

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The most amazing views of the Lagoon and Voidokilia Beach – a perfect horseshoe.

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Such a steep descent from the castle there were metal footholds and a hand rail … down to Nestor’s Cave.  This cave may have been the inspiration for Homer where Nestor and Beleus kept their cows.

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Looking out of Nestor’s Cave.
 

956 – Monday 15th January:  A Leisurely Lagoon Walk

Nice easy 7k walk around the lagoon….later, as we were ‘napping’ – in a state of undress, a knock sounded on the door!  Sue and Mick (from Brighton) had seen our GB reg and introduced themselves…..  Their van was parked about 1k away – so – appointment for post-prandial drinks at 6:00 – as you do…..they have been part time/winter motorhomers for 14 years!  Much chat about places we’ve both visited.  
 
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The lagoon is a bird sanctuary with an easy path around it.

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957 – Tuesday 16th January:  Pylos – Big Night OUT

Showered and de-sanded Jez – a much and frequently needed operation these days. Journeyed to Pylos Harbour – Sue and Mick arrived – closely followed by newcomers (to us) – Helena and Hakan (Swedish) and Ruth and Allen (New Zealanders).  Decision to eat out in local restaurant – all 8 of us.  Pre and after drinkies in Jez – a slightly tipsy agreement to hold an ‘American’ supper on the following night…in ours. 
 
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Our peaceful parking.
 

958 – Wednesday 17th January:  Pylos – A Not So Big Night IN

We stayed in town to shop for the evening while the others visited Nestor’s Palace nearby.  Our trip took in the post office, fish market, supermarket – and coffee!  After last nights late to bed – guess what everyone did in the afternoon – nappyzapped!  K did her starter of aubergeine, tomato and Halloumi, Ruth prepared stuffed squid a la delicious, Helena did a Greek salad – and Sue conjured a gorgeous lemon meringue pie!  Did we sup well?   Someone had a bottle of port……
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We thought 7 eating in Jez was pushing it, but now we are up to 8.  9?  I think not!

959 – Thursday 18th January:  Being Blown off the Harbour and Methoni

In the night, the wind did blow – and blow – up to 62kph gusts!  We rocked and rolled – we had sited Jez to face the wind – but the clever wind anticipated us and changed direction. We’ve never had our wheels in the sea water.  Early morning all 4 vans took shelter back at the end of the harbour parking – much relief…vans covered with encrusted salt….leisure batteries on very low voltage.
 
To Methoni – castle visit in the gales (see photos) and on to a small campsite to recharge batteries – wash Jez, hand washing laundry and selfshowering.  Our other recent friends will be following our path along the coast towards Kalamata.  
 
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Our peaceful harbour wall became a roller coaster ride with 62 kph gusts and spray coming over us.
 
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Methoni castle – one of the pair of Venetian ‘eyes’ with the sea on 3 sides and a moat landward.  It was huge and contained hammams, a church a huge market place, and a main street.

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The French built the arched bridge across the moat in 1828.  Don’t be fooled by the stunning blue sky … the winds had NOT abated!

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Going into the marketplace.

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The Bourtzi was a prison island.  Accessed by a causeway, which was totally impassable impassable today – either you’d have been blown off or washed off.
 
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Peaceful and windless view from our camping pitch at Camping Thines.  EUR14 incl. EHU.  The young manager told me that the massive hail storm last Sunday had been the case of the road to the village to collapse – he’s not sure when the municipality will repair the damage.

960 – Friday 19th January:  Koroni and Kalamata

K and O ran around Finikounda, which was pretty – lots of open bars and restaurants.  

Koroni for lunch and walk – Sue and Mick passed and stopped to chat – we’ll see them later at Kalamata Marina wild parking. We perambulated the village and castle – and met Tony (again)!  He became our impromptu tour guide – he’s considering another adventure – in India! 

En route to Kalamata, our Colin SatNav said “After 2 kilometres, turn right on Calamitous Road”!!!  Even Oscar jumped!  OK, it was Colin’s pronunciation of “Kalamata’s Road”.  Overnight at the Marina was €12 with eclectic, sorry electric, toilets, showers and laundry facilities – excellent value.  It should have been a ‘dry’ night – but with Sue and Mick, we pushed the boat out in a local restaurant (nice pun, James). €80 for 4 meals – 2 courses and copious wine!  Lovely quality food and fresh fish 🙂

A quiet sheltered night – no wind.
 
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Koroni:  Seen livestock in towns, but not geese blocking the pavement before.

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 A larger town than Methoni.
 
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Walk around the base of the castle … it seems to be held up with spray on concrete!
 

961 – Saturday 20th January:  Kalamatious Laundry!

Loaded washing machine with our bedding …. water off in town!  Long wait for water and laundry completion – then town walk – not the prettiest place but interesting. I replenished my vape supplies. Mike and Sue left for Mycene and we encountered Hakan and Helena who were off to stay at a local village – sure we’ll wee them all again on our travels around Greece.  Wonder where the NZ couple are?
 
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Other than the restaurants, this seems to be the main (only?) attraction of Kalamata … a collection of trains and carriages in a central park.
 
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Our Marina pitch.


949-954: GORGEous, Follies and Flowers

949 – Monday 8th January 2018:  Monastery Walk

At 9:30 am (early or what?), we embarked on what would be a 10k walk steeply up and down along the gorge. Oscar ‘em barked his way too….but his ‘em barking settles when we’re underway.  We followed a path carved by the monks for their donkeys hundreds of years ago – still droppings on the way so it’s still used to transport stuff to the monasteries.  After a short time, we came to the Prodhromou Monastery – literally clinging to the steep cliffs – it looked almost as if the rock had been carved to accommodate the structures. I went in and viewed the kooky stairways and rooms – very quiet and definitely contemplative.  On we went down and up and the other way around – past rushing streams – while Oscar bashed our legs with his usual selection of sticks!  The Monastery of Nea Filosoou was more modern and we entered the courtyard to be greeted by a charming monk who gave us water and Turkish Delight sweets!  We’ve since herd that the Greeks don’t call it Turkish Delight, but just Delight!   It was necessary to tie O up in the yard – he vocally made his objections clear…  The chapel is lovely and small.. Only 2 monks live there – our host had been in residence for 8 years.   Super frescoes.
 
Back retracing our footsteps and down to the actual gorge itself. Ancient Gortys nestled at the bottom. I nestled my feet as this septuagenarian was feeling slightly tired – age related? 
Back up again to the original path and after only (?) 3.5 hours – to good old Jez….. my feet took a direction in the door, past the executive bathroom and into the royal bedchamber where they forced me to recline….  But a stunning day – excellent walking and views to die for…..
Same overnightly – and even more quiet than last night………
 
 
 
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Hard to see, but there is a chapel on the right and another on the left of the gorge, so our walk will go down and then up … and then in reverse!  Demitsana nestles at the head of the gorge.  

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Zoom lens to see the chapel at the right hand Monastery of Prodhromou C12.
 
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Part of the easier donkey path, carved out by the monks.

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Wow, turn a corner and this is the Monastery with living accommodation … all clinging to the cliff.

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Looking back at the Monastery of Prodhromou.

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The gorge is 300m deep and the water powered around rocks.

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Nea Filosoou Monastery:  C17.  Restored 
 
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Church with 1663 frescoes …
 
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Ancient Gortys at the other end of our gorge walk.  Temple to Asklepios God of Healing, a therapeutic centre, from 4BC.
 
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Taken from Ancient Gortys … can just make out the church where Jez is parked.
 
 950 – Tuesday 9th January:  Back to Kaiafa Springs With a Purpose!

Back up the hill from Lousois Gorge – the nightly darkest pitch we’ve ever stayed at……lots of clear stars overhead.  Powered to Dimitsana Water Power Museum – open all days – except Tuesday!  But their car park contained a water supply – so Jez got his fill.  Lunch and admin in van – with Wifi.
Across the mountains towards Kaifia Springs (again – second stay).  More lovely hill towns and a stop at Langardia for coffee – very narrow streets (have we written about these before?) – mega reversing to pass oncoming coach.  The usual visit to Lidl – and then the wild parking at the Springs – one other van (German) for company.  
 
Now during the food prep, K opened the door of an overhead locker, taking the usual precaution of placing her hand to prevent anything falling on her nod…  well, this Greek olive oil bottle had other ideas – avoided her grasp – and in true aviation style – flew around the kitchen!!!   I was outside and heard the anthem “F**k a**e bum t*t” in her melodious and high pitched voice…..the glass was everywhere – floor, rugs – and next morning – even in the blinking shower!  The oil had attached itself to floor and all vertical surfaces, including K – not that she’s a vertical surface….. Oscar and I escaped.  Clearing up took a good hour – the unanticipated benefit was a thorough kitchen clean!   
 
 
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Sorry a few final pix of our loveliest of spots, taken with J’s mega zoom lens.  The chapel – our van view.

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Ancient Gortys and St Andrews Chapel.

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The second monastery.

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Spontaneous stop in pretty Langadia.  Not sure when the Christmas decs will come down.

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Watching busses and a huge lorry negotiate the narrow roads.

951 – Wednesday 10th January:  Spring Swim and Laundry

Morning – and my water babe took to the Springs – the reason we had come back here.  Vaulting high into the air straight over the gate – well climbing actually but the high jump sounded better…back in Jez – the sweet aroma of sulphur pervaded…… showered and brekkied, we eased back to Elea beach wilding spot – same pitch looking at the rolling seas…..  (I had declined the Springs due to a ‘mancold’, manifestly – not testily or feistily).  
 
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A swift climb over the gate and in – we’d seen locals do this on our last stay here.  The old bath house has just been left as an eyesore; the new on is adjacent.  The water gurgles up from inside the cave.

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Maddy’s Bad Hair Day Shower cap!

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952 – Thursday 11th January:  Easy to Supper

Slow easy day start, beach walking………..Rod and Bernadette came to supper – brought flowers and a yummy lemon curd – much chat and easy company…..we parted with them at 2:00 am!!!  
 
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Rod picked these from their garden … they are just delightful and still have a wonderful scent.  Absolutely years since anyone has given me flowers, other than James, of course!

953 – Friday 12th January:  Admin and Rest

Another restful day – some admin, including updating our spreadsheet re putative house purchase in France…..  Verdict …Yes we can afford to live if we buy in France 🙂
 
 

954 – Saturday 13th January:  Follies in Filiatra

A really sad adieu to Elea wilding after a total of 9 days!  Highly recommended, indeed.  Met Phil and Carol at Lidl – and on the Filiatra, via the Fairy Castle and Eiffel Tower.  Overnight on a lovely harbourside wilding, with the sea washing over the wall behind us – I wonder what time high tide will be?  
 
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A Greek, Dr. Harry Fournier, returned from Chicago in the 1960’s built this … his son has restored it.

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 I only spotted Oscar’s wee activity when I looked at the pix on the computer…

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… pleased to say J is not following suit.
 
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A Poseidon’s horse building.

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And he built a mini Tour Eiffel just into Filiatra.
 
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Our overnight stop Ag. Karachi.  Just hoping the wind is not up, or we will get a wave drenching!
 
 
 
Oscar’s Diary

They tell me I’ve been quite a few day at ‘Ellyyah’ – it’s good here – lots of nice K9 friends, girls and boyos….good humanoids as well, I must mention.  
 
K phoned her Mum (and Dad) – they’re off to someplace called  “Eeejit” which is east of here with also sandy beaches – and Kyro (sounds Greek to me) has somethings called Pyromids and Spanks (very naughty, Grahame and Diane!).   Now most folk would say  “Morning Mum – how are you this fine day?”  Not our K – no need to roll out the nice-titties, sorry niceties… “It’s only I – can you bring some coryanngle to Athens?”   Blinking BT will never make money from the Leslie Clan!  If I tried asking for my dinner like that “Katherine – it’s only O – dinner now pronto?”  My backside would be whinging it’s way to Solihull…
 
Oh well, there’s newt as frog as folk, as the poet said….. this was short as time presses – people to see.
 
Efharisto.
 
Oscar
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 
 


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 ….

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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!
 

943-944: Happy New ‘Elea’

 943 – Saturday 30th December 2017:  Kalo Nero

On leaving the Springs of Kaifa, we noted a pick up with 3 folks in stopped outside the Springs building and climbed over the rather spiky gate!  One man of vintage years could have spiked his crown jewels (ouch!) but managed ok….. well, I thought – maintenance/cleaning workers?  Nope – they went around the side and stripped off – to swimming costumes – to take the waters!!!  Had we known earlier, we could have had ’Spring showers’ au naturelle’.   
 
Mega New Year food shopping…….reached our beachside pitch at Kalo Nero – set up shop and perambulated along the seafront.  Voices beside us – “Are you the Brits in the motorhome?”  (Well, I suppose I’m an adoptive Brit? – and Oscar is a Brummie Welshie…).  It was Bernadette and Rod – 10-year residents in the area – and part time motorhomers…..  They know ‘Boxerman’/Dave and San and Phil whom we will meet soon at Elea. 
 
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View from our window at Springs of Kaiafa.

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That’s us excused swimming then!

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Beach front pitch at Kalo Nero.

 

944 – Sunday 31st December 2017:  Happy New Elyea

Morning boulevarding and Jezzied on down to Elea – to the best ‘wilding’ spot we’ve seen, ever possibly. Huge wide open spaces and long beachfront stretching for kilometres. Friendly wild dogs – looked after by a dog sanctuary, thank goodness. Many are shipped to Germany for adoption.  Dave, San and Phil came to our New Year supper – we saw the New Year in alone after the others had departed for their beds. A lovely intro to 2018 – Happy ’18 to all our friends and families everywhere!!!  (K paddled – not addled – and Oscar barked into 2018…).    

K:  Actually, I went paddling, much to Oscar’s dismay … That’ll be the closest I get to the water for a few months!

 
945 – Monday 1st January 2018:  New Year’s Day Tasting Menu

 
This wilding place has water points that you can connect a hose to.  So we laundered and showered (in Jez) by a water point and then moved to firm ground for our pitch of now, several nights.
 
Katherine (Masterchef) provided an…..
 
International Food and Wine Tasting Menu
Foie gras (France) with pomegranate infused onion marmalade (Bosnia and Herzegovina) with salad and toasted brioche.  Marsala from Italy.
Scallops oven baked with butter and mild curry (Guernsey, hand dived by Chris and Chloe).  Mantineia, a dry white from Greece.
Duck Gessiers (Gizzards to you and me from France) with an aubergine, red pepper and onion salad.  Gustav Clauss dry red from Greece.
Cheeses (Greece)
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946 – Tuesday 2nd January:  Easy Does It!

In this fabulous spot, the sand attaches to everywhere in the van so a constant battle to keep him clean – Oscar contributes – not to the cleaning – but to the sand disposal by bringing in more of the gritty stuff. But, it’s well worth the location.   

A few mending jobs such as sticking hooks up. A steady flow of people to chat to … Dave and San dog walking in for coffee, Frenchman who stopped work age 47, nice Burster but knackered fridge – new at €2000!   Bernadette and Rod stopped by for vino – Rod left his jacket but we’ll see them tomorrow….  Quite heavy rain overnight.
 
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944 – Wednesday 3rd January:  Another Hair Chop

Off to Kyparissia for a K coiffure….a mere ‘snip’ at €30.  Coffee with Bernadette and Rod – he repossessed his jacket. Harbour walk and lunch – Oscar was allowed in (only small dogs) – well he’s small/medium……
Back to the same splendid beachside pitch to chill…….
 
 
Oscar’s Blog

They tell me we’re still in Greece – in Pollyknees which is an island and was part of the mainland. But someone cut a currant canal and spent time raisin it – do yiz get it?  Currants and raisins?  It’s the way I tell ‘em!  That was Frank Carson, by the way…  Well my currant owners (but I will keep them) have taken me from post to pillar, mostly ‘wilding’ and some sampkites – but – they have found me the most amazing wilding place – several chronometers long – beachside – and NO NEED FOR A LEAD – whoopee!!!  Loads of wild dogs but friendly – we met humanoids too – Dave and San and Phil and a French couple to whom I could say ‘Bon jewel, mes ami…”.  No slouch me in the old ‘linguafranglais’ deportment…… and I can walk well too… 
 
Oh, and K had a haircut……
 
“What is this life if full of hair
we have no time to chop in chair
no time to sit beneath the drier
and share a coffee with the sheep”
 
Ok, it went a bit awol at the end – but you cannot beat a bit of poultery!
 
Great balls of super glue … good for chewing …. my owners checked me out and I’m still In Tack.  
 
Oscar – leadless – not legless…

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

941-942: Katherine is an Olympic Athelete

941 – Thursday 28th December 2017:  Escaping the Asylum!

 
We left our campsite of 6 nights €19 ACSI rate, having said adieu to Julia and Simon – Dave had left earlier….  We felt slightly institutionalised, but that may have been the 10 days with no alcohol free days!
 
Tried to visit the Kastel, but really heavy rain so we did not fancy the short walk up to the castle.
Off to Lidl for a nice big shop.  
A shortish meander to Katacolo a nice small harbour for the overnight – walk in the rain…..no coffee shop would accept our Oscar – but all the town dogs adopted him readily!  We faced into the wind which blew all night long……some wine and carb-free supper to go with the fitness regime – and tomorrow back into alco-free days again, although we will celebrate New Year – with more new motor homing friends further south…..
 
Oh – and a big hello to young Jim and Nancy who have discovered our blog in USA/Canada….. In Jordan, we used to play Scrabble and Jim would bring a bottle of Scotch (Chivas Regal) which I took more than a passing fancy to – sometimes they left me asleep on the sofa – with a Scrabble note of goodnight!!!   
 
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Leaving amid grey skies and thrashing seas.

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Katacolo:  a few fishing boats but the town exists to supply the massive cruise ships that dock here for Olympia.  Even the interesting sounding Museum of Greek Technical Inventions was only open 5 random days in December … to coincide with the cruise ships probably.
 
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Nose into the wind.

941 – Friday 29th December:  Ancient Olympia

To Ancient Olympia – home of ‘The Games’ since the 1st century BC – they competed in the nuddy!  Did they have veteran athletes?  (By the way, the World Veterans Track and Field Championships will take place in Malaga in September 2018 – I ran in the Worlds in Newcastle in 1999…..maybe?).  Naked, James?
 
We saw the sanctuary of Zeus and birthplace of the Olympic Games, to honour him.  776BC was the first recorded athletic event, although archaeological findings on the site date to 8000BC.  The last Games were held in 393AD after the recently converted Emperor banned pagan activities.  First revival was 1896 in Athens and the Frenchman, Baron Piere de Coubertin, who championed the revival, has his heart buried here.  The €6pp winter rate for the site and museum was excellent value.
 
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This is the stadium at Ancient Olympia.  Mike of Moho-dreamer, who we spent Christmas with, was photo’d on the starting line …. I had to go one better and I ran the length!  With umbrella and camera in hands and wearing full waterproofs and walking boots …. bet not many Olympiads could match that!!!  From 720BC athletes competed naked … far too wet for me to do that!  Men only too.

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Where the Olympic Flame is lit and the start of the Olympic Torch Relay.

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The info board only told us who paid for it’s repair … the guide book tells us that Phillip II commissioned it to honour the Dynasty of Macedonian Kings, so surely this is later?
 
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The Temple of Hera 7BC
 
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Public Shame:  The Games embodied the ideal of fair competition among free and equal men.  Those caught cheating had their name, crime and fine carved onto one of the 16 bases of statues to Zeus, which line the route to the stadium … let that be a warning to others. 
 
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Gate through to the stadium:  Capacity of 45,000.  The main sports venue for running, wrestling and pentathlon etc.   Chariot racing was next door.  The Stadium was only unearthed by the Germans during WW2
 
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Temple of Zeus 5BC, as large as the Parthenon
 
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Sacrificial offerings.
 
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Atlas and the Apples of Hesperides:  Hercules, centre, holds up the sky, Athena on the left, assists him and, right, is Atlas, who has brought back golden apples guarded by the Hesperides Nymphs.
 
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Springs of Kaiafa is our overnight spot:  a bit of a smell of sulphur, but tarmac to park over is good after heavy rain.