993-998: We Must be Bloody Mad!

993 – Wednesday 21st February:  Adria Athens
 
Lovely lie in – as we could!  We drove to Adria Athens (lovely people) … a few minor jobs and booked to have rear air suspension fitted . We had to hang around to check that delivery will be at a time that suits us.  This was rather spontaneous, but it had been at the back of our minds, that the springs on motorhomes do not get the chance to spring back and relax like on an unladen truck. Rear air suspension is also supposed to help with the ride and handling.
 
Onto Accorinth … ancient fortress covering an extended hill top near Corinth, which we had not visited with the Aged P’s.  It was shut by the time we arrived, but amazing views.  Little did we know the visit would change our lives…..
 
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Our parking at Accorinth.
 
994 – Thursday 22nd February:  Corrie
 
Oscar tells the story better than I can – albeit with his slant – see the end of this post. Our new family member is a poppet – and quite domesticated – doesn’t pee or poo in the van but waits patiently for her outside visit. Aged Ps think we are bonkers – they’re right!  So far, we’ve bought a house and two motorhomes on a whim – so why not adopt a doggy?   She has passed the blood tests (no Leichmanoisis, which was what we particularly feared) and vet exam – spaying due for Monday.  Then Pet Passport process.  We will be coming back to the vet in Corinth a few times!  As well as being several hundred Euro lighter!   Now, they are known as CO2….. we expect more carbon dioxide to be spayed – no, sprayed around Jez. 
 
Onto Korfos … pretty fishing village, but a boozy night with Jac and Scott (motorhomers from Derby) whom we met on our stroll – we then parked next to them – lots of vino – and some white rum – producing some K-rum results…….
 
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Corrie.  A real heinz 57, but definitely some Greek shepherd dog in her.
 
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She watches everything.

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Korfos.
 
995 – Friday 23rd February:  Hang Over for Ancient Epidavros
 
Slight sore head in the am for K ….. we walked it off into town for coffee. We gained a wine glass from last night – cheers S and J. We filled with water at Epidavros Ancient Theatre (K had spotted a tap when we visited here with the Aged P’s); thankfully as showers are due soon.  Here we discovered that our Corrie barks at dogs approaching near our Jez – maybe more of an ‘alarming’ dog than young Oscar?  
 
On to the coastal village of Ancient Epidauros and our super overnight parking.  Minor nanny nap walk along the front – spotting running routes for the morrow.  Now K freezes meals and takes a meal out of the freezer in plenty of time for it to defrost.  Pork and prunes due for tonight and it came out of the freezer last night.  We know it would have been yummy, but we were not to eat it.  It had already been eaten overnight … so that was the plastic bag shreds that J found on the floor this morning.  Note to self, move all defrosting items out of Corrie’s way!  No dog friendly restaurants – so supermarket tinned meatballs for supper – rather yummy too!  
 
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Our view out at Anc. Epidavros.
 
 
996 – Saturday 24th February:  Why Move?
 
We both ran in the morning – new system as we need to break Corrie in slowly to running ….. J runs first alone and then K with Oscar, whilst J breakfasts with Corrie.  A meander to the small Greco-Roman theatre – fresh excavations – along the nearby beach to site of a sunken city .   6-Nations rugby in the afternoon – Ireland narrowly slid past Wales keeping a Grand Slam hope alive….  England will play Scotland tomorrow.  K:  No comment on this, as we know how it ended …. badly!

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View back from the far beach where we ran to. 

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Walk to sunken city … funnily enough you can only see it on Google Earth as it is underwater!

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Didn’t expect to see a flock of geese on the beach and even more surprised when they set sail on the sea.
 
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A bit of cuttle fish … must think she’s a budgie!
 
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A local cafe …  more signs of getting ready for the season … both dogs managed to get in this pic.
 
997 – Sunday 25th February:  Corinth CamperStop
 
Destination Corinth Camperstop as Corrie will get spayed by the local vet tomorrow – fingers crossed…  The approach roads are very narrow and twisty – and uphills on a wet surface – traction control engaged – a successful, if scrabbling, landing.  The site: good pitches, lecky, waste and fresh water, chemical wc emptying, wc and showers – all for €10 per night!!!  We booked for 3 nights.   The owner pressed a load of sweet and seedless grapes on us.
 
Being on electric, I got the electric hob and slow cooker out.  Leek and potato soup, vegetable Korma and Greek spinach with beans (a feature on menus that Mum and I particularly liked) all cooked, bagged and heading for the freezer.
 

998 – Monday 26th February:  Vet
 
A short drive to the vet.  We stayed with Corrie whilst she had the sleepy, followed by the antibiotic and pain killer, injections … right up to when she went right under with the drip.  
 
We asked when we should come back.  Now, one would expect, being used to British vets, that the answer would be late afternoon.  No, only 40 minutes.  We removed ourselves to Jez for a coffee.  Hardly had we drunk this, but the vet appeared at our window waving us to come in so that we could be there as she came round.  Quite similar to taking a child down to theatre and being in recovery when they come round.  We have instructions and medications that J walked to the normal pharmacy to buy.  I was expecting an Elizabethan collar to stop her licking the wound, but the vet said this distresses the dogs, so unless she keeps worrying at it, best not to have one.  Very happy with that … not to mention how awkward the collar would be in such a small space 🙂  
 
Back at the Corinth Campserstop, we settled Corrie into her bed, but she eventually decamped to Oscar’s.  Not sure how he will take that tonight, as he used to sleeping beside me!  She has been out on unsteady legs for a pee and eaten scrambled egg and rice … the vet said street dogs normal eat much quicker than house dogs.  But very docile and sleepy.  She will go back to the vet tomorrow for another pain relief injection; good just to have the vet check her over again too.
 
Being settled for the day, I took O for a long walk and did laundry; the twin tub has sooooo been a worthwhile investment.  A neighbour told me a medium load here is EUR8 … well, I just saved EUR16.  James cleaned Jez inside and did the engine levels checks.  A productive afternoon.
 
The said neighbour is British ex-forces driving a small and ancient, but rusting Winebego.  He has driven from the UK with his massive drooling Mastiff, with the intention of buying land and erecting cabins in Crete.  Given he doesn’t seem that fit and is advancing in years, this seems somewhat challenging.  However, the real story is that his vehicle insurance expired on 1st Feb and the insurers refused to renew … something about not paying taxes there.  I am sure there MUST be a lot more to it, but he is now looking at registering himself in Greece so he can import the vehicle and get it taxed here.  He mentioned the vehicle is worth £2,000 on a good day, but the importing will cost £6,000.  Fellow motorhomers, Carol and Mike had mentioned another character here, who we have yet to meet … A Hungarian looking for a temporary bride … I forget what the reason was.  You do meet them on a trip like this.  
 
 

Oscar’s Diary (Renamed CO2)
 
Well, well, well (and well again).  Me flabber is feckin gasted!!!  If you’ve ever had yer blabber fasted, you’ll know wot I mean.  The owners have gone totally bonkers!  To cut a short story long…. James took me for my morning walk (and the other thing too) – off the lead (he’s learning well). This little pixie dog appeared – Wild Thing (there’s a song about that). She wanted to play – now I never pass up a chance of a bit of ‘RolyPoly’ – so we gamboled along nicely…..  Then J called K to see the little rascal from the van door – she looked at it and said “shall we adopt her?”.  J answered “yes”.  I thought K wanted an ‘adaptor’ from the garage so I was cool. Bejaysus, the next thing the young doggy was in my van and scoffing my food!  It appears they have taken her into my family permanently!!!!!  
 
K has called her ‘Corrie’ as she comes from Corinth (ancient).  How original is that, you say?  Not.  They could have called her Rover or Trixiebell or TrollyDolly or Wildthingiewotsit…. but no – blinking Corrie!  Mind you, she’s cute (that’s what K calls J – and he biffs her bottom!)  He likes a bit of bottombiffing…. no comment from me, there.  She is ok (not K but Corrie) and takes orders from me – which is the most important thing. We took her to a local vet and she is perfectly healthy (I didn’t want to catch a dose of fleaze or wormz) but she will need the ‘chop’…… It’s good that she’s no pussy (remember Mrs Slocum?).  Sparky enough – and would yez believe it?  She has snow white eye lashes!!!  What is the world coming to?  Any road up, she can stay as long as I have the power of Tito – sorry, vito…..  
 
Corrie here, readers….  I was out minding my own business and playing with this stud Oscar (he wanted his legover – but I never do it on the first date, anyway) – in my wildness area.  Before I knew it – I was dognapped!  Well, it means regular nosh and a nice bed in the warmth of something like a big tin can with wheels…. the owners are ok – J is a bit of a greco-roaming ancient – and K is a bit of a posh bird (she thinks).  They tell me I’ll meet doggys called Poppy and Boo (queer names) and Kenzie – in other countries – I’ve never been past Corinth. I had a family once but the Recession meant I was turfed out, like 1 million other Greek dogs – tragic.  I really wanted to be called Madonna or QueenBea, but Corrie is quite catchy (named after a street in somewhere called Manchester, I believe…  Oscar thinks he can order me around – now girlies – how many men are similarly denuded, sorry – deluded?
 
Yours in shox – Oscar and Corrie – next time it will be Corrie and Oscar.

Yassus, caramera and efharisto – and yackyda (Welsh for his nibs). 
 
 

987-992: Kalamata Based House Number 2

987 – Thursday 15th February 2018:  House Move

After 8 lovely days in Dimitros’ family home, we moved on to our second AirbNB – a total of 4 hours travelling (including comfort stops) in convoy, we drove through heavy mist, rain and sleet!  We had planned to visit Mystras on the way, but with the weather we aborted.  So a longish lunch it was near the marina in Kalamata … what else is one supposed to do in the rain?  
 
Our Southampton based AirBnB hostess had messaged that her father was in Athens hospital, who normally does the check in so, Lily, a family friend would meet us in Kalamata.   The designated spot was outside the bus station … no where for Jez to park there, so we had to tell Lily where to find us.  
Met Lily with her limited English and our non existent Greek.  She told K she would drive very slowly for us to follow.  And she did …  she guided us (me in Jez and K in Kitty) very slowly through Kalamata environs; so slowly that our 3 vehicle convoy was beeped – several times!  And thence via a narrow roads to our house.
 
Then the fun began…….  Our hosts (Lily and an uncle who has chickens on the property) wanted me to drive Jez into the driveway – narrow – no way at all!!!  But we were assured they were experience in getting vehicles in the tight turn.  K assured them that we were expert at knowing when our expensive motorhome would not fit!  Nothing daunted, our host hopped into the van and in fluent Greek and NVC said “there’s loads of other parking places”!  Off we went via narrower ‘boreens’ (Irish for little lanes) brushing past olive trees, muddy puddles – to a z bend with a steep ramp….. I paled and shook my head – but the neighbouring gent guided me down very slowly to a nice clear parking with room to manoeuvre. Sighs of relief all round and back to our new ‘kooky’ house – with huge deck and outside seating areas. Next – pre-prandial drinkies……. we had partaken of luncheon in Kalamata so no evening repast…… BBC TV news (a Bonus) and zzzzzzs quite early…..

988 – Friday 16th February:  Mystras 

A late start – we ran for quite short runs – great to be out though…….  departed at 11:00 for Mystras with me driving.  SatNav said 1 hour – actually 2 hours via mountain Z bends, gorges, rock tunnels, snow and stunning views…
Picnic in the car – Spanish Omelette using the fresh eggs we were given by the uncle.
The Mystras Byzantine site is amazing.  A whole town – we walked a lot and visited the monasteries (one still in use with 6 nuns and very fine frescoes) – Oscar stayed in the car in the shade.  We thought this would be one of Greece’s special places and it was.  Great photos too…
Rally driver K raced us back along the same mountain roads in just over 1 hour!!!  A Bulgarian Ford Transit in front wandered all over the road until we got past eventually…  Lidl shop and chill down evening – do we have any other kind?  No.
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Up over the hills to Mystras … snow ploughs had pushed the snow to the roadsides, thankfully.
 
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An even slower drive had we been in a motorhome!
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989 – Saturday 17th February:  The Mani – Stoupa and Ag Nikolaos

Katherine drive out to Stoupa and I back (K slept off a litre of wine (why not?). K:  I did share a little!   Stoupa we had missed on last drive down the Mani.  Stoupa as fellow motorhomer Dave is thinking, it may be an ‘investigate further place’ for a possible purchase … so it seemed worth looking at.  Bay with sand and lovely coffee spot.
Then onto Ag Nikolaos, which we had been to before (wild camped in the car park) … lunch in restaurant recommended by guide book … fish – nice enough but over priced for what we had and not the quality we had had in the fish restaurant near Napflio.
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Stoupa:  one of the best sandy beaches.
 
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 Crowing / Barking from the roof tops.
 
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Stoupa – a stunning bay.
 
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Despite holding the ladder that was rocking precariously and saving the restaurant staff member from certain death, we still felt lunch was over priced.
990 – Sunday 18th February:  Petalidi
We wanted an easy day … coffee (although some people had beer!) down the other coast … could just see the hills of the Mani with snow.
Back at house to use the washing machine, soup for lunch and Grumps found a black and white Western to watch in English with Greek subtitles.

IMG 0106 Petalidi:  quite ordinary but nice for all that.  And lovely to sit in the sun.

991 – Monday 19th February:  Kalamata Lunch
Wet wet wet!  We’d wanted to visit a supermarket, but they were shut … despite checking online and not seeing anything, it was clearly a Bank Holiday with kids off school.  We looked at Kalamata church.  Nothing remarkable.  The advertised (brown tourist signs) old town lacks any charm.  Many of the old town restaurants were shut … back to the front by Marina, where we’ve already eaten twice.  James and Mum watched a Greek Dancing display … Mum then ‘fessed up.  For some unknown reason, her girls’ school made the inmates do Greek dancing, robed in short dresses made from yellow parachute material and matching died yellow bigus knickers.  Lunch in same restaurant; the waiter recognised us from a few days ago and found us a table as everywhere was reserved.
Another b&w western back at the house.  And another evening of card games … won’t say who won!
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Outside Kalamata Cathedral … bust of previous Bishops, but there are gaps in years … were the missing Bishops not revered?  What had they done?
992 – Tuesday 20th February:  Final Day
 
Packed up and cleaned the house.  Jez had been residing unmoving at a neighbour’s house … down a semi dirt, semi tarmac track.  It had rained all day yesterday and over night.  We were mildly concerned that we would fail to get Jez back up.  With Traction Control ON, James gunned and slithered Jez up the slope, having also scattered gravel everywhere outside the house!
We used the motorway to Athens, as the sat nav wanted 9+ hours if we did not use them, instead of 3.5!  Rafina is a small port town, just west of  the airport so handy for a final lunch.  The waiter gave us a gift of garlic, chickpea and semolina sauce; tasty on J’s meatballs and chips with no sauce.  He also confirmed how they cook the beans with spinach that Mum and I had become rather partial to.
Airport drop off and then we overnighted in Porto Rafti, which we’d investigated when we’d had the hire car.
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Beach front parking at Porto Rafti.
 
Oscar’s Diary
 
Still in Grease folks – I think – but it’s all GrekoPaloma to me…  new doggy food – which my kind owners didn’t check out properly… it doesn’t fit in my daily planet eatery – the biscuits are too big. K: a plastic toy Oscar has to work with his snout to get biscuits to fall out of.  Never mind eh – that’s wot Katherine says (a lot).  Now then, I’ve discovered a new toy – it’s small and furry and squeaks a lot – very odd – but nicer than chickens (I was in awful bother when I inadvertently sort of deceased one some time ago).  Deceased chickens turn up for lunch but this one didn’t….  Anyway this new furry toy is called a cat, I believe – jolly little things – see photos below.  I have gotten as far as a quick sniff up the old ‘youknowwhat’ – more to come, eh? Some say they can scratch and cause K9 nose bleeds – me? I don’t believe it – I can hold my own with any furrier or catterie. Diane and Grahame came to stay – odd – Grahame runs away from me – but he’s getting braver – now he stays in the same room at least…bet I could do him in a carpet playfight… Diane gives me treats – I pretend to be a roof – sorry, aloof – hoping she’ll find more food… They’re ok really – the Raged Ts.  K says they are always on holiday – like us I suppose….  We’re off to Greete soon – a place for people called Greetians.  I wonder if that’s where they make Gretian 2000?  But I don’t use hair dye – K does – and J pretends not to – yeah, right….. (Lumme, I sound like a teenager).  Anyway, after that we will travel to Sandemonia and Gulfairia (K: Macedonia and Bulgaria!  Really Oscar!)  where I will meet Daisy and Pepper (doggy friends) – and San with Boxershorts – lovely people whom we came across in Elea wild camping spot – their uncle Bulgaria comes from Wimbledon (I wonder if he plays tennis?).
All for now – must go – Grahame needs some more training – happy to oblige, old son…..
Jaysus – oops, Jassus (Greek, you know).

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981-986: Nothing Naff in Nafplio!

981- Thursday 8th February 2018:  Nothing Naf in Nafplio

Now then readers – where do motorhomes come from? They’re not Greek or Roman (even Romahomes – or DunRoamins) – although as we are in Greece – we do like our fiery engined chariots….. No – I can exclusively reveal all – no, not that all please!  As you know, current motorhome manufacturers previously built caravans….  One day long ago three young people who built caravans got together in a wine bar – drinking Gluevine, Ouzo and Sambuka (as you do).  Their names were – Frau Harriet Hymer, Dinky Dethleffs and Randy Rapido….  They scratched their dandruff and thought “how can we make the business leaner and meaner (and get more money?).  Randy said “let’s put a washing machine engine in the front of the caravan?”. So, a brand new Miele 500 cc unit was gaffa taped to the front (on top of the tow bar). The dream was born – and the first purchasers could spin dry as they raced/rinsed around hairy mountain bends!!!  If anyone comes up with a better story – I will eat a grommet from our on board twin tub – which is not a Miele – it’s a Schaffer from 1767 (get your Googles out).  In 1767, Captain Samuel Wallis became the first European to visit Tahiti – and Daniel Boone reached Kentucky – why?  He wanted some fried chicken, perhaps…
What’s that got to do with Nafplio, you ask?  Well…to be honest – not a lot.  Nothing naf about Nafplio – it’s gorgeous – lovely harbour, shops – and people. Coffee in the sun in the town square – walking along the front….  Our Airbnb host had recommended a fish restaurant a few km away – off we went – on his local knowledge, we were well looked after…..
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Feels like a lagoon, but Nafplio is a large bay.
 
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The Bourzi island was originally a fortress, then the local executioner’s residence and then a hotel … go figure what all the ‘guests’ had in common!
 
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982- Friday 9th February:  Corinth – Ancient and Canal

K here, as I was the one that went in with the Aged P’s.  J stayed walked Oscar.  To be honest, Ancient Corinth was a bit of a disappointment.  So much of it had been knocked down and built over by the Romans, and then knocked down again by an earthquake.  The Odeon and Amphitheatre are viewed from the roadside and are certainly not the finest examples.  The Temple of Apollo and the cistern with its tunnels were worth seeing.  The museum was memorable as in 1990, thieves broke  in, wounded and tied up the guard and ‘removed’ 274 artefacts.  Most were recovered in Miami, USA, by the FBI.  The history is probably what makes Ancine Corinth so well known … it was a major capital, allied with Sparta and then against Sparta, allied to Athens and more interestingly, a reputation for licentious living, which St Paul attacked when he visited.
The Corinth Canal is deep (average 8 metres) and sheer in places (see photos).  We drove the far west end of the canal and had a road side / car park picnic.  It was a tad windy, and sadly we did not see any ships along the canal in the whole time we were there.  I know Carol and Mike didn’t see any passage either … perhaps it is just cruise / tourist ships in summer.
We used Maps.Me and spotted a private bridge over the canal.  We drove around there and were able to walk right over the centre of the canal.  The only down side was the smell, as the bridge carried sewage to the adjacent sewage works!
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Temple of Apollo in Ancient Corinth
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The Peirene Fountain with water channels off.  Rituals and ceremonies also took place here. 
 
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Picnic at the west end of the canal.  A tad windy so we did not linger. Pudding was fresh oranges from a neighbour at the house.  We didn’t steal… it was a gift, honest!
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Handsome boy.
 
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The Diolkos – paved road – the Romans unloaded ships and hauled the ships across this 4 mile flagway.  Safer than sailing around the Peloponnese…
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… This pix from the museum shows surprisingly large ships being hauled across.
 
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Amazing detail … a dressing table mirror.
 
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Such long toes!
 
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Such detail.
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From the smelly bridge.  Looking west.
 
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Who let the lunatics out?

983- Saturday 10th February:  Coffee and Lunch Mystery Tour

J’s turn to scribe … “Magical Mystery Tour” a la Katherine and her superb coordinary coordinates!  A Pyramid that looked like some large stones in a roughly shaped minyprid…..  A lake that was – a bit short of water…. Lunch with the locals (always a good idea) – while it rained outside – our repast was not dry…..   A coffee along the coast whilst sitting next to a roaring fire followed by a meze lunch … and the rain pretty much dogged us all day.

K:  what J does not reveal is that my data entry into the sat nav was flawed, we ended up in a neighbouring town, down a narrow lane and had to reverse a long way … thankfully we were in a car and not Jez.  We also managed to pass the rock church our destination … before realising it was our destination!

The house central heating wasn’t working so Grahame lit the fire with logs provided by the owner…. later, we foraged locally to find more ‘lumber’ (American?) to feed the hungry beast – we were toasty…..

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A pyramid, we think it was 4BC
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Church built into a rock overlooking a lake.  Actually a non lake.  Locals used to wash their carpets here, but now farmers take too much of the ground water further up, the lake is dry … so dirty carpets?
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You don’t get a fire like this in a motorhome!  or if you do, you have a problem!!!!  The heating problem was solved … lack of oil, but our AirBnB host sorted it promptly :).

984- Sunday 11th February:  Mycene

Again, I went in and J kept O away from the local barking hounds.  The setting is superb, a cliff on one side and mountains. This is one of the earliest examples of a citadel and was inhabited from 1700-1100BC.  The Tholos tombs here were stunning.  Huge and built as a circle and dome roof and then covered over with earth; they are no longer buried.  The Royal Palace was at the top and only nobles lived inside the walls.
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The main city is up a hill, again protected by hills on several sides.
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Tholos tomb of Clytemnestra.
 
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Bits of script were preserved due to a fire as the ‘slates’ would have been soft.
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I have conquered!
 
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Looking up out of the cistern.  A secret stairway of 99 steps, but visitors can only access as few.
 
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Postern Gate … a side gate – we had to look up the meaning of postern!
 
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The Lion Gate 13BC … we were lucky to photo this with no other visitors, as Mycene was quite busy with an American tour group and several school parties.  Mycene was always known about as part of the gate poked up above ground.
 

 985 – Monday 12th February:  Epidaurus

Massive amphitheatre – 12,000 people – and good other archaeological remains to see.  Most of the site was given over to Asklepios and healing.
Lunch – of course (at Epidural Beach – sorry, Epidaurus Beach). Many little courses – with no alcohol (for us) as it’s a dry day….
However, as the Aged Ps booked to visit us in ‘the Bulge’ – Bulgaria in Late July- we celebrated – with vino collapso (with no collapso)!!!

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The theatre is used for classical performances in the summer.  330BC.
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The Greeks had it seating 6000, the Romans doubled the capacity.  Ear wigging an English speaking guide, I discovered that Greek theatres have circular stages, but the Romans semi-circles.  Also the Greeks ‘invented’ theatre.  Followers of Dionysos celebrated with inebriated role playing and moved from dancing to theatre … the first purpose built buildings appearing in late 6BC.
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It may have been a healing centre, but exercise and games took place too.
 
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The water front stroll before lunch.

986 – Tuesday 13th February:  A Non Train Ride

We planned to travel on the Kalavryta-Diakofto railway at EUR19 each … their loss as no dogs.  So we drove there – only an hour and a half.  The   road followed some of the route the train would have, so some good views on the way up.  Good cafe break.  The Museum to the local Katarya WW2 holocaust was disturbing but it’s a must – ’no more wars’ – defitiely!  Sad news that old Leslie family friend (95) had fallen at home and may be failing – hope not – more news tomorrow – fingers crossed…
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The Germans planned reprisals against hill towns due to the partisan activity in the area.  They took all the men and boys over 13 up a hill and machine gunned them down.  The women and children were locked in the school and the building was set alight.  The women broke out and the German soldiers on duty there did not shoot, but herded them down hill.  In the morning, the women discovered the hill side strewn with bodies.  This was December and freezing, and they had to use any tools they could find and their bare hands to dig shallow graves for their menfolk.  A film with English subtitles followed the story with clips from survivors, who had been young children at the time.  It was immensely moving.
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The hillside where very few have proper headstones.
 
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Families were buried together.  Ages here were 55, 19 and 48.  One survivor talked about burying his father, 3 bothers and his brother in law together and the discussions about how to lay them out.   Lanterns marking burials were nameless.  The museum guide said 669 were massacred, the guide book quotes 1436.  The Germans moved onto neighbouring villages, shooting on sight.
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986 – Wednesday 14th February:  Nafplio, Fort, Karathona Beach and Another Good Lunch

Kitty car drove us to Nafplio Castle/Fort – stunning views.  Oscar doggy walk on Karathona Beach (overnight motorhomers have been moved on by the police recently … shame as a superb quiet spot).  Another excellent lunch in Napflio (recommended by Dimitrios) – finished off with coffee and Metaxa.

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Karathona beach … we’ve seen a few signs of getting ready for the summer season.

976-980: Post CITY Jobs and Chilling

976- Saturday 3rd February 2018:  Adria Stars

As arranged, we arrived in convoy (K in the hire car leading the way) at the Adria dealer – all of 15 minutes along the A8 – at 10:00 am.  Their service was fantastic – fixed our front noisy seat, spotted several issues we were unaware of – gave us a can of oil spray for the locks – and all for a whopping – €15!!!  They pointed us to a tyre shop for the puncture repair on the hire car – more amazing service – the boss and his young man – boss is a young 72 and fit as a fiddle – the people are just wonderful here…   And only EUR10.  Little old Lidl next – for essential supplies – wine – to quaff with the Aged Ps when they arrive on Wednesday…..
 
To Cape Melagathi – out on a spit of land – fresh sea site all around. Minor nanny nap for me.  K had a lovely walk down and up to the lighthouse – more ancient remains – little port and temple – great for an overnight.  2:00 am – and the wind was rocking us – again – thoughts of Pylos harbour (at least no salty waves washing over us)  – but not quite as strong here. We moved to the shelter of the facilities building and resumed sound sleep.
 
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The huge rusty nail out of he hire car tyre.  Tissues for scale. 
 
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Ancient Eraion:  a massive cistern and harbour.  What an amazing place to have lived.  Mostly 6BC.
 
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Cape Melagathi Lighthouse.
 

977- Sunday 4th February:  Jobs

Spring is in the air – and so is “Jezspringcleaning”!  Walls, ceilings, cupboards, etc.  Finished in time for the England v Italy rugby.  Did I mention that Ireland beat France by a wonder drop goal from our Jonny Sexton in injury time?  No – well consider it truly mentioned, then!  England v Ireland on St Patrick’s Day could be the tournament decider……..   And a great Welsh win.  What a start to the tournament.
 
Fellow motorhomer, Karl, dropped by (Aussie) – Mazda Bongo man – we loved our Bongo for 2 years. In conversation, it emerged that he is homophobic – thinks gays folk are unnatural – in this day and age?  Definitely not shared by us!  Not by way of pay back – but – we informed him that his vehicle must return to UK for MoT – due in the next 2 weeks – not in his plans – tough, Matey.  It’s a gay old life……  
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Water on both sides. 
 

978- Monday 5th February:  A BIG Move … Not!

My first run for 18 days! We both ran – just a few km to get back in the groove…  Filled with water at the tap behind the building – and a major move – for all of 2 km!  To a nearby beach on Lake Vouliagmenis, with gently lapping sea just beside us – restaurant – we booked for early supper at 4:00 pm.   Two lovely spots suggested by Pete, who has a Google Map of Greece wild spots … peejays Greece Stopovers a must for anyone travelling in Greece.
 
Boyos haircuts – lots of wild cats – better than wild dogs. Surprise – Haken and Helena (from Sweden) motorhomers, arrived.  We dined well at the restaurant – with fried fish – leftovers by K for a chowder tomorrow…
 
Fell asleep to the sound of waves lapping on the shore.
 
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Greek salad, 8 humungous langoustine and a plate of white? fish with wine for EUR33 …. stuffed.  Real quality. 

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Photo of the TV in the restaurant as it was an Oscar brand, but it was not as ancient as the couple running the restaurant.  There was a quirky stove with funnel flue in the centre. 
 
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Walk around one side of the lake …
 
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979- Tuesday 6th February:  Corinth/Isthmia!

Am – we ran – just a few kms…. but good exercise.  A local man gave us good advice about house purchasing in Greece – lots of folk moving from owned to rented – legacy of the recession.  Jez and Kitty (reg KTI) car to Corinth/Isthisa – manic wild dogs in a bun dance (sorry).   So bad that at one point J wielded a stick to keep an aggressive one at bay, whilst K walked on sharpish with Oscar.  We’ve not often found the dogs aggressive, other than outside the Acropolis and here.  We Facetimed with K’s great aunt Gladys in Eastbourne when Mum and sister Clare visited her – 95 years young…..   K Lidl-shopped in Corinth.   
 
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The east entrance of the Corinth Canal.
 
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Definitely seeing more spring flowers around.  J took a lovely close up of a dandelion, but I told him that I refused to put a pic of it up as it is a weed!
 

980- Wednesday 7th February:  Aged Ps Arrived  

The wild dogs put us off running….. moved south to our Airbnb in Anifli, near Nafplio – owner Dimitrios and Maria (daughter) welcomed us hugely – Jez squeezed into the driveway. We unloaded a LOT of STUFF and had a nap.  To Athens airport to collect Diane and Grahame – back to HQ for some glasses of vino and chat – until 1:00 am…..

Zzzzzs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

965-975: Athens Antics

965 – Wednesday 24th January:  A Long Drive

First longish drive for ages…….should recharge the leisure batteries – given the lack of constant sunshine…..From Glythio to Marathonas beach wilding – €39 in m’way tolls but it was a good idea to shorten the journey. 
 
A lovely remote overnight parking on the beach near closed restaurants that may open at weekends……  About 2km of sand and sea.
 
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  Snow en route and snow ploughs were out along the m’way through the centre of the Peloponnese.   

967 – Thursday 25th January:  Marathonas

Into Marathonas town and – we passed the Marathon museum!  I had to visit (K and O stayed in Jez). Huge empathy from my 4 marathons (long time ago – last in 1988).  The photo is Dorado Pietri (Italian) finishing the 1908  London Olympic Marathon. He fell several times within sight of the finishing line and was helped across by stewards – promptly disqualified!  For his bravery, Queen Alexandra presented him with a special cup – he’s now world famous as the runner who did not properly complete the course!  
 
We headed to Nea Kifisia campsite NE of Athens – better for me to stay while K is in Blighty to see Maddy…only 2 days.  Not much to do except walk Oscar, visit the local mini market – and read……and chill.
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Dorando Pietri.
 

968 – Friday 26th January:  K Brighton Bound

I drove K to the Athens airport in the afternoon – and navigated back to campsite successfully – with my co pilot Oscar!
 
K Here:
Being 2 hours ahead, I landed at 10.15 p.m. UK time, but it was midnight for my body clock.   We went to Maddy’s flat in Brighton via a super supermarket … I bought mostly herbs and spices that I can’t easily find over here.  And Saturday’s supper request was that I cook a roast chicken!  By the time we chatted and had a glass … my body was in free fall.
 
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Met at Gatwick 🙂  A wonderful welcome by my Munchkin.
 
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Got to pick up my birthday and Christmas pressie … love ‘em.

969 – Saturday 27th January:  Brighton Day

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Maddy drove me along the coast to her workplace.  Steel comes in by boat, off loaded by use of magnets.  Into the sheds for drilling and cutting and out on the left onto trucks.
 
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We went on the Pier … the Shove TwoPenny is sooooo additive.  Had a giggle on the House of Horrors.  This is Maddy’s new date!

We had lunch in Brighton and then shopped till we dropped … trousers for Maddy, new waterproof for me and deodorant for J (he has a special one!).  Chicken back at Maddy’s and movie night.  Hagen Daas and chocolate, of course!
 

970 – Sunday 28th January:  Breakfast and Back to Greece

Up in time to dive into the centre for breakfast.  Banana milk shake was followed by pancakes for someone. I had a green smoothie … aren’t I sanctimonious!  I’d bought M a super cheap slow cooker (all of £10 with a 2 year warranty … how do they do that!?, so we headed to the supermarket to fill Maddy’s fridge with food for the week and for the slow cooker.  We were cutting it just OK for my flight, but then hit a motorway closure … oops… I arrived at the airport with only an hour to spare.  Not only was I scanned, but my ruck sack was pulled for inspection.  I had electric cables and plugs for the motorhome, as well as all those food items.  I’m trying to keep cool and not tell the chap hurry up, as he pulled out cornflower and icing sugar … fortunately for me, he was off on his break in 3 mins so he did not even use his drug/explosive dust swab.  A fast walk through the airport and I made the gate, just with time to buy a bottle of water and a coffee.
 
At Athens airport I picked up a hire car, which we had booked as we had anticipated our Friend Alison coming to see us tomorrow.  Sadly she has had to postpone her trip to us as she is awaiting a heart procedure.  
 
Being with Maddy was very emotional … whilst we talk and text a lot, it is not the same as a good hug and hanging out with her.  I will see her next in May.
 
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971- Monday 29th January:  Checking Out Sleep Spots 

Laundry day – well part of… we drove our hire car (an Astra diesel and nice to drive) to Porto Rafina to check out wild parking spots – met some lovely Transcendental Meditation ladies from Athens and USA.  Nice seaside lunch and then to Porto Rafti for more wildspeccing – including for K when I go to Nice to see my daughter in March and for moi whilst K is in UK in May – well travelled us?  a lot of flights booked!  Then – to Glifda and Pireas for researching our proposed trip to Crete!  Did we mention this?  A few people, especially on a forum that K is is on, have raved about it, various motorhome bloggers have said it is the best place to motorhome … and K bought the guide book whilst in Brighton … looks like we’re going then! 
 
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Mezze lunch in Rafina.
 

972- Tuesday 30th January:  Athens Walking Tour

Car driving in central Athens is – “interesting”…… nobody bothers about lanes or speed restrictions – and the motorbikes/scooters come from all sides!!!  But, as we have driven our previous motorhome in central Palermo in the rush hour – Athens by car is a doddle… We even managed to find free on road parking each day we drove in.  As we’d given ourselves lots of time I ingested an omelette special in a restaurant next to where we parked the car.  The owner gave us his business card so we could find our way back … kind.  Actually K spicks a Save on our location in maps.me so we can route our way back, but it would have been ungracious to explain that.  
 
Our guided walking tour – with Michael (Masters degree in Classics) was a lovely 2 hours – with excellent local information and anecdotes.  If any local politician or leader took too much power – he was ‘ostracised’ – hence the origin of the word. Only the true born Athenians (6,000) could vote – the other 40,000 were lesser citizens!  If that applied in UK, not many people would have the franchise!  When we later met Carol and Mike their tour was over 3 hours and so much more informative … ho hum.  
 
The photos below tell the story… 
 
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Tower of the Winds in the Roman Forum 2BC.  Combined weather vane and water clock.  The external friezes depict the 8 winds.

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Byzantine Church 1000AD

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The area where the Greek nobility attended to vote.  6000 men were entitled to vote and at one point were enticed with silver to attend.  Votes were taken on every and any issue daily.

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Herodes Theatre AD161, restored in 1955 and used for concerts.

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We couldn’t eat it all … Tzatziki, Moussaka, baked Feta with peppers, salad and wine … set price EUR25 for two.  And the sun shone.


973- Wednesday 31st January:  Acropolis

Our motorhome convoy moved to a wild S of Athens.  Soupful lunch in Jez – and off to Athens again – I walked around the Acropolis Museum and then the actual site itself.  Very impressive – but we have been truly spoiled by the Greco-Roman remains in Sicily and Italy…   Then – a K-phone app guided walking tour to see more local sites.
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Views from Areopagus, where youths hang out with a beer at night.  
 
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There is the Acropolis, a couple of other hills and a massive urban sprawl … thankfully very few high rises.
 
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Acropolis Museum:  Alexander the Great.

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James came out of the museum and caught me red handed … oreo and milk chocolate flavour.  Yummy.  Note the new Maddy boots.

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View up to the Acropolis.  Only the Temple of Athena Nike 426bc has been restored fully so far.
 
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Propylaia – the enormous entrance.

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The Parthenon was covered in scaffolding and plastic sheets when I visited it 30+ years ago … got to see a bit more this time.  They have only just replaced the crane inside that had been in service all this time.

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J mastering a selfie 🙂

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Hadrian’s Arch AD131 – positioned to deliberately mark the boundary between the ancient Greek city and the new Athens of Hadrian.  Two inscriptions read “This is the ancient city of Theseus” and on the other side, “This is the city of Hadrian, not of Theseus”, just in case Athenians were not sure!

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The Temple of Olympian Zeus. Was the largest in Greece.  It started in 6BC, but not completed for 650 years .. a bit like the slow Acropolis rebuilding programme!

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Panathaenic (Olympic) Stadium in the site of the original stadium  330BC.  It was reconstructed for  gladiatorial contests in Hadrian’s time, then in AD144.  In 1896 it had a major reconstruction in time for the first modern Olympic Games.  It seats 60,000.  In 2004 it was used for Archery and the end of the Marathon.

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The Royal Palace was completed in 1842, destroyed by fire in 1909 and used as the Parliament building since 1935 … very plain compared to the English Houses of Parliament, about to undergo it’s own £40b (+) renovation.  I tried to stand next to the elite guard for my pic … he stamped his gun on the ground and an ordinary army officer came and told me to move off the step.  Carol was told on her walking tour that they only stamp their guns if they are threatened … was he concerned about me or Oscar?  The tomb of the unknown soldier is behind me.

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And without me.
 
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Byron being crowned by Greece.  Carol and Mike were told Byron was having his hair combed!
 
 
 974- Thursday 1st January:  Agora and Meeting Up

 
Athens Camping was our next stop – to hook up again with Carol and Mike (we met them at Ionian Camping at Christmas). Athens centre again – so far we’ve managed free on street parking – lucky…  K walked around the Agora – and then later we walked through the old town – narrow market streets and very touristy.  We had a date with Mike and Carol for an early supper – walked it off back to our Astra and back up the A8 to the campsite.  
 
 
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Walk through the park and stumbled on Socrates Prison.  The holes in the wall were where wooden building were attached to the rock.  During WW2, the caves were cemented up concealing museum artefacts.

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The Agora … the Greek Forum equivalent, where all the business took place.  This is the Stoa … shops now a timeline museum.

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Pan … just amazing quality.

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A Kleroteria – an allotment machine to see who was to be called for jury duty.  People inserted their bronze name tags into the slots, into the top were poured black or white balls.  By means of a crank handle the balls were released selecting an entire row for jury service.
 
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Ostracism – intende to protect the city from aspirants to despotic power.  Voters scribbled ‘candidates’ names on pottery shards and these were then counted.  The ‘winner’ was then ostracised from the city for 10 years.

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Ancient Athens Weights and Measures.  Financial transactions were supervised by the Agora (Greek Council).  These are official vessels for dry goods.

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Lead tokens for issuing pieces of armour.  The images are representations for helmets, breastplate, shields etc.  Middle 3BC.

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These vessels have a hole in the top to measure the water and one at the bottom … when the water has emptied, the orator has to stop speaking.  I think some teachers could have done with this!

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View from the Temple Hephaisteion of the Stoa and the Acropolis.

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Temple Hephaisteion 449BC and the best preserved in all Greece … it’s roof is still intact, but you can’t go in.

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The security at the Temple took this … nice chap.
 
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Tourist tat in lots of the old streets.

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Late lunch/early supper with Carol and Mike.
 
 

975- Friday 2nd February:  Acropolis 2, Benaki Museum and Central Market 

We had planned to high tail out of Athens, but felt we ought to give it another shot.  Oscar is an impediment.  Being 21kgs, he is too heavy to go in a bag (not that he would entertain this), so the Metro is out.  Our only option for visiting the metropolis is to drive in.  Given the traffic and erratic parking, a motorhome is a no go.  So it sort of made sense to do another day whilst we had the car.  There is free camper parking S of the Acropolis, but we worry about being a newish van in a city … we were broken into in Copenhagen.  So … another day it was.
 
Drove in with C and M – they wandered through the Acropolis – Oscar and I sat and braved the wild dogs.  Note: most of the wild dogs in Greece have been quite friendly … these were NOT.  One attacked our boy.  Bastard.  The nice man in the cafe came out to call the dogs off.  Almost forgave him his prices … €7.00 for a coffee and Twix – extortionate but – tourist prices – I wonder how much it would be in high summer?  
 
Separately, we went into the Benaki Museum – we’re close to being ‘museumed’ out…..and ‘cityfied’ out…   Choice over Archaeological Museum as would take 3-5 hours each and we’ve had enough of being in a city.  Central Market for meat and veg … stagger back to car with a good load in our back pack and shopping bag.  
 
Earlier back to the campsite than planned as early start next day … our Bristol based Adria dealer has sadly gone bust (we really liked the people that ran it and worked there, so we are very sad for them), so we booked the only Greek Adria dealer to look at front seat at 10.00 tomorrow.  It ‘complains’ and grinds when we swivel it.  Not sure if it is a warranty issue or not, but since UK Adria dealers will not take on warranty work for another dealer … we may have to pay and labour rates are cheaper here.
 
K made more haute cuisine soup and prepped a beef stew for the next day.
 
Evening drinkies at chez M and C – and early abed…..
 
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Theatre of Herodes.

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From the Acropolis you can see the Olympic Stadium, Hardian’s Arch and Temple of Olympian Zeus.

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And now inside the Benaki Museum … a private collection.
 
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Marble Cycladic female figures 2300-2200BC.  Inspired later artist such as Van Gogh.

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Bronze folding mirror showing Aphrodite and Eros.  280BC.  Perhaps a bit heavy for a handbag, but amazingly constructed.

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Lord Byron’s portable desk, pistols and portrait.

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The table where King Othon signed the Greek Constitution in 1844.  The actual manuscript and Othon’s pen.

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Part of the university.  Strangely a statue of Gladstone in front.  Wonder if some wag of a student was posing a maths sum?
 
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The Central Market … great food and great prices … I had to buy some meat from this chap since he’d obligingly posed.  We just had to lug it 1.8km back to the car!