Greece

May 23rd Saturday

May 24th Sunday

May 25th Monday

Camped wild just beyond Voloz. Basically we turned off the road onto concrete track which went up sort of. We went about 300 metres from the main road and passsed a small meadow which looked idylic. We were obviously destined to camp here as driving on we came across a stream which crossed te track. The area had been establshed well in that the path had been laid out with a sort of dry stone roading to divert and control the water that must wash down the path after every serious amount of rain. Just beyond that was another meadow that also looked ideak for camping, however, though the cars could certainly get to that meadow we might damage the paving and decided to back track to the first meadow though it meant a bit of porting to get the camping gear to the field from where we would have to leave the car.

The meadow, judging by the number of species of wildflower and weeds must have been well established for many years, the terracing that was obviously abondoned and that stretcehd above us indictaed the area had been farmed but presumably abondoned as the 'youth' moved to the city rather than carry on with a subsistence farming system.

Apart from a single moped that passed in the early morning we were not disturbed and had a good night, being woken by the morning chorus of songbirds.

But what a fantastic change, to come from the utterly arid and deserted desert to our next campsite which was green and lush. The residue of our stay in the desert being numerous footprints and the occaisional sign of burial, all of which would be cleared by the next wind. Here we left patches of knocked down undergrowth, again all sign of us woul be gone, clered not so much by the action of wind but by the grasses and other vegetation steadily righting itself.

Also, and here was the biggest change, was the drop in temperature, we had at last left the extreme heat behind though there was still plenty of sweatiing to do as the dryness had been replaced by a relatively high humidity. Water was the other change, from having to carry a huge amount of water we coud replensih our supplies simply by walking to the nearest sprng which was marked by a stone structure with a spout. Added to that was a glass of wine to finish the day with. 'Il Campagnole, Vino d'tavola Rosso' at 1 per litre and better than many wines at twice or three times the price!

May 26 Tuesday

As per above, up with the lark and a very slow packinf while appreciating nature. We left at midday and headed up the hills above Volos so as to cross the hills that straddled the pilio. Down into Zagora and a brief stop to change money at the bank. The banks do the going rate plus commission, here there was no requirement to show a passport, I just had to fill in my name, evidently the man at the bank in Athens thought that I might have been Greek. In that there is an obvious restriction with regard to changing money, what of the Euro and Greece?

On to the beach which we got to by following a long and winding road, that led to somebodies drive and there it stopped. No beach but lots of rocks, apparently it had been washed away. The next beach on was a nudy beach which was ungetatable by road so we trned round intending to go to the top of the 'track' and perhaps reconoiter by binoculars the other public beach. On the way out we took the chance of cossing the river using the rocky ford which was abit slippy but okay in 4X4. This took us to a beach straight oout of the Odessy o I exagerate a bit - but the rocks though scaled down cold be taken for a giant that had turne to stone and smashed on falling. The stones and pebbless onn the beach were mix of greens an quartz and all manner of minerals - I had fancy that we sould search for Emeralds but Lesley aid that Greece didn't have an emerald industry so it was unlikely that the green crystals were emeralds, still one lives in hope.

There were signs of recent activity, this appeared to be the re-direction of the river that we had just crossed thouh the next daay it turned out to have been the road workers who stopped by and askeed or coffee and were supplied ithour best which I rather think they were a bit surprised at. Anyway, having arrived relatively early we avoided making camp immediately in case it turned out to be private beach or one that the locals were over possesive about. No probem here and as well as beach there was water in the form of another spring which was again ducted through a spout built in 1923 next to a small chapel.

Supper was a vegetable stew to which we all contributed, a good accompaniment to the local home made pasta that we had bought on the way. Also a good match to the wine which being drunk abstemiously was lasting well, but then having reached the point where the occaisional cold beer once a day was a particular treat, reverting to a bottle of wine between us - or more - would have resulted in a semii comatose Simon.

We pitched camp on the shores edge just a few metres from the highest water mark and though oriiginally planning to omit the flysheet, set it up just before dark as the first and in fact only spots of rain fell.

May 27th Wednesday

Morning and a dawn that came up like thunder but without the rain. A bright cloudless day, which evidently implied that the Gods, having originally expected us to go in the direction of western Greece had caught up with us and presented us with a local heatwave again. I have no idea what the temperature got to but I expect we are looking at the mid 30s possibly as much as 36 degrees celcius, I expectthat by now we are fairly expert on heat. Cool for what we had been through but I rather think hot for Northern Greece in May. I guess that as we drive north of Rome the skies will open and it will then rain for the next year, just like it did 11 years ago, suh is life.

Anyway, this is being written by me, at just gone 15:00 being sheltered from the sun by a purpose built sunshade put up by Yoav while Geoffrey swings in a hammock, Dominic sleeps in Lesley's arms who is reading about Emma Hamilton who apparently started out as a prostitute 'Miss Whiplash' and progressed entirely due to her good looks into Nelson's bed through the arms - and beds I expect - of a great many other men. A good time girl if ever there was one. Menwhile Yoav is reading the British version of the events that led up to the end of the British mandate in Palestine, Addie is asleep in their car with her feet sticking out of the window and the sea is breaking on the beach in a soothing somewhat montonous manner. Looking up I have the unspoilt view of the Agean. And the best bit - nobodies smoking and there isn't a radio playing techno or some other kind of rock to be heard.

 

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NB. When going through a border crossing wwith entry forms, take a second set for the exit and have them filled in at leasure so as to avoid having to fill them in amongst many others at the point fn exit.

28th May Thursday

We took leave of our Israeli friends, a sad parting as we could well have stayed much longer, but better to leave wanting to return both to the place we were in and the people we were with, than overstay the companionship.

Cafe Margarita, about 5 kilo from trikkala. Good food, nice owner. - gave Dom a fighter plane

The drive on to Igoumenitsa was interminable. Mountains and winding roads all the way and what must have been an average speed of barely 50 kph. The scenery on the other hand was spectacular, from mountain meadows to stark rock edifices. Lonely basilicas placed on top of small peaks and small alpine like villages stuck fast to the side of the mountains. Anyway, after the two hundredth switchback the drive through the mountains started to pale, worse still was the fact that the motorway that was expected halfway, it being marked as under construction on my 10 year old map had yet to be started, apart that is from a small stretch of ecavations that was tantalisingly placed just at the point where one might expect the road to start, from then onwards we were keenly looking for the completed stretches.

 

We stopped for supper at a restuarant in Igoumenitsa, Fresh Fish was available at what semed a reasonable price, however it seemed to be very poor quality fresh fish, certainly we didn't finish what we had and normally fish is a very difficult dish to be full of. What can't have helped was that being on the street, it was a pavement cafe type of deal meant that we got the fumes of each lorry that went past. The rest of the meal was overpriced, but then we made the mistake of eating on the pavement which I suppose means the restuarant can claim certain pretensions.

at a pavement back street cafe, rather

eaten at 'taverna' in epensive and uunsatisfactory, apparently we had a significant discount, even so it still seemed over priced

boat haifa piraeus was $700 and something

boat igoumnitsa dr 23,000

km at brundisi was 13830 960

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