1006-1012: Heading Down the Final FInger

1006 – Tuesday 6th March 2018:  Salanti to Drepano

Fantastic early sunshine – excellent running along the beautiful beachfront at Salanti and K took O with C for the first time running off lead.  Shall we stay here another night?   Hmmmm…no – we’ll go to campsite Triton ii at Drepano and get electricatified and laundrifryed….or summat like that!  Speaking of Frys – we’ve been listening to Stephan Fry talking about Greek Gods – talk about incest and debauchery!  Then there’s Hermaphrodite – merged man with woman – so he/she became both – with a ‘ballsgina’…. 

The campsite was excellent and at €20 per night is reasonable value – hedged pitch with water … twin tub set up for laundry …..bike maintenance – until I discovered my front wheel was a nut short of a shilling!  Bikes back into garage…..K swept all before her, including the garage floor.  Along came Sue and Pete in their van – they (like us) are semi looking for a house in the area – exchange of views.  Lovely hot showers and evening BBQ – first of the year and we missed the Webber Smokey Joe … a Cadac just ain’t the same. ….. Another day in ‘Pelopsadise’.   

 

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Salanti: We woke to a super sunny day … you just can’t beat the colour of the sea here.

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It got a bit congested whilst we had breakfast!

 1007 – Wednesday 7th March:  Viva Vivari

Running again –….. walk to Vivari for lunch – red mullet for K and enormous pork chop for moi – and vino. Manager introduced us to a local estate agent…..   a nip of wine in Drepano en return route to Jez.  Has this become a pub crawl?

We invited Sue and Pete for drinkies – lots in common…..rather boozy evening (day actually!) but lovely. Well, tomorrow is one of our ‘dry’ days…..

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Vivari is a stunning fishing village on the shores of Drepano Lake, which opens out to sea.

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1008 – Thursday 8th March:  Corinth to Nafplio

“Buona sera, signorina – buona sera – it’s time to say hello to Napflio…”  OK, the original song is about Napoli – but now relevant to Napflio. But first to Corinth where Corrie got her stitches out, micro chipped and rabies jab. Next week we will return for database entries as their computer systems were down…  New doggyfood  as our current supplies have all been eaten – by whom?  Yes, you guessed it…    

Parked on the harbour side in Napflio – several other motorhomes there.  Tried the nearest estate agent – closed.  Bike shop for wheel nuts – they need to check their store for the correctly threaded nut – we need to have a clockwise screw (is that in the Kama Sutra?)…..so you sit on a clock and…..(enough of that James! – the second hand might stick in your wotsit – ouch!).  

So – back to Napflio in the am to check the estate agent and bike shop – we’ll overnight on the harbour side –  tad windy but quite OK…….

1009 – Friday 9th March:  Nafplio to Kosmas

One non-Aged P has a birthday – Diane is getting younger!  Phone call to congratulate her…..  Back to estate agent for lots of helpful advice on buying…..bike shop had the correct ‘Rama Putra’ screw nut – and washers as well.  

Jezzed along another stunning coastline – lunch near Leonidi – and the inevitable tight mountain town streets.  Then along a superb gorge to Kosmas for overnightie – just above the town in one of our most secluded wild spots – we could have stayed in town near the church – but the ‘campanology’ might have awoken us (that’s a camping analogy for bellringing, I think…).  

Lovely wooded area for doggoperambulating…… 

 

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The pic doesn’t do the gorge justice.

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Kosmas:  When you van don’t go anymore, it’s useful life is not over.

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Our super quiet parking.

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My wooded walks.

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Watch out Oscar … Corrie is learning your stick game!

1010 – Saturday 10th March:  Lower Monemvasia Day 1

Today, the non-Aged Ps have an anniversary…..lots of wedded years – another phone call!   Drove to Monemvasia – Gibraltar rock of Greece.  Perfect beachside overnight parking – filled Jez with watering can from local tap – young teenagers helping and so polite – after their swimming. They cold showered on the beach – brrrrrrr…….!  

Post-luncheon walk to Lower Monemvasia – through carpets of wild flowers to the kooky town – and – wine. Sorry loads of pix as it was so beautiful and the Aged Ps had wanted to visit, but it was too far from where we stayed with them.

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View of the Peloponnese Rock of Gibraltar from our car park. 

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Looking back to our parking.

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I can’t express how lush and beautiful everywhere is … the wild flowers are just stunning.

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We followed the slightly overgrown flower meadow path to the Lower Town.

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Arriving.

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The terrace bar … it don’t get any better than this.

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You can just make out some of the ruins of the Upper Town on the cliff.

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1011 – Sunday 11th March:  Upper Monemvasia Day 2

Another home phone call – Mothering Sunday….

It is so hot – we walked in shorts, T-shirts and walking boots in 20+c sunshine.  Flower meadow again to Lower Town and then up to Upper Town. Church, fortress and water cisterns – back to Lower Town – for “fionn ban” – Amelia and the Gaeilgoiri will know this as white wine in Gaeilge. En route back to Jez – a bar called to us – a couple ‘for the road’ – well it was a long 400 litres – metres back home…..nanny nap.  Snacks, chocolate and crips had been our survival food today!

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The Church C12 is the only restored building up here.

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A petal amongst flowers.

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And another.

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Ancient church, ancient haman and young hubby!

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From the fortress.

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Finding some shade.

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1012 – Monday 12th March:  Monemvasia Cleaning Day 3

A fourth phone call home …. got into the daily habit after a birthday, anniversary and Monthering Sunday!

Jezkleaningday……how come we have millions of extra white doggyhairs?  Corrie!  Despite K’s a.m. routine being dogg tooth cleaning with chicken flavoured paste and brushing!  

Walking along the front and town – a glass of wine?  Perchance x2 (?)….. Some may say we’re a couple of ‘old soaks’ – definitely not!  Because we are not ‘old’, at all!!!  

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No babies here, unless they are correctly presented!






999-1005: Resuming the Eastern Finger

999 – Tuesday 27th February 2018:  Recovery Time
 
Visit to the lovely vat in Corinth again – for Corrie antibiotic and pain killer jabs – she’s recovering beautifully….  We bought 3 months of anti flea stuff for both doggies – €288!!!  Whilst we had Advantix and Advocate for Oscar to last us till we got home, the ‘stuff’ we’ve been sold is more appropriate to the Med countries.  Expensive babies… but well worth it.  Quiet day but we managed to walk Corrie a little further.   Laundry day and some cleaning.
 
 
1000 – Wednesday 28th February:  Methano
 
We showered at the Corinth Camperstop – fellow motorhomers take note – 2 showers in 3 days!  Down the most easterly fickle finger of fate – well of Plops. Methano is on an isthmus – bur rather dead town – nice walking to a beach at the end of the front.  An overwintering Swedish gentleman engaged us and told us lots about the town.  He’d been staying here since 1994 and explained how the local council funding changed a few years ago and now they have a daily bus and few ferries.   He said it only gets going in August, well we aren’t hanging around that long.  We struggle to find a bar …for the obligatory glass of vino.  Usually it is easy to find one where all the men sit and chew the fat.
 
Celebrating 1,000 days of full time travelling!!!!!  How about that, folks…..
 
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Playtime and cuddles.

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1001 – Thursday 1st March:  Methano Volcano and Galatas
 
I ran 5 km for the first time in more than 2 months – K ran 4 km.  Aborted long walk up to volcano due to Corrie recovery time. So we parked at a layby nearer and had shortish part scramble up to top – Corrie hopped up the hill in sparky mode…  Young couple going up to volcano – the lady wore a pretty dress and flat boots (?)… interesting what some people wear for a walk.  
 
Onwards to Galatas to check ferries to nearby island of Poros for tomorrow. Lovely quiet wilding in boat yard.
 
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Methana Volcano.
 
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Great views of the mainland and small islands.  The ruddy rock is volcanic.
 
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A triangular cleft in the rock is the volcano … or at least so the sign states!
 
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Now I have sensible footwear!
 
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Poros from Galatas.

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1002 – Friday 2nd March:  Pouring Poros
 
We Jez’ed to a car park walking distance to the ferries – and we’ll wild there tonight as we planned to lunch in Poros.  Corrie didn’t like the big step into the small taxi boat and had to be lifted.  We walked a circuit of the island in the rain – not heavy though.  As it came down heavier, we took luncheon in a crowded restaurant – lots of families reunited with their sons. They were celebrating the end of 9 months naval National Service.  The Naval Base doesn’t actually have a ship according to our waiter, so I’m not sure what they do there.  We googled about Greek National Service.  Most conscripts are paid all of €8.80 per month!   They get board and lodging, but families have to support spending money.  If they join the Army, they only have to do 6 months.  Women do not have to do National Service, but if their weight and height is OK, they can volunteer.
 
Some large ferries coming and going; one is a 12 hour cruise from Piraeus which takes in 3 islands briefly for over EUR100.  
 
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Poros.
 
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1003 – Saturday 3rd March:  Sunny Poros
 
We woke, ran and decided to stay another night – why not?  We have amazing views and quiet ambience… AND THE FORECAST IS SUPER SUNNY. Listened last evening by the church service coming across the water from Poros.  We hadn’t realised how much of the Greek service is sung.
 
Sunday is normally van cleaning day but we brought it forward….   K pruned Oscar-hair and then pruned my knob – no, not that one – the hairy one!  I’m busy digging a hole here – ok – she cut my hair on the top of my nut!  The usual perambulation into town and coffee – with 2 knobs of ice cream for Katherine – should I drop the knobtalk?  OK…..   
 
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Our 2 night view….
 
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1004 – Sunday 4th March:  Ermioni
 
Almost back to running every day….but rest days are also compulsory – I ought to know that after 39 years of trying!  K did spillatez while doggos watched.  Passed lots of lemon groves and lovely bays en route.  Nice large parking (for overnight) beside a school – WC available for chemical toilet disposal. Walked along the sea wall and up through woodland (Corrie off the lead!) to a headland and back to town – and a glass of vino. This town is quite touristy but very attractive. We ‘people watched’ and saw the ferries coming and going to Hydra.  Back at the overnight there was a family of gypsies – 6 children – one youngster did his toilet on the pavement….
 
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Looking to Ermioni from our parking.
 
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Walk along the wooded headland.
 
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1005 – Monday 5th March:  Portoheli and Salanti
 
Guess what – 4 day running in the past 5! K pillatesed again….. On around the coast – spectacular – monied villas and holiday resorts. Lunch in Jez 
and town stroll in Portoheli.  Salanti was our overnight destination – parking in front of a huge deserted and completely derelict hotel complex. Surrounded by trees with large processionary caterpillar pods!  The route in was not suitable so we aborted and found a better road down – to a fantastic beachfront parking! With no deadly caterpillars. Completely alone and long beach for CO2 walking – so quiet too.  This will be a good running route for tomorrow.  Alcohol dry night (it’s Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays, usually).  We sat in the sun and chilled until the temperature dropped…

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View from our Salanti parking.

CO2 Diary (Oscar and Corrie)

Now then, girlies (Corrie here) – let’s have some female talk about our things…  Young Oscar still thinks we do ‘it’ on the first date – but decorum must prevail…keep ‘em guessing and let them do all the chasing. Mind you, he plays so nicely in the van – he’s a quick learner but, he regularly mentions a girlie called Kensey – I bet she’s a real flibbertigibbet….  As for Bobby and Poo – well they’re Scottish y’ken…… decent rugby team, though (tell K about that).  New owners are still ok – nosh on time and I nick Oscar’s bed regularly – he’s ok with that.  They say we’re going to a place called NafPlyo soon – for a Karnival thingy – I may have been there in a previous life…   By the way, they don’t like me chewing things – so why leave nice stuff just asking to be chewed?  They have slooper goo to stick those suckers back together – no big deal?
 
Oscar here – C thinks I will chase her – yeah, well – I can get my rocks off elsewhere… I’ve been around the block a few times – just you read Hello magazine soon – I might be invited to a Royal wedding in May – some people called Vegan and Tarry – his granny is a pearly queenie in a Buckinghamshire Villa.  
 
Nostimosh to all – and adio for now xx
 
Corrie and Oscar
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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.

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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.