19/03/2018 Ionian Blue beach bar, Lapas
Elaine and I had driven down to this free camper stop, that we had seen on our app, that was right by the beach. We pulled in and immediately walked down to the beach, passed the beach bar to look at the sea. As we walked back, two Greek guys beckoned us over and invited us to join them. The first was a general practice doctor and he spoke great English and the second gent was older and we soon learnt that he swam in the sea from this beach most days of the year. They had seen our motorhome as they had driven in and wanted to know our story. We sat with them until they had to leave to go home for a family meal.After lunch Elaine and I walked all along the beach and on the way back spotted in the distance the ferry that Brain and Wendy were on its way into Patras. As we walked along the beach we saw what looked like a Dolphin washed up on the beach. All we could see was what looked like a fin pointing upwards each time a wave came in. We rushed down to see what aid we could give to this poor creature in need of our assistance. When we got there, we found that it was just a log and the fin was just a sawn-off branch.
Around 5 pm Brian and Wendy, the Aussies arrived. We went into the beach bar to toast their arrival, but the wine was so poor that we went back to our van to continue the catch up and the celebration.
20th-21st/ 03/ 2018 Aginera Beach camp site, Glifa
Please do not pass this on as I would not want to embarrass our Australian friend. As they had rushed across Italy to catch an earlier ferry crossing, their clothes washing had become a little overdue. The only way that Brian knows what day of the week it is, is by looking at logo on his underpants. He has a set of them and each one has a waist band with the day of the week it should be worn. So off we all went to a camp site where we knew we could find a washing machine so that Brian could stop thinking every day was a Saturday as that was the last pair he had worn. The pants and the rest of their washing will probably never have to be washed again. Wendy’s Greek language skills let her down. She set the washing machine going and six hours later, the washing still wasn’t finished.
We enjoyed the campsite and although the bar and restaurant were closed as it was too early in the season we enjoyed the luxury shower block where each room contained a toilet, a wash hand basin, and a shower. The next day, once Wendy had rescued her washing from the machine, we all walked along the beach to the next village whilst enjoying the warmth of the sunny day. The shame was that the beach was covered with a tremendous amount of litter and flotsam that had been washed up by the sea. We all wondered if they clear it up for when the summer season comes.
22/03/2018 Ancient Olympia car park
The first thing Brian said, when we saw him, is that it was Wednesday. So, we knew that all was right with the world. Off we went in convoy to get to Ancient Olympia. For every Olympic Games, in any country, the flame starts from here and is carried across all the countries to the cauldron where the games are to be held. This is where the whole idea of the modern Olympic Games was generated. We went to the huge site to see the actual sports field where those ancient Olympians competed against each other.
The start of the games was in 776 BC. In case it ever comes up on a trivia night, the first ever winner, on the only event held then, was Karoivos, a cook, who won the men’s sprinting. During the 8th and 7th BC wrestling, boxing, equestrian events, and boy’s events were added. I just hope that the few pictures I have put here will give just a little of the preserved treasure we saw there.
We saw the temples of the many Gods and in the huge museum on the site we saw a lot of what had been excavated from all around. This is one of the richest museums in Greece.
Probably wrong, but in amongst all this amazing history there are always some thing that you can find funny. All the statues are staged in date order. In a huge hall there was a huge sculpture of Hadrian. What made his statue stand out was because his was one of the rare statues that included his head.
All I innocently remarked was that Hadrian must have been a bit special. He managed to keep his head when everyone else were losing there’s.
We went back to our van and decided to stay there for the night. Later that day, we went off to a wonderful Greek restaurant and our meal there rounded off a wonderful day.
One thing I haven’t covered is the state of the Greek roads. Let me just say, driving here certainly keeps you on your toes. I admit the responsibility. I suggested that we drive up the mountains to Andritsaina which I had read was an unspoilt small town. The old national roads are bad enough. We climbed and climbed and in places the broken tarmacked surface gave way to just a fairly wide dirt road before going back to the potholes and the broken road surfaces. The views should have been spectacular but there was a mist that hung on for most of the day. Finally, we got up to the town. People just stared at our two motorhomes as we passed by. We parked on the outskirts and this town is so unspoilt that they are obviously not used to visitors. We got some great pictures and enjoyed the warm hospitality we got in a café.
We drove on through the town to go back down the other side of the mountain. The road surfaces were much better, but we faced a much bigger danger on the way down. During the whole descent we saw lots of signs warning of falling rocks from above. They were not kidding. The side of the road was littered with, sometimes, huge rocks that have fallen from mountains. The most worrying were the rocks that had hit the road and then ended up against the crash barrier on the other side of the road. We stopped just before a bridge over a river that ran way down below the road.
There I spotted a sign telling of a byzantine bridge. I looked down and saw where the original roadway would have taken us. Thank goodness that Greece has been able to spend some money on improving its road network. Wouldn’t have fancied taking Harriet (our motorhome) over that bridge.
We finally arrived down at sea level and pulled into the car park of a large beach bar / restaurant in the village of Mylos. The four of us went in, ordered a drink, and easily got permission for us to park our two motorhomes there for the night.
During the night, the sea got very rough indeed and massive waves came crashing towards the shore. The noise was deafening and none of us got a good night’s sleep that night. Before leaving the village, we dove to the other end to get a picture of the fairy castle we had spotted earlier.24/03/2018 Fini Kaunda
The waves were still crashing in so we all agreed that our resting point this evening had to be away from the sea’s edge. We decided on our next stop would either on the port at the coastal town of Pilos or a little further on at a campsite that was open this early in their season. Our drive for that day was 72 km. It doesn’t sound a lot. It seems to take forever. The roadways are so narrow and windy and when driving through a town or a village, the locals just pull up where they want to be and just stop. Double parking so that the road way is virtually blocked is the norm. It is all fun really and our skills at getting our motorhomes through narrow places are getting lots of practice.
We got to Camping Thines which was right on the beach. Although it says this campsite is open all year there were major refurbishments going on all over the site. Being realistic, they will be fully ready for next season. Still, it is Greece, so we decided to stop for just the one night. The village that is very near the camp is just as bad. There are signs that work is being done to get the bars and cafés ready for the tourist season. Some will open on time but by the look of it, most will not be any where near ready.
Being as kind as I can, an awful lot of what we see in Greece can best be described as shabby chic. At least the beach in front of Camping Thines has been cleared of all the rubbish and broken wood but either side of the cleared area and there it all is. It makes you wonder if any one has any pride in the country they live in. All we have seen in the short time we have been here is evidence of mass fly tipping in what otherwise would be beautiful countryside.