Every Morning we seem to be waking up to different views and settings. It the last few days we have been in Athens, stayed on a beach, by a thermal pool and on a hilltop.
We left Athens campgrounds at ten minutes to two, as the cut off time was two o’clock. At 30 euros a night we wanted to get our money’s worth and the morning was spent on the internet, having a shower, clothes washing and using as much electricity as we could charging our gear. We don’t know when we will be getting to another campsite our plans are to head inland towards Meteora and to the other coast. The road leading out of Athens was a motorway and it was relatively easy driving although it’s still strange to see people on motorbikes riding without helmets, wearing thongs in shorts. When I asked someone if it was legal they said no the police can give you a ticket. We headed to the town of Eritrea on the coast on the island of Evia. We arrived and parked on the beach to find it very windy and not pleasant for swimming or sightseeing and as we had just walked all over Athens we spent the rest of the day reading and watching some tv.
We had thought about having a wander around the island but decided to go inland to the thermal pools that Clyde and Anna had told us about. The drive was easy as some of the way was along the toll roads, other routes were not viable as it would have taken us over mountains and windy roads and twice as long. I asked the lady at one of the toll booths if there was an alternate road and no was the answer. We reached the thermal pools near to Thermopilies at lunch time, we past a disused service station down a road next to a police station and parked behind a hotel which was closed and abandoned. The first thing that struck us was the smell of the place, sulphur coming from the water.
Another visit to the doctor
From the thermal springs we drive to Meteora but on the way I noticed a medical clinic sign and as my ears were still not better I called in to see a doctor. At the reception desk the man could not speak English so he found a lady who could, no waiting I was walked straight into a consulting room with 2 nurses. They couldn’t speak English but took my temperature while I waited for the doctor. A young female doctor who spoke excellent English came in and gave me a good examination telling me that the tablets and spray the previous doctor had given me was not solving the problem and gave me a proscription for more tablets. Let’s hope theses work. When I asked the doctor how much it cost “free” she said. When I asked at the chemist he told me that the clinics were all free of charge until recently and now they should charge 5 euros but some clinic think that health care should be free and don’t apply the charge. So I was quite happy with that.
We drove through the countryside towards Meteora, it was a nice smooth road and once we had climbed up and over a range of hills we were in a broad valley with fields and orchards as far as the eye could see. After all the windy and steep roads through the Peloponese it was a pleasure to drive on the smooth even and reasonably flat surface and it wasn’t long until we reached Kalambaka and then we made our way to Guest House Artenisis which we were told you could stay for free if you had a meal in their Restaurant. We arrived at the Guest house to be welcomed by Kostas who directed us to a spot with views over the surrounding countryside. We were happy to park up for what was left of the afternoon and later had our dinner in the restaurant where we had the choice of chicken or pork barbequed over the outside fire and came with Greek salad (of course), fries, rice and a large basket of bread. It was good home-style food and we had a nice meal.
The next day we spent visiting the Meteora site where there are 6 Monasteries that you can visit, located atop steep stony cliffs. We avoided the Grand Meteora to start with as it looked to be very busy with tourist busses and started with a smaller one which was perched on a precipice overlooking the town below. From the road it looked almost impossible to get there except for a small gondola that was linked to the road, but as we parked and on further investigation we noticed the steep walk down and then the climb back up the other side to the entrance in the side of the hill. We decided to give it a go and got our walking shoes on, it was a bit of an effort but worth it in the end. It was only a small building but the experience was amazing.
After another monastery we visited the town of Kalambaka to find a pharmacy and to have some lunch and a drink, then back up the hill to visit a couple more of the sights before making our way back to the guest house and had a small meal and fell into bed tired out from our excursion.
The following photos are just a few of the many we took. View as a slideshow or double click to enlarge.