1013-1018: Snow in Antibes and Sun in Sounio

1013 – Tuesday 13th March 2015:  Coast to Lake

We reluctantly left Monemvasia; a really lovely place.  As we’d stayed 3 instead of 1 nights, we had no time to continue exploring this peninsular.  James has a flight on Thursday to Nice to visit one of his daughters and family and we have to stop in Corinth to pick up Corrie’s Pet Passport.  The young lad at Athens Adria had told us about a lake not too far from Corinth, so we headed there.  

It was a stunning drive up through hills to Lake Doksa.  The lake itself was pretty enough but two factors meant we won’t go back.  The whole place was infested with processionally caterpillar pods.  I took the dogs for a lead walk around the lake, only to be followed by some old codger in a battered old car.  He followed at distance, but kept flashing his lights at me.  Thankfully, that was all he flashed.  Fortunately I had a phone signal, so James walked fast to meet me.   It was super quiet at night.

IMG 0253

Sunrise from our Monemvasia Parking…

IMG 0254

IMG 0256

We had climbed and climbed and then through a pass, cut out in the rocks and then the view opened up to the valley below.

IMG 0855

Our parking on Lake Doksa.  45 minutes to walk around, slightly faster if you get a wiggle on, as being followed!

IMG 0857

Back up nearly level with the snow.  The heating came on for the first time in quite a while.

IMG 0858

From tugging at Oscar’s stick, Corrie is now chasing him for it …

IMG 0859

… He’s getting a lot more exercise!

1014 – Wednesday 14th March:  Leaving the Peloponnese

We had another pretty mountain drive down and then through Nemea … worth coming back to as we spotted signs for wine routes and lots of wineries that we could visit for sampling and purchases.  Into Corinth for the Vet … Pet Passport and microchip registered for no additional charge … a gift, with a smile and a very firm long farewell hand shake.  Rather than come back to this vet for the rabies blood tests, which will take about a month to come back from the Government laboratory, we will try to get this done in Crete.

We headed onto Athens, as we wanted to be near the airport.  I was driving and discovered that the Colin Co-Pilot had taken us through the centre of Athens!  I had to wake J to help with the navigation, as I was too busy spotting cars, pedestrians and buzzing motorbikes.  I don’t suppose many motorhomes have been through the equivalent of Parliament Square in London … but actually it was fine. 

We stopped at a lovely beach front in Ag Marina.  Pretty sure I’ll come back here.

IMG 0860

Lake Stimfalia on our route towards Athens.

IMG 0869

Ag Marina.  Beach restaurant for a glass whilst we watched a flotilla of tinies (boats and kids).


1015 – Thursday 15th March:  J to Antibes and K to Porto Rafti

Leisurely start and then I dropped J at the airport.  I then went onto Porto Rafti, which we’ve visited before.  

IMG 0880

I took a walk along the coast and found a lovely small beach.

IMG 0897

How’s that for a bonnie baby?

IMG E0881

My evening view.


1016 – Friday 16th March:  South to Sounio

My plan for my solo weekend is to explore the peninsular SE of Athens. The Temple of Poseidon in Sounio being at the point.  En route I planned to Lavrio, which had been a major mining town, including silver, and a port.  However, the museum I had wanted to visit was shut and although driving through the town, it looked quite smart, I didn’t fancy a coffee.  Being ‘towed’ by two dogs through the town did not appeal, so I continued south to the Temple.

This was the first time we’ve left dogs home alone.  I came back after a speedy 35min tour of the Temple and no sign of the dogs.  Usually Oscar is on the dashboard. I crept up and peered through the window.  Both were sat facing each other as if in conversation!  No damage 🙂

I drove down to a parking by a couple of restaurants.  The one I intended using had coach party of late teens deposited inside … change of plan … into the other one. Having checked with the lovely waitress that I was OK to stay overnight, I ordered wine and a Shrimp Saganki … absolutely delicious and I was not charged for the water or the coffee.  And I sat right by the water’s edge looking up to the Temple.  Perfectly romantic, except for one thing … James was not with me.

P1150822

Temple of Poseidon.  Right at the edge of a cliff.  Little else remains of the fortifications and habitation, but it is very striking.

P1150839

P1150843

P1150846

These ground birds were making a complete racket … no idea what though.

P1150852

My overnight with the Temple looking benignly on.  My super lunch was in the restaurant on the water’s edge.

IMG 0903

All lit up at night time…. taken with my phone.

IMG 0901

Afternoon walk along the coast.  Nothing like as spectacular as the Peloponnese coast.

1017 – Saturday 16th March:  Sun and Snow

I had intended to stay somewhere along the coast … but it really is not appealing.  The road quickly became dual carriageway with pedestrian underpasses from hotel complexes to the private beaches.  Very built up and it must be hideous in high season. So I kept going and ended up back at Ag Marina. I’ll stay put for 2 nights.  

I had lunch in the beach restaurant … second Shrimp Saganki in 2 days!  Not as good as yesterdays.  I also managed to do some hand washing … not something I would normally do, but there is no where to replenish my water supplies and the twin tub uses too much.  

James meanwhile was earning lots of grand-dad brownie points.  The family had driven up into the hills in search of snow.  Sarah said he had to be persuaded to get in the car to leave.

IMG 0924

93635343 6325 47a7 95c7 f1c3d6e92a70

989a4fab 9d43 462b b4f2 6e0369cf1cf1

6e94d9b3 94d5 44b0 826d c03f45461e79

What a big kid!  

 


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’.   

 

IMG 0176

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

IMG 0179

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…..

IMG 0752

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

IMG 0755

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…… 

 

IMG 0761

The pic doesn’t do the gorge justice.

IMG 0768

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

IMG 0182

Our super quiet parking.

IMG 0772

My wooded walks.

IMG 0783

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.

IMG 0185

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

IMG 0190

Looking back to our parking.

IMG 0193

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

IMG 0194

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

IMG 0198

Arriving.

IMG 0199

IMG 0201

IMG 0209

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

IMG 0211

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

IMG 0787

IMG 0789

IMG 0790

IMG 0794

IMG 0796

IMG 0799

IMG 0800

IMG 0811

IMG 0817

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!

IMG 0213

IMG 0216

IMG 0218

IMG 0219  1

IMG 0221

The Church C12 is the only restored building up here.

IMG 0223

A petal amongst flowers.

IMG 0228

And another.

IMG 0822

IMG 0823

Ancient church, ancient haman and young hubby!

IMG 0825

IMG 0826

From the fortress.

IMG 0831

Finding some shade.

IMG 0836

IMG 0841

 

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!!!  

IMG 0248

IMG 0249

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…..
 
IMG 0133
Playtime and cuddles.

IMG 0137


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.
 
IMG 0141
 
P1150806
Methana Volcano.
 
IMG 0150
Great views of the mainland and small islands.  The ruddy rock is volcanic.
 
P1150814
 
P1150815
A triangular cleft in the rock is the volcano … or at least so the sign states!
 
IMG 0153
Now I have sensible footwear!
 
IMG 0735
Poros from Galatas.

IMG 0737
 
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.  
 
IMG 0159
Poros.
 
IMG 0741
 
IMG 0743
 
 

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…..   
 
IMG 0162
Our 2 night view….
 
IMG 0746
 
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….
 
IMG 0163
Looking to Ermioni from our parking.
 
IMG 0170
Walk along the wooded headland.
 
IMG 0748
 
IMG 0171
 
 
 
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…

IMG 0749

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
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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.
 
IMG 1689
  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.
IMG 1695
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.
 
IMG 0481
Met at Gatwick 🙂  A wonderful welcome by my Munchkin.
 
IMG 0482
Got to pick up my birthday and Christmas pressie … love ‘em.

969 – Saturday 27th January:  Brighton Day

IMG 0483
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.
 
IMG 0488
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.
 
IMG 0492
 

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! 
 
IMG 0538
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… 
 
IMG 9752
Tower of the Winds in the Roman Forum 2BC.  Combined weather vane and water clock.  The external friezes depict the 8 winds.

IMG 9753
Byzantine Church 1000AD

IMG 9754
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.

IMG 9759
 
IMG 9761
Herodes Theatre AD161, restored in 1955 and used for concerts.

IMG 9762
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.
IMG 0539
Views from Areopagus, where youths hang out with a beer at night.  
 
IMG 0540
There is the Acropolis, a couple of other hills and a massive urban sprawl … thankfully very few high rises.
 
IMG 9769
Acropolis Museum:  Alexander the Great.

IMG 9771
 
IMG 9772
 
IMG 9774
James came out of the museum and caught me red handed … oreo and milk chocolate flavour.  Yummy.  Note the new Maddy boots.

IMG 9775
View up to the Acropolis.  Only the Temple of Athena Nike 426bc has been restored fully so far.
 
IMG 9779
Propylaia – the enormous entrance.

IMG 9780
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.

IMG 9782
 
IMG 9789
J mastering a selfie 🙂

IMG 9798
 
IMG 9800
 
IMG 9806
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!

IMG 9807
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!

IMG 9809
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.

IMG 9814
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.

IMG 9815
And without me.
 
IMG 9817
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.  
 
 
IMG 9819
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.

IMG 9822
The Agora … the Greek Forum equivalent, where all the business took place.  This is the Stoa … shops now a timeline museum.

IMG 9833
Pan … just amazing quality.

IMG 9835
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.
 
IMG 9837
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.

IMG 9838
Ancient Athens Weights and Measures.  Financial transactions were supervised by the Agora (Greek Council).  These are official vessels for dry goods.

IMG 9839
Lead tokens for issuing pieces of armour.  The images are representations for helmets, breastplate, shields etc.  Middle 3BC.

IMG 9840
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!

IMG 9847
View from the Temple Hephaisteion of the Stoa and the Acropolis.

IMG 9849
Temple Hephaisteion 449BC and the best preserved in all Greece … it’s roof is still intact, but you can’t go in.

IMG 9853
 
IMG 9855
The security at the Temple took this … nice chap.
 
IMG 9866
Tourist tat in lots of the old streets.

IMG 9871
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…..
 
IMG 9872
Theatre of Herodes.

IMG 9878  1
 
IMG 0542
From the Acropolis you can see the Olympic Stadium, Hardian’s Arch and Temple of Olympian Zeus.

IMG 9897
And now inside the Benaki Museum … a private collection.
 
IMG 0544
Marble Cycladic female figures 2300-2200BC.  Inspired later artist such as Van Gogh.

IMG 0551
Bronze folding mirror showing Aphrodite and Eros.  280BC.  Perhaps a bit heavy for a handbag, but amazingly constructed.

IMG 0555
Lord Byron’s portable desk, pistols and portrait.

IMG 0557
The table where King Othon signed the Greek Constitution in 1844.  The actual manuscript and Othon’s pen.

IMG 0561
Part of the university.  Strangely a statue of Gladstone in front.  Wonder if some wag of a student was posing a maths sum?
 
IMG 0562
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!
 
 


961-964: Mani Peninsular

962 – Sunday 21st January 2018:  A Splendid but Solitary Walk
 
Late arising at our Kalamata bivouac…so no run or showers – it’s only been 3 weeks – oops – 3 days since our last shower! Hands up those motorhomers who shower every day – OK, no hands show?  Good!  The nice marina security man helped us to fill with water.  To Kardamili – I was still nursing the ‘boycold’ so I reclined and K+O walked to the castle, museum and gorge – see the wonderful views….
Overnight at Ag Nikolaos – on the beach (again) – lovely picturesque harbour.  Would have been a good dinner out spot, but not much point when poorly.  The dry day became a wine day – purely medicinal!  A kooky bar with lots of good chat and OscarSociety admirers….. 
 
P1150701
Kardamyli:  The lair of the Troupakis family.  The Tower house hamlet turned museum.  Info in English explained how the Maniot families were loyal to blood rather than community.  Feuds would last years.  Local prisons has to keep them apart in separate wings. Feuding was generally over the inadequate land – the mountain range down the spine of the peninsular falls to a narrow strip before the sea cliffs.
 
P1150702
 
P1150703
Relief stone of the family from the tower 1787.

P1150705
The Towers were built and maintained by the extended families.  Towers grew in height so the feuding families could catapult the neighbouring ones. Cease fires during crop harvesting and women were not targetted.  As a result of these battles the peninsula was never completely subjugated under foreign rule.

P1150708
The Mani hamlets had their own olive presses (this was the main income generator of the area until tourism) and this one had a forge.
 
P1150713
 
P1150715
The Tomb Of Dioskourroi:  2-3BC.  A twin tomb carved into the rock.
 
P1150724
Fab views of a fab coastline.
 
P1150727
The hamlets’ roof tiles were made of local clay.

IMG 9631
Ag. Nikolaos:  Our overnight carpark … think Jez is having an identity crisis and wants to float on water.
 
P1150733
Ag Nikolaos is described as Outer Mani’s most photogenic harbour … we’d agree.
 

963 – Monday 22nd January:  Going Under and South

Am – K ran and I walked Oscardog….onto Aereopoli for a walk and coffee – a chill and bracing wind – hot coffee and cake.  Former stronghold of one of the feuding Mani families, but here that the Maniot uprising against the Turks was declared.  
 
Pyrgos Dirou Caves. One of largest and most colourful in Greece.  Boat ride – how low can we go?  No hard hats – we were bobbing up and down all the time, folded in half – but it rivals the Potsdjayna Caves in Slovenia – of 2+ years ago…the colours are quite stunning. Oscar waited patiently (?) in Jez…..
 
Fabulous drive down the coast to the most southerly point of mainland Greece – remote and – yes – very quiet….hunkered down for the evening.  No light pollution so again amazing stars.
 
IMG 9634
Areopoli: Another feuding family stronghold, but was renamed after the war of independence as this is where the Maniots united and declared war on the Turks.

IMG 9635
The bell tower of the Taxiarchon is the highest in the Mani.
 
IMG 9637The wind was seriously biting, so we sheltered for coffee and a shared orange cake.
 
IMG 9643
Dirou Caves … wow as soon as you enter.  A 20 min boat ride followed by a walk.  We had the caves to ourselves.  If only the chap punting us had broken into “Just one cornetto!”
 
IMG 9644
The caves were known about from 1900, but not systematically explored until 1949.  Now routes of 14,700 metres have been charted.  The tourist route is 1500m, the first 1200 being by boat.  The grand opening of the caves was in 1967 after 6 years of work, including linking the natural caverns with tunnels.
 
IMG 9660
 
IMG 9662
 
IMG 9676
 
IMG 9682
 
IMG 9698
 
IMG 9702
 
P1150735Vatheia on our route south:  dramatic location with deserted and restored Tower Houses.

P1150739
Cape Tenaro: as far south as you can go.  This is the chapel of Asomati constructed from the stones of an ancient temple of Poseidon.
 
P1150741
Our spot … our bottom to the wind with seaward views.
 
IMG 0470
As the eldest of 3, I had to share this with my parents and sibblings … my sister’s answer is unprintable!!   She said something that rymes with “Rollox”!!! 

 964 – Tuesday 23rd January:  The Furthest Point

 
How long can I drag out this ‘boyschilly’ thing?  In boarding school, I would have been turfed out of Matron’s bedrest room…the boys loved to be ‘turfed’ by Matron….make of that what you will!  Her bedside manner was – appealing – nothing to do with her big b**b**s, at all…  Back to the script before I get smacked around the gillies for being ‘off-topic’…   K did her pilates early while Oscar watched from a tethered position – he does like to join in – especially for the ‘horizontal round-the-tummy’ position – (so do I).  The views from our overnight are quite something, again…  We broke bread and walked to the most southerly point in the mainland – lighthouse – where we had the obligatory ‘selfie’.   A cave nearby is another mouth to Hades, not sure where exactly and not about to risk life and limb to clamber around the rocks. 
 
The wild flowers are rather beautiful here – spring is just around the corner…
 
As K will fly from Athens to see her daughter, we must quite reluctantly now travel north – but we will certainly return to this area – probably in late February/early March.  We really like the Maniot architeture … cuboid stone and flat grooves … some are modern but still really attractive.  Great walking area and coast … 
 
In recent years, we’ve had a dream – well several, actually…. To sell one of our modest properties in Brizzle – and buy in Euroland. (K’parents – Diane and Grahame think we’re mad – well we are). First it was going to be Scotland – then Portugal – then France. Now – Greece – of course!  If this is madness – we quite like it. Much more ‘bangs’ for our bucks in Greece – it might happen… watch this space!  
 
North to Gythio – well, a beach nearby – for a wilding.  A famous shipwreck beached and now for the tourists….  this demands another poetical quote…
 
“And now the storm blast came and he
was tyrannous and strong
he struck with his o’er taking wings
and drove us south along
the ship drove fast, loud roared the blast
and southward aye we fled”
 
Coleridge, again – the poor Mariner should not have shot the albatross – but that’s another tale….just watch out for mariners with crossbows!
 
IMG 9706
Cape Tenaro.
 
IMG 9708
Looking back to the car park and Jez.
 

IMG 9713The lighthouse at the point.  We’ve been watching numerous ferries and freighters sail by.

IMG 9719We woz ‘ere.

IMG 9724

We’ve seen wild orchids for a few days now, but today’s sunshine brought our small red and pink poppy look alikes along the road.  We’ve been told the Spring flowers here are quite a sight.

IMG 9728

As well as Hades Cave, the church with the stolen temple stones, there are Roman remains with mosaics.  A local museum was shut.

IMG 9729

Just 5 km N of Gythio is our overnight spot.  The Dimitrios accidentally ‘docked’ here in 1981 and has become a bit of a tourist attraction.  Our overnight is a car park just below the pic.

IMG 9732

IMG 9734

And Gythio in the background, which we may come back to, as we did not have time to wander here.

IMG 9736

Chilled!  Both of us.