07/22: The Mounties Always Get Their Man

The Mounties Always Get Their Man

As the Canadian Mounted Police slogan goes.  Well the Pindos Mountains have certainly caught us.

08/07/22:  Aoos Lake

The Pindos Mountains are new to us.  We avoided the are when not too far away before as we are snow adverse … well Jez is.  Despite his 3 litre engine he has rubbish traction.  We headed up off into the mountains to one of the few official motorhome parking spots.  No services, but over looking Aoos Lake (reservoir). There were several water points on the ascent; the 3rd was a spring water standpipe with a constantly running tap.  We needed to do laundry, so having checked with the local potato farmers who were working, that it was OK to take water, the twin tub came out.

Only a further 6km to our parking, which was just as well.  Our fuel gauge was reading nearly a quarter full, but with the climbs, now declaring low fuel and no range!  On arrival, I considered getting the clothes horse out, but the heavens opened!  So all the laundry was hung on knicker chandeliers and hangers to dry inside the van.

We have both been a little incapacitated (more tired than usual) with the heat and some high humidity …. But up here the temperatures plummeted.  So cool that, after showering, we dug out long trousers and layers … we’d not anticipated wearing these until the U.K.!  It is super green and lush here after the scorched grass of lower slopes.  We were joined by a CH camper and a D big yellow off roader …. But super quiet …. To cold to sit outside and enjoy the peace though!

PHOTO 2022 07 11 15 58 58

Think this is one of the most beautiful / unusual places ever to get the two tub out.  One of those, where the Pix don’t do it justice.


PHOTO 2022 07 11 15 58 39


Undulating potato fields.


PHOTO 2022 07 11 15 58 37

One of the few Greek official motorhome parkings.


PHOTO 2022 07 11 15 59 39


The guide books states the weather is changeable up here … yep, we had hailstones! 


PHOTO 2022 07 11 15 58 44 2


Walk around part of the reservoir.

09/07/22:   Zagori Area in the Pindos Mountains

A lazy start.  Obviously too late up as Stella had peed, not once, but twice, in the van! J got up first so got to clean the floor!  Lucky him.

We refilled our tanks at the potato field spring water.  Free wheeled down most of the mountain, watching the fuel range exceed 300 miles lol!  Filled with under €2 diesel.  Filled with under 1 LPG at another garage … both much cheaper than other garages we passed. Happy us.   Popped into a large supermarket for 2 days worth of provisions, but they didn’t sell ice!  Why ever not?

We headed to a viewpoint over Vikos gorge, but after a wrong turn, a tight turn around, crunching gears, and brushing overhanging branches, I had a melt down!  I didn’t like the narrow slope of the correct route.  Think I’ve had enough driving for today.  Quick look at Park4Night … where’s the nearest decent over night spot?  Parked up, I took COS along a track for a good walk and then a shorter walk for Feck … with separate walking I’m getting lots of steps in. 18,000 today.  Lovely wooded scenery and some stunning rocks.  

PHOTO 2022 07 11 15 58 38

PHOTO 2022 07 11 15 58 44

PHOTO 2022 07 11 15 58 26

10/07/22:  Konitsa Stone Arch Bridge and Gifts

After yesterday’s aborted route, I looked for a destination along a main road.  We really struck lucky with Konista.  We parked up right next to the 1871 stone bridge.  Marketed as the largest single stone arch bridge in Europe, it really is stunning.  And in a stunning location.  We had a hot and sticky 1.8km climb up to the town square along some stone lanes.  Normally Stella walks beautifully on the lead but today I had to tow her.  I tied her to Oscar so he could pull her up, which worked for a while.  When she lay down and refused to go further, I had to carry her.  Coffee, ice cream and a glass of wine were my reward!

On the descent, I managed to loose J, who had been walking behind with Feck.  I thought I’d been walking slowly enough and had checked at most turns, but I still managed to loose him.  I back tracked, but no sign, so decided the best bet was to return to the van … J could ask for directions to the bridge.  This episode highlighted the need for communications … J’s phone is with Vodafone who are now charging for roaming under their fair usage policy.  We have switched his phone to airplane mode as he keeps getting sales calls.  And he didn’t have any glasses to see to be able to turn his phone off airplane mode, so I couldn’t get through when I tried to ring him  Morals of this story:  walk slower, check at EVERY turn and J to carry the Greek phone.

With us all safely back at the van, J and 4xK9 napped whilst I knitted and nattered.  Firstly to a chap who had followed a girlfriend to Manchester.  We talked politics, media and about how great the mountains here are.  He came back with some stalks of oregano for me to hang to dry.  My other chat was with a priest who had come to take part in name day services at the nearby monastery.  We talked about knitting and how precise the Greek vocabulary is.  His gift was his email address and should we ever need anything.  Just how lovely are the Greeks.

Supper was at the hotel over the bridge watching the evening sun’s rays on the bridge and mountains.

PHOTO 2022 07 11 15 58 35

Konista stone bridge.

PHOTO 2022 07 11 15 58 30

The Priest was waiting for the 4wd to collect him and colleagues to save the 5 km walk to the monastery.  Not every day you see priests squished into a pick up!

PHOTO 2022 07 11 15 57 45

Watching the sun set over the bridge.  Mellow.

PHOTO 2022 07 11 15 57 33


11/07/22:  Aoos Gorge Walk & Voidomatis River

Konitsa Bridge crosses the Aoos River; the first 70 km are in Greece, the remainder in Albania.  We had stayed on the Aoos Lake a few days before. With an early start to beat the heat, we walked 6km out and back along the gorge.  It would have been 5 km each way to the monastery but it would have been too far for the pup (and us!).  Stunning rocks above us and in the gushing river.

IMG 7230

IMG 7231

IMG 7232

IMG 7241

We had considered heading to the coast north of Igounmitsa for our last night, but decided it would probably be busy and wild camping may be difficult.  And we were loving the mountains.  We settled on a destination, but stopped and stayed en route at a lovely big flat space by an arch bridge on the Voidomatis River. 

PHOTO 2022 07 11 15 57 59

Bridge by our parking.  Watched a a large flat bed truck with a digger on board attempt to drive forward and then reverse over it … totally ignoring the 5 ton weight limit. 

PHOTO 2022 07 11 15 57 46

IMG 7243

Walk to the ruin bridge 

IMG 7245

IMG 7246

PHOTO 2022 07 11 15 57 55

12/07/22:  Ferry or Not to Ferry

It was an easy run down to Igouminitsa for the 2130 hrs ferry.  We found shade to park up whilst we walked 4xK9, packed, did admin etc.  We had “lundin” (lunch/ dinner as named by the Aged Ps) at about 3.00 … unremarkable but plenty left over for takeaway.

We headed for the port to collect the tickets … or so I thought!  The muppet at the Minoan email booking office had emailed me the revised booking ref, but not added James or a pet friendly cabin.  There was availability for a normal cabin, but 4xK9 would have had to go into the onboard kennels.  Now, our sensitive soul Oscar bolts past Stalag 17 so not quite sure what being an inmate would do to him … or the other 3.  So having parted with an additional EUR295, we are now booked for tomorrow night  … with a pet friendly cabin.  Just wish all 4xK9 could be friendly!

Concerned about being moved on by police, as it is high season, we elected to stay at Camping Drepanos.  When we drove over in February, we stayed here to spend an evening with Brian.  And our last night in Greece is here … a nice symmetry in that.

PHOTO 2022 08 08 10 24 41 4

13/07/22:  Money’s Worth

We got out pitch fee of EUR30’s worth.  We spent the morning showering, laundry, cleaning, toilet cassette cleaning (YUK!) and filling with fresh water.  With nearly full diesel and LPG … all is good with the world.  At 2.00 p.m. we had to move off pitch, so set up in the shade to relax until time for the second attempt at leaving Greece.  Presented my revised ticket at the port, all good.  Strange system here.  J had to walk through the pedestrian passport control.  I drove round, presented my docs and was inspected … well, the van was.  Then collect J on the other side.  On board … yippee … Italy next.  


14/07/22: To Sleep or Not to Sleep

Another not brilliant night’s sleep for me as CO2 shared my narrow bunk.  What’s wrong with joining J???  I’d brought the MacBook on board so have been able to charge it with my EU cable.  Blogging, knitting, reading, napping and showering … pretty boring really.  It is a long old crossing.  We are not due to arrive in Ancona, Italy until 17.30.

PHOTO 2022 07 11 15 58 58

15-21/07/22: Travelling through France

We had an appointment with a vet in Cremona Italy for Stella’s puppy boosters and had lost a day with the Minoan ticket mix up, so had to drive till midnight on arrival in Ancona.  Smart new vet facility with a dog walking area and pet washing outside!

Then another long driving day to Antibes.  We stayed at Camping Les Treilles, as it is handy for James’ daughter Sarah and family.  Only EUR22 per night without electric.  But being the silly season, it is busy and we felt very closed in.  James went for lunch with Sarah, children and one of his son’s who is also staying.  I stayed back with 4xK9.  Feck is unpredictable and we just didn’t want him to be around the children, they cannot help but move suddenly.

After 2 nights on the campsite, we headed up to see Geo and Anetta in the Jura, with an en route overnight at Chirens.  Anetta and Geo were part of our lockdown family on the Turkish Campsite.  They have renovated part of the farm house adjacent to his parents with mostly recycled and up cycled furniture.  Fabulous.  We met at Lac des Vouglans (know I’d camped here as a child with the Aged Ps): swim and ice cream.  Then stayed over at their house, nattering, drinking and a great BBQ.

PHOTO 2022 08 08 10 24 38 2

PHOTO 2022 08 08 10 24 38

Anetta and Geo’s.

Early start to get to Cluny for another vet appointment.  EUR61 for 4xK9 worming tablets is the best price I’ve very paid.  Very thorough vet assisted by 2 interns.  She spotted Corrie’s dew claws and clipped them.  Rather than shove the huge tablets down their throats, she burried them in Royal Canin pate.  Dogs happy and I was happy with the price too!

Overnights at Mailly le Camp and then our usual Bergues.  Tunnel on 21st and arrived at Woodlands Farm Chichester just after lunch.  Car collected and washing on at Aged Ps!  Trip complete.  Wouldn’t bring an unknown dog back with us again, unless Oscar approved!

07/02: Warring Dogs not Greek Gods!

Dog Relationships

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

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

IMG 7178


A Mini Mainland Holiday

02/07/22:  Departing Crete

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

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

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

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

20220702 212734

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


03/07/22:  We’ve Been Here Before

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

20220703 084515

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


20220703 113941 2

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


20220703 120703 2

20220703 121646 2

20220703 123248 2

20220703 124303 2

20220703 165930 2

COS walking with Mount Parnassos in the distance.

20220703 172324 2

Our afternoon and night stay.

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

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

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

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

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

Stella and Oscar came for a swim …

20220704 140954

Yep, definitely looks like smoke from here.


PHOTO 2022 07 11 15 59 40

Tractor with water diverted directly to fire.


20220704 173440

20220704 173552

Smoke in the distance all afternoon and the next morning. 


05/07/22:  Left at Lefkada

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

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

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

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

IMG 7177


PHOTO 2022 07 11 15 58 35 2

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

PHOTO 2022 07 11 15 58 57

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

06/07/22:  Koronisia

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

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

PHOTO 2022 07 11 15 58 34

PHOTO 2022 07 11 15 59 18

07/07/22:  Ioannina

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

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

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

IMG 7184

Ali Pashacastle in ioannina.



IMG 7185

IMG 7210

Ioannina old town.


PHOTO 2022 07 11 15 58 59