Month: July 2017

13 to 17 June 2017 – Milina and turning west…

Rosy-fingered dawn gave way to an intense morning sun as we wound our way up and down the mountains of the beautiful Pelion peninsula.  There are sweeping views of the clear blue water of the Pagasetic Gulf as you round the last few hairpins to sea level, and take the coast road to Milina. It is a village of narrow streets so we need to find a place to park from where we can find Rob and Rachel’s place on foot.  The place we find is right next to the beach, just about far enough off the road for safety in the shelter of a seafront building.  We have instructions to find the house which conclude:

“200 years up that road/concrete track is our place, two red tiled roofs with a white gate in the middle.”  Rob blames auto-correct for the distance, but atmospherically, it is just about right for the road….

milina walk to beach

Down the steps the other side of the white gate the two old stone buildings under the two red-tiled roofs face one side of a paved courtyard. On the other sides, a picturesque stone ruin Milina ruin and catand a half-tamed garden waiting to be transformed into a cool oasis with splashing water. Perfect.   milina garden

The courtyard has orange trees set into the flagstones which entangle their branches overhead to provide shade for eating, drinking, sitting, reading – all the quiet activities such surroundings invite.  I chose to sit there to eat apricots with yogurt and honey in the morning. Thank you Rob and Rachel.

Milina breakfast

The buildings are the ruins of an old olive press and it is the work of Rob and Rachel that has created this quiet haven.  One building was completely without a roof but now sports an amazing configuration of beams – built in the Albanian tradition apparently.

milina beams

The airiness of the white rooms and the metre thick walls kept us cool while we spent three nights enjoying the space of a house and garden after the tininess of the van – a whole bedroom, a truly amazing bathroom, a private garden and a lighting system we still have not quite figured out!   The first night we could not get the stove to work and just had to go out to eat:-)  At the beach-front Elia taverna we shared the best fava I have ever eaten followed by the best melanzani-type dish for me and cheesy-potatoey Piliortico (?) for Neil.  (I would describe it as a Greek version of tartiflette but google search has let me  down on this one.)  He enjoyed it.

milina meal neil

The village fronts the sea with a row of tavernas and the side streets have enough small grocery shops and bakers to meet the needs of the day.  And the days are HOT.  Swimming becomes a late afternoon activity as the sun begins to set, followed by a leisurely sundowner.  milina sunsetOne morning we go early and find a solitary sleeper on the beach in his bedroll.  As people arrive to swim he picks up his bed and walks back to his van – full of fruit and veg which he sets off to sell around the streets.  Looks like a nice work – I pursue one of my favourite activities – collecting millina beachThe cooker now works – the trip switch was up instead of down (or vice versa) – so I cook on our last night to finish up the bacon and eggs we had had in the van for some time.  My fault for being so un-Greek in my repertoire – the hob objected and a startling crack came from under the pan.  Horror of horrors – I had somehow cracked the ceramic surface!  Mortifying to damage other people’s borrowed stuff!  (Follow up – many emails later and Rob’s local house-guru managed to source a replacement and arrange its installation in time for family holidays – thank goodness!)  The cat in the window was unmoved throughout.milina catIt came to 16th June and we were now on countdown to our ferry date on 20th.  My usual resources showed a real paucity of camper stops and campsites across country from Pelion to Patras and I wanted to see Delphi enroute. Stella said over seven hours drive to get to a campsite at Delphi and it was so hot we were reluctant to be any distance from the sea. Fortunately the ACSI book showed a couple of the campsites near Delphi had swimming pools, but seven hours is still waaay too far in a day. Finally looking in park4night I found a parking spot just back around the top of the gulf – but three hours drive on the windy roads.  It is a public beach just at the end of the road from Nea Anchialos – right on the sea with trees.

Nea Anchialos
What the photograph does not show is the line of empty plastic bottles half way up the shingle.  It looked and felt clean in the water – must be some effect of being at the top of a gulf where the wind pushes floating litter until it can go no further – at least this is not a turtle beach!  It became overcast and stormy in the evening with biggish waves crashing a couple of metres from our wheels – always a bit worrying. One other van had shown up but parked some way away from us.  Next morning was picture perfect in full shade from the tamarisks as it warmed up. We had a peaceful early  swim and a shower on the beach – cannot praise beach showers in remote places enough! One by one or two some older folk started appearing.  Eventually there were eight or nine of them swimming along  chatting as they went – seemed to be a swimming club of some sort.  I wonder if they go in in the winter!
It was a lovely spot for a last dally in the sea before we set off inland.
Nea Anchialos - me in sea
We had a long drive of four hours and twenty minutes ahead of us over some mountains, across a plain and over another mountain range to get to the campsite near Delphi.  We were avoiding the motorway this time.  I had picked out a questionable parking spot two-thirds of the way over just in case the hairpins became too much.  We did not need to worry – the roads were good.  We even got to see the views that we had missed over the mountains near Thermopylae as we retraced the road.  The questionable parking spot high on a mountainside came and went and, on closer inspection, the lane leading to it was indeed questionable! Fortunately the drive went smoothly and an early stop was not necessary.
Sitting on an outcrop in the foothills of Mount Parnassus Chrissa Camping shares the view over the olive groves to the Gulf of Corinth with Delphi itself.
Chrissa camping view
 As you can see, it was cloudy – but still hot.  The day before had seen serious downpours here and several pitches on the gently sloping terraces were unusable due to mud and debris having accumulated. It was largely empty though and we went for a swim despite the grey skies – what a view!  And all to ourselves!Chrissa camping pool viewIt rained some more as night drew on so no cooking outside, which we normally do, and yet again we were forced to eat in the local, on-site taverna:-) Lamb chops and chips again for me! Portia nestled damply in the trees below.
Chrissa portia 2
Tomorrow ancient Delphi – especially recommended by my mother – and on towards Patras.

11 to 12 June – historical hot springs, phonetic food

via Thermopylae to Pelion
We awoke at Isthmia on 11th which is Neil’s birthday.  I had forgotten to bring a card but we would go out for a meal if possible.  The plan was to stay at a free overnight stop near the hot springs at Thermopyles in the pass where Leonidis and his betrayed few faced the might of Xerxes and his thousands. To get there meant crossing from the Peloponnese to the mainland via the bridge over the remarkable Corinth canal.  corinth canal
Having been considered since ancient times this six kilometre canal was not cut through the isthmus until the late 19th century.  It is at sea level at both ends so has no locks, effectively making the Pelopennese an island, and it provides a short cut from Adriatic to Aegean for shipping.  Apparently it is not used much for anything but tourist boats now, but is still an impressive sight.
It was a three or four hour drive, partly on motorway, and ended in a spectacular mountain crossing.  We were denied the spectacular view however due to the mist over the tops.  In fact it was overcast and a bit drizzly once down the other side as well.  It had never occurred to me that Thermopylae was so called due to hot springs – hot sulphuric water pours out from under the side of the mountain in several places, bubbling into pools in places or cascading down the rocks as a waterfall in others.  The hot springs are, remarkably,  undeveloped. There is a rather decrepit hotel that was abandoned as a commercial enterprise some years ago. It was thriving in 2000 when our copy of the Rough Guide was published but had been empty when peejays last reported in 2014.  At first glance it seemed to be back in use, albeit in a fairly tatty way, with clothes and bedding hanging over balconies to dry. We drove round the back to where the hot water steamed from base of the cliff and by good fortune had the rocky pool to ourselves for twenty minutes.

It was raining lightly at the time and a wallow in the hot water was a bizarre treat, notwithstanding the smell of sulphur that accompanied it – and clung lightly to our clothes afterwards.  Good for aches and pains apparently!
Walking back to the van it became clear that the hotel was not offering spa treatments to the aching anymore but was now occupied by refugees – officially or not was unclear. Not only was laundry hanging over the balconies but bedding, bicycles, household implements – everything too valuable to leave lying around outside.  Sad to say, being the only van there and, on the one hand, having lone men wandering around the muddy parking area clad only in their budgie snugglers, and on the other having groups of people hanging around with nothing to do, it did not feel totally comfortable as an overnight stopover.  The lone men were lorry drivers stopping at the side of the road for a dip the same as us, the weary families just waiting for something better to happen in their lives.  Feeling guilty at our probably unfair assumptions, but relieved at the same time, we made the decision to travel on a few miles to a nearby campsite.
Before that we paid homage at the magnificent monument to Leonidis erected on the very site of the battle, opposite the mound where the 297 heroes who died alongside him were buried.
The pass itself is no longer the obstacle to invasion it once was – formerly a narrow strip of land, a scant one hundred metres wide between mountain and sea, there are now four flat kilometres of farmland before you get to the sea.  Geomorphology seems to have decided to make it easier for any future invaders and spare the Spartans another heroic but doomed  stand.
thermo pass
Camping Venezuela is on the road that runs beside the beach, but the cool drizzly weather did not show it in its best light.
venezuala beach
It was pretty much still closed with only one other van and, later, a tiny tent occupied by a couple on a motorbike.  I remembered our camping trips of old in a tiny tent in the rain – always with a sincere prayer that it would not leak. But at least we always had a car to fall back on if push came to shove.  The beach was coarse sand with some silt as well, which always looks a bit dirty – and there were a lot of mild mannered stray dogs and puppies around.   Poor babies:-(
venez pups
I thought there was no taverna nearby for the birthday dinner but strolling along the beach we fell into conversation with our fellow campers, a cheerful young Greek couple from the tent. They pointed one out hiding behind some trees a couple of hundred yards away. venez tavernaVery simple, authentic food they said, as we conversed in Anglo-Greco-Italiano. They had eaten there the night before and were enthusiastic about what they had eaten  – phonetically, scored-val-yay with horta. When we got there the owner told us the menu choices were fish or meat and no-one spoke English to explain exactly what was what.  The owner phoned her daughter to come and talk to us and she whizzed up a few minutes later. Then it transpired that she had also met the young Greek couple on their walk and they had told her what we should eat: scored-val-yay with horta to start and a plate of small fishes to follow. Horta is very like spinach and both it and the scored-val-yay were delicious.  The owner came out and explained how to make the latter with a fair bit of mime and the help of ingredients from the shelf in the kitchen.  It seems it is white bread, without the crusts, soaked in oil, a bit of vinegar plus garlic and salt then pressed somehow into a loose paste. Definitely no food processor.  We chose fish and each had a plate of lightly fried sardines – with a squeeze of lemon a memorable birthday meal.
birthday dinner
The local strays come and look at you pleadingly but non-threateningly and gobble up the fish tails and bread. The owner shoos them away gently from time to time but they don’t go far.
venez dog
We didn’t swim from the silty beach the next day but made an early start for the longish trek past Volos onto the Pelion peninsula within striking distance of Milina.  We had now arranged to be there on 13th and keys would be waiting for us. This time we opted for motorway nearly all the way as there was no other obvious route that looked remotely passable.  Also the tolls had seemed cheap on the bits we had taken before.  This was to prove wrong – especially as motorhomes seem to be in quite a high class of vehicle tariff. Unlike the french peage system where you pass through gates to get on and then pay to get off, here there are  gates across the road at random places charging seemingly random prices to continue.  The first one at 1.30 euros was OK then we got into some pricier ones ending up totalling more than thirty euros for a couple of hours’ drive.   And you have to pay cash. Parts of the road were spectacular however swooping along the coast or over a mountain.
Volos is quite big and looked nice but we ploughed through (still not finding a data sim) to Camping Sikia at Kala Nera.  This is another campsite on a steep slope down to the beach with another steep and narrow access road. The manager comes out to greet you with a hefty chock in her hand which she wedges under your front wheel as you pause at reception – a habit clearly learned from past experience!  Together with shady camping spots on the terraces it has bungalows, apartments and an unobtrusive hotel on site as well.  We get a good spot on a shady terrace.  It is a pretty long walk to the pretty smart showers once you have actually figured out which way to go – more signage would not go amiss in this hilly mini-village! Down the slope to the beach:

it is a narrow shingle strip stretching around a small bay and the water is clear and cool.  Our campsite is on the steeper part of the bay and is adjacent to another which is on the flatter part and seems bit less sophisticated.   Side by side they front the beach and at the moment both have very few campers. In high season I can see there would be a fair amount of hot flesh jostling for space as the the size of the beach is clearly totally inadequate for the number of spaces both large campsites have on offer.

Tomorrow – one hour to Milina and three nights in a house.  Really looking forward to it after nearly a month in the van.

8 to 10 June 2017 – more history, more beaches, and an election

 via Sparta to the Argolid
By now we had realised we could spend endless weeks footling around the ruins, villages and beaches of the Peloponnese. Names from antiquity tumbled from the pages of the maps,Ancient regions guide-book and road signs; Sparta, Arcadia, Thermopylae, Mycenae, each calling us to loiter with the mythical shades amongst the fallen pillars and tumbled stones.  But…. we had a rough plan and it is difficult to abandon a plan, however sketchy, and there is always the possibility of next year (when there is not a heatwave).  So we decided to leave the third finger of the Peloponnese for another day and make a big leap across the Spartan valley, skirting Tripoli (Tripoli?  How did that get in there?) to a spot just around the end of the Gulf of Nafplio in the Argolid.  Yes – where Jason and his Argonauts came from!
Coming back to earth – today was election day in the UK and we wanted to keep an eye on our hastily arranged proxy votes – we needed a campsite with site-wide wifi so we could have Radio Four on all night.  Radio eats up gigabytes – a lesson we learned the hard way in Spain in February.  It is one of life’s great pleasures to drift in and out of consciousness and hear how the results are going without having to be fully alert!   So, reluctantly dragging ourselves away from the casual atmosphere at the Dimitrios beach, we headed for an ACSI campsite that promised shade and wifi for a modest fee.  It was a long day’s drive to Lefka beach, Vasari a few miles the other side of Nafplion.  We paid little attention to the port from which Jason set sail, other than to scour the shop fronts for a telephone shop that was open for business – something we still had not found – closed for lunch, 3; open, 0. The site is terraced down the steep slope to the sea.  The terraces are overhung with cloth, filling in the gaps where the sun would burn down between the trees as the sun moved around – the first time we have experienced  that. Lefka view
We pick a spot with a bit of a view that benefits from both tree and cloth shade and is close enough to Reception to get a signal.  The beach is pebbly, the water is the beautiful translucent turquoise we have come to expect and there are some rocky outcrops to make the swimming more interesting.  Lefka beach
We ate at the family-run taverna at the top of the slope. The two small fish I ate had probably been frolicking in the water beside me earlier on:-(  They were very good fried on the plate but made me work to separate their tender flesh from their tiny bones:-((
Lefka restaurant from beach
It rained heavily in the night and the cloth cover served to funnel it noisily into several big waterfalls rather than the usual all-over patter. The wifi signal was worryingly weak for streaming but artful positioning of the iBoost WiFi system magnified it and gave a constant signal that did not seem to pause to buffer all night. Surprisingly, not many fellow campers were tuned in to the overnight UK election results. Waking at one point I heard them going on about Labour’s amazing performance and dozed happily for an hour or so thinking they had done it, only to awake again as a commentator said something like “We must remember Labour has not actually won the election”  😦  Realising that Theresa May had done so badly was some consolation.
We stayed another night.  Neil was a bit worried about the VERY steep access drive. It is only short but hairpins up the campsite terraces straight out onto a tight, undercarriage-scraping junction with the main road.   The main problem – the drive is on the front wheels and most of the weight is on the back. The wheels have spun uselessly before on a steep gravel drive; that time Neil had needed to back up and take a run at it with me on the road above to stop any oncoming traffic.  Stopping for a run-up was not possible on this drive so Neil waited until it was completely clear as far as he could see before taking it at speed. The unseen van coming down the slope graciously ceded the lane as we roared round the bend! That is the rule apparently – those going up the hill have right of way. Glad he wasn’t ten seconds earlier though!
Mycenae and the tomb of Agamemnon
Today was scheduled to be a short drive across to Isthmia as we planned to spend some time at Mycenae – the hill-top palace of Agamemnon.  This is the place he called home and came back to after ten years fighting alongside Menelaus and Odysseus, and various Gods, outside (and then inside) Troy.  No sooner had his armour rattled to the ground in his bathroom than Clytemnestra, his wife, and Aegistheus, her lover, murdered him.  She was upset that he had thought it acceptable to sacrifice their daughter to the gods in exchange for providing favourable winds to Troy ten years previously.  Hmmm.  He was buried in the royal grave circle with a golden death mask nonetheless.  The mask was found attached to his skull – whether it is actually him is not certain.  But you too can gaze upon his face in the museum.
face of agamemnon
The site is a fortified hill town – walls surrounding a palace, temple and all the associated buildings needed for everyday life in the 12th century BC.  Mycenae - hill view
It has some amazing tombs. That hole behind the ropes is the roof of that of Aegistheus which has collapsed. Seen from the inside ….
MY inside aegis
There are altogether nine huge tholos (beehive) tombs.  Below is the entrance to that of Clytemnestra
My Neil clytem tomb
And a rather inadequate shot of the dome inside – superior quality to the rough stone of that of her lover.
my cly inside
Some are shaft graves inside the walls…
mycenae grave circle
Starting at the famous Lion Gate
My lion gate
we made it all the way to the top in the noon day sun… one of us wilting in the heat more than the other….Mycenae hot meI needed support going down because my smooth, flat soles were inclined to slip on the marble paving slabs on the paths – brought to a high shine by generations of feet.  If you go – wear good grippy trainers.   To show the height – you can see the many buses in the car park.
My view inc buses.jpg

Learning from our experience at Olympia that museums were not to be missed, we optimistically walked over to it – it’s a small one.  There was the hoped for air-con, but they were being very south european with it – lowering the temperature only to a stuffy 29.5 degrees! The exhibits were lovely – less huge statuary and more cheery votive offerings and jewellery.

Before long I was unable to fully appreciate the beautiful things on display because the heat was getting the better of me.  Heading for the exit I found a floor level air conditioning unit  and spent several minutes draped over it fearing heat stroke more than legionnaire’s disease.
Our destination for the night was a free parking spot on the sea at Isthmia.  It would have been fine – a strip of parking alongside a public beach at the edge of town.  Because it was Saturday though it was heaving with people enjoying the sea and a dive centre playing loud music.  There was no shade and, being in a small but bustling car park, no possibility of putting out the awning or chairs.  There was a campsite only a mile away so after a few hot minutes we moved on.  Isthmia camping is right on a lovely beach, under trees and with low hedges marking pitches.
They seemed rather unprepared for the season, although there were a few campers there already, and were a bit off-hand.  The wifi was poor, the facilities were uninspiring but perfectly adequate, apart from the lack of hot water for washing up – which always annoys Neil.  And they charged 22 euros even with the ACSI discount!  Having said that – it was a very nice place to stay and the beach was lovely. The clouds rolled in overnight promising cooler, if wetter, weather for the next day’s cultural outing.
isthmia beach

2 to 7 June 2017 – Continuing around the Peloponnese

Where to go…

Starting from a shameful position of complete ignorance, how to decide where to go? I had three main resources to draw on:  Ourtour’s blog and map, with useful information about the country, co-ordinates for many free stopovers and some campsites; Peejay’s Greek stopovers, a regularly updated database of free stopovers; and the ACSI campsite book for discount camping.  Not forgetting the venerable Rough Guide for a cultural fix. Starting from Patras the Peloponnese is ahead of us and we have one fixed point: a village in the Pelion peninsula – some distance from the Peloponnese as it happened – where a friend, a former colleague, was renovating a ruined olive press.

Labelled map

Map adapted from Wikipedia – thank you!

Like all of mainland Greece it’s not a place I know anything about but if Rob had thought it a good place to renovate a ruin for family holidays, then it must be pretty wonderful.  There is a recommended campsite just outside the village so that provided a destination – and the possibility of saying Hello after many years.

Timing our travels to meet the other fixed point, the date of the return sailing, meant we needed to get a feel for distances and timings.  I had tried to get an open return ticket but the on-line booking service said to pick a date for booking purposes then get the ticket marked as open when checking in.  When checking in I was told just to ring before the return date chosen and if there was a space we could change.  Together with the general chaos and lack of information surrounding the whole ferry thing, this arrangement did not inspire confidence.  Also we were warned that the season was getting underway and space may be scarce at short notice. We chose 20th June. I did  not want to be there much later anyway as the temperatures would be getting well up by then.
Picking an approximate route that looped us across the fingers of the Peloponnese in time to get to Milina for a few days and leave plenty of time to get back, we headed south east. koroni bestThe ancient port of Koroni sits below a Venetian fort towards the tip of the south-west peninsula of the Peloponnese.  From Kalo Nero we crossed the mountains from the east coast of Messenia to the west, bypassing Kalamata (where the olives come from) and Ancient Messene (through sheer ignorance).   The roads proved a lot less fearsome than they appeared on the map and had great views.  Beyond Messini (the new one) fruit and vegetable stalls dotted the roadside – a sack of oranges made its way into the back of the van (4 Euros) together with fragrant tomatoes and courgettes.  In the book Camping Koroni claims to be fifty metres from the sea without mentioning they are all vertical.  There were steps and a path down the (small:-) cliff to a Taverna right by the sea.  The beach was sandy and it was quite a walk to get in above your knees – nice though, with the old town just across the water.  It was a pleasant enough site with plenty of shade but I did not take to the high hedges around the pitches – seemed to make it a bit airless after the openness and direct access to the sea of Kalo Nero. The swimming pool was a bonus.  koroni poolIt was Hot. At about five o’clock we braved the heat and tackled the steep streets of the charming old town. They took their toll!koroni streetRefreshing ourselves with a rather sophisticated (and expensive ) ice cream on the  harbour front we also yielded to the honeyed blandishments of the mini-baklava in one of the boutique bakeries. A small, well wrapped, selection went into the back-pack for future delectation.  The town seems to be well endowed with hardware shops for no obvious reason, none of which had the sort of mat for the outside of the van we had realised was needed – especially on a sandy beach. Some of them retain an old-fashioned look. koroni shop
Moving ever eastwards the next stop was half way down the peninsula opposite, across the Gulf of Messinia, the Mani.  From OurTour I had learnt that an author I admire, Patrick Leigh Fermor, had written a book many years ago about the area, Mani; Travels in the Southern Peloponnese. maniI downloaded it and started to read – awe-inspiring.  With his wife he crossed the Taygetus mountain range, the spine of the rugged and remote Mani, on foot and discovered the inaccessibility of the region and the hospitality of the people.  He  stopped and conversed with people in isolated villages along the way and wrote “There are times in Greece when you feel you could live with as little forethought about food as Elijah; meals appear as though laid at one’s elbow by ravens”. This echoes Neil’s childhood memories at the home of a greek school friend many years ago: lamb chops and potatoes fried in olive oil would invariably materialise in front of them not long after each expansive welcome from his mother.   Since then I have discovered that Leigh Fermor lived to 96 years of age, only dying in June 2011 at his home in Kardamyli, a small town we were about to drive through obliviously:-(
Our destination after our two days in Koroni was Camping Kalogoria in Stoupa. This small town has taken the brunt of the tourist development that by-passed the beachless Kardamyli. It is tourism of a pretty low key variety but first sight of the rows of beach umbrellas disheartens. This campsite is 100 metres from the sea – only some of them downhill! stoupa beach eveningThe pitches are not marked out so it is airy and spacious – judicious use of the compass and we maximise the shade from the tall pines. stoupa pitch

There are few other campers but it is a bank holiday apparently which accounts for the crowds on the beach.  There is a small scrubby headland to one side which we clamber over to see if there is a quieter spot.  There is but it is a rocky scramble down to the welcoming eau-de-nil water washing over the rocks below.  It is beautiful, and only the fish share our swim.

That evening we walk into the main part of town and find a second larger beach and a selection of tavernas that make choosing difficult.
stoupa tavernaWe manage though and find a much wider range of dishes on the menu.  Neil has been waiting to find chicken in the oven with potatoes – soft, garlicky and oily – and I go for kleftiko – stolen meat – cooked in paper with vegetables – meltingly soft.  And still only about €28 with tzatziki starter and wine.
We decide to stay a few days and I settle down for a blog with site-wide wifi and full extension lead functionality.  This is one thing to remember to pack – a four gang extension lead to take full advantage of being on a generous hook up.  Especially at €19.50 a night – this site is no longer ACSI but gave us a bit of an off-season discount anyway.
Next day the beach is quieter so we slide into the water at one side.  There is a something odd about the water here – the top several inches are cold – too cold – but underneath it is fine.  If you swim over to the other side of the bay the water is just normal – can only guess there is a river that flows icily from the mountain top on this side and overlies the warmer salt water beneath. The swimming is good – Neil has always been able to swim underwater with his eyes open and see what is what on the sea floor.  I can’t do this – it isn’t painful but sort of irritating.  I have my snorkel but find it tight on the forehead.  My  small gym-pool goggles are lurking in the bottom of the beach bag so I give them a go – it’s a miracle – I can see. Now I too can swim without worrying about colliding with a rock or something unspeakable in a crevice grabbing my leg!
After three nights we tear ourselves away from this comfortable spot and drive over the Taygetus to the other side of the peninsula.  Again the roads are not as difficult as feared – not difficult at all in terms of narrowness or bad surfaces – just the effort of steering around hairpins without being distracted at an inconvenient point by the phenomenal views!  Our destination is the beach  a few kilometres north of Gyfion with the wreck of the Dimitrios. It’s another free parking for motorhomes and, by evening, several are lurking behind the tamarisks.  wreck beach general view
 We have a great night view – the sea is just beyond the dune –
wreck beach night view
and a great morning view from my berth.
Wreck beach morning
There is no village or anything nearby apart from a taverna at the side of the bay which we don’t use, and a beach shower which we do. What a civilised thing it is to put a shower on the beach. And what a treat to use it in the sunshine after a swim!
Neil goes to photograph the ill-fated Dimitrios and chats with a professional photographer who tells him it is one of the  most photographed wrecks in the world and suggests where to shoot from.  Version 2I wander out later and find a newly married couple in their wedding clothes posing for their wedding photographs.  It makes for some great shots but I can’t help thinking it is tempting fate to use a shipwreck as a backdrop for a new marriage!