Thursday 19th June
Following on from the last post Ewout was excited that he had finally found the Bat Of Death he had been looking for and could move on after fulfilling our task for coming to Koroni.
Seriously it was time to leave, we had only planned to stay there for one or two nights and we had already stayed for three. Our morning was spent preparing to move on knowing that we probably wouldn’t be staying in another campsite for about 5 or 6 days’ time. We uploaded the last blog, emptied the toilet, filled the water tank, charged all of our electrical goods, packed up, had a swim in the pool and then said our farewells to the turtle people. No not the four Ninja Turtles but 4 young people volunteering for the Sea Turtle project. We took some photos and were on the road going north along the coast.
Our journey on the Peloponnese has been a slow one, every time we stop we decide to stay sometimes for a night and other times for two or three nights. Today was no exception we had only driven 20 kms when we decided to have lunch by the beach and ended up staying the rest of the day and overnight. While having our lunch we were approached by a couple who noticed that we are Australians, Judy and Bruno who are presently living on a sailing boat. Judy is Australian and Bruno is French. We shared some of each other’s experiences and they gave their blog site which is ” Pacific Pearl” . On their site you can read about their boat and of there adventures.
After lunch we moved along near a small harbour where small fishing boats were moored, again we met fellow motorhomers who were an English couple who have a house in Greece and come to this beach 3 days per week. They told us of the market which would be held in the village on Friday and said they would return he would give me a lesson in how to catch octopus. It had come up quite windy but we found a sheltered spot behind a sea wall and spent the afternoon swimming, and then took a stroll into the village which was bigger than we had first thought, plenty of shops and cafés.
When we woke up and could see and hear the noise of market stalls that had been set up and was now in full swing. After breakfast we strolled over to the market with our shopping trolley [thank you Helen and John ,it has been very useful] , the stalls had many interesting items for sale; clothing, fruit and vegetables, outdoor furniture, assorted table with items for 1 euro and many other stalls assorted paraphernalia . The atmosphere was great, as it was a local market and not a tourist one, with the fruit seller’s spruiking their wares and the mixture of the smells and sights made it and enjoyable morning. We did our shopping filling up our trolley with fruit and vegetables as well as buying a shirt for Ewout, some pants for Jenny, a new tablecloth for our outside table as well as clips to hold it in place. Many of the stall holders couldn’t speak English so at times it was interesting, we asked for one melon and received two but for 1 euro it was a bargain. At another stall we asked for half a kilo of tomatos and they filled the bag, with a small fridge we have to limit what we buy and so we emptied out half the bag and explained again that half was all could take. With the market shopping done we headed to the bakery for bread and then to the nearest café for an iced coffee. In a tourist place they are 2.50 euros but in the local villages they are 1.50 euros and it’s enjoyable to see the local life.
After lunch we headed to Messini as we were again having problems with our 2nd Vodaphone card, in Messini there were several phone providers which we wanted to get some information. Greece has the inconvenient (to Us) shopping hours that close from 2.30 to 6.00 and so we had to wait until 6.00 when the Vodaphone shop was open. The problem we are having is that we have not used our card but the data is disappearing at a fast rate. The people at the store were not helpful trying to tell us things that were contradictory. With no help and the feeling of being ripped off, we went to the Wind provider where we knew they had a 4 week plan with 6GB’s for 19euros, we asked if he spoke English and his response was “tomorrow”. Haha! Either he was taking a crash course in English overnight or another staff member would be in the next day, no help either way. Our next shop was OTE and independent phone provider which had a plan, but they didn’t have any sim cards available for us. It was a waste of time in the end and so we will have to rely on wifi we find on the way or find another Wind shop who actually has a sim card in stock.
Our mission to Messini had failed and it was getting late so we continued on to Mystras about 65kms in the mountains. This took us longer than we had planned as the road was steep and one continuous hairpin bend after the other. The scenery was spectacular through the gorges but exhausting travelling along them as it was getting darker. We drove into Sparta about 9.00 and found a place to park off the road just the other side, a gumtree filled car park and pulled in next to a dutch motorhome, we had a simple meal and settled in for the night.
In the morning we drove up the hill to the Archaeological Site of Mistras. As it was early the car park was quiet and we walk to the lower entrance, the friendly lady at the ticket office gave us a map and showed us the best route to take. After walking the lower levels we could go back in our motorhome and drive to the next car park to visit the upper levels using our entry ticket to get in. It was a lot of walking with many uneven steps going up and of course back down again, but it was well worth the effort as the site had many interesting buildings, churches and even a functioning monastery where a group of nuns still live.
After Mystras we stopped at a bakery to get some bread and couldn’t resist the temptation to buy some cookies and baklava (for pudding as Anna would say) . The drive back to the coast was a lot easier as the road down towards Githio was straighter and we arrived at a sheltered bay to find a car park which had the sign “Motorhome Free Parking” situated at the end of a small narrow road where you passed the local tavern. Driving through we were greeted warmly and directed to the car park, told about the free water and of course invited to come and have a drink and meal there. After parking up along with a Swiss Van, a Dutch Van and an Italian Van it didn’t take us long before we were in the water having a swim.
We decided to walk up to the tavern for a drink before tea and to use their Wi-Fi, it was a pleasant spot overlooking the water and the bay, but didn’t eat there as Jenny had already cooked a great curry for tea. We settled in for a quiet night as the road was a dead-end and there was very little traffic.
With the wind settling down and the water looking inviting we decided to stay put. Sunday isn’t always a great day to head onto the road and find a new place to stay. The roads can be busy with local tourists and parking places in popular spots are overloaded. So we stayed, parked up on a very ordinary block of land spread with rough gravel, but the view of the hills and water more than made up for it. It was a lazy kind of day, a bit of swimming, reading, blogging and talking with our neighbours before we headed out to dinner at our local taverna and a fish dinner.