13th April 2018 – 30th April 2018
We departed the overnight Ferry from Italy in Igoumenitsa Greece and headed for a spot on the beach that had been recommended. Now at 6am in the morning, in a country we had never visited and trying to find this beach proved very stressful. Our Sat Nav taking us down a road that was blocked and trying to turn round in the dark wasn’t easy but finally we found where we needed to be and parked up and slept for afew hours. When we woke we looked out to the most beautiful beach on one side and a lake the other, it was stunning. A beautiful introduction to Greece. We stayed here for 3 days as it was so lovely, before heading South to the island of Lefkada. The access to the island is by an amazing little bridge that swizzles and turns to let the boats out of the harbour, turns back again and all the vehicles are on the move, on and off the island. The main town of Lefkada is a Mecca for the sailing community with flotillas of yachts waiting to be chartered for the summer. We would quite like to learn how to sail and if they allow dogs on board we are going to try it out. The restaurants and bars are scattered around the harbour and it has a great vibe about it with the Saturday fruit and vegetable market, individual people selling what they have grown and a truck full of fresh strawberries that smelled devine. We also found Kalos the Vet who we visited to get Chloe a new flea and tick collar. He advised us of the dangers of Leishmaniosis to dogs and as we left with flea treatment and a new collar for Chloe, David raised his eyebrows and said, another thing for you to worry about (meaning me, who has to worry about something !). We headed out of the town and stayed a couple of nights in Ammoundia, right on the beach with a great Taverna which produced the most delicious lamb chops. We found a very small supermarket in the village, not sure it was open, but poked our headed round the door and suddenly the light come on in the shop and we were welcomed in. The elderly owners looked liked they had been there forever, just like the milk that was several weeks out of date ! However, we bought what we needed which was in date and waved goodbye. We have found the Greek people to be the most friendly and hospitable.
Our next destination on the island was a campsite, the co-ordinates stored in the sat nav and as we were going up a very small road near to our destination we passed a motorcycle who did a quick u turn in the road and out of his back pocket produced a brochure to his campsite. ‘You must come to our site he said, it is on a beautiful bay’ David and I looked at each other and thought how can we say no. He revs his bike and we follow, suddenly as the road gets narrower, the grip on my seat is getting tighter and the sweat on my palms is building. He turns right and there is a massive drop in the road, I scream to David ‘we can’t go down there !’ We stop, tell him our van is too big to get down there, he waves his hands and says it is OK and we end up following as we can’t turn round. At the bottom of the steep road is a rustic campsite that looks out onto the most idyllic bay, we park right at the front and as my heart starts to beat normally we look out and think what an amazing place. The site is empty, as the the season hasn’t started. There are several tavernas on the bay front but none are open and a couple of fishing boats that are moored in the bay. One evening I was outside with Chloe, it was pitch dark and we were walking among the 800 year olive trees that fill the site and I saw these flashing lights; they were fire flies. I ran back and got David. We have been lucky enough to see these before in Malaysia, but to see them on the campsite was stunning. We stood there in the darkness with them flying all around, their little bodies flashing like fairy lights. It made that drive down the steep road so worth while. We stayed 4 nights at Santa Mavra before being escorted up the hill to make sure nothing was coming the other way and waved goodbye to Nikos. The roads in Greece are not too bad, better than Italy in fact, but as you wind round mountains and come into a village, the roads suddenly get narrower and if there is a sharp bend it makes it more difficult to manoeuvre our van. Luckily David takes it all in his stride and I just hang onto the seat.
We leave the island of Lefkada and head south into the Peloponnesus passing Patra and are currently at a beautiful campsite that had no steep road into it, and have been chilling in the warm weather for the last week. We leave for Olympia on Thursday.