01st May 2018 – 20th May 2018
We arrived at Olympia in the early afternoon and decided to wait until later in the day to go to the Ancient site when the weather had cooled and it would not be too hot for Chloe. Guess what, no dogs allowed ! We therefore found a campsite for the night situated up into the hills. Everywhere seems to be up and down a mountain in Greece with me hanging on for dear life and David all calm and collective. The first Olympic festival was organised on the ancient site in the 8th Century. The simple track with it’s stadium was constructed and today, it seems the most important thing to do is run the track. Tourists of all shapes, sizes and levels of fitness including myself thought we were Olympians for the duration of our run and videos and photos were taken to remember our moments of glory. It is an amazing site and the museum houses some precious artefacts, including beautiful carved offerings found in the burial sites. It amazes me how they carved such intricate pieces so many years ago. We then head off and stopped for a couple of nights right on the beach and meet up with Tony and Denise who we met previously earlier in our Greek Odyssey. We have dinner together at the local taverna and the owners are special people in our eyes as they take in the stray dogs, of which there are a huge amount in Greece and are a problem. As we are eating a beautiful dog slides under the table. He name is Emma and she was abandoned outside their restaurant and today she had been to the vet to be spaded. She was the most beautiful dog and if we didn’t have Chloe I think we would have given her a home. The owner’s daughter tells us that she has 10 dogs already and is unable to take anymore. Emma will go to the rescue centre to hopefully find a loving home. As we leave the next day I have to shut my eyes as we pass the taverna as I cannot see Emma and the thought of leaving her behind. Our next destination is the town of Pylos. Now this is a gem of a place, situated down the west coast of the Peloponnesus. We stay just outside the town and catch the bus for the 15 minute journey into the town. The main square houses a scattering of tables and chairs with people sitting watching the world go by drinking their Frappes and looking out of the port with it’s turquoise sea. It doesn’t seem to be on the tourist map but it is such a lovely place. The Castle of Pylos is situated above the town and well worth a visit. It also overlooks Navarino Bay known for it’s naval battle in 1827 where navies in Britain, France and Russia fought against those of the Ottoman Empire and their Egyptian allies. Apparently there are several wrecks to be seen by boat and we were desperate to try and get out in a boat to see them. However, with the tourist season not having started and having no boat experience we were gutted not to be able to go. The next day we decide to cycle to what has been listed by The New York Times as being one of the Top 10 beaches in the world, Voidokilia Beach. Typically we set off near the midday sun and cycle through tracks and scrubland, get lost, turn round, cycle some more and finally hot and sweaty and with me grumpy we arrive at the beach. This is a momentous occasion though, as it is the first time I get in the sea in Greece ! It is very beautiful, mushroom shaped, shallow and such the most beautiful colour. The cycle back is calmer as we don’t get lost. We chill out some more at the campsite and are within walking distance along the beach of the small town of Petrochori which is a small tourist destination. Tavernas all along the front and trendy bars and tourist shops selling everything olive oil. We move on the next day and stay over a couple of nights in Petalidi, which has a fantastic hardware shop selling just what I needed, sandpaper. They couldn’t have been more helpful. All for 50 cents ! ( I will explain about the sandpaper later ) While we were there we met the amazing Simon and Helen who are touring Greece for 3 months and Simon had built their Motorhome. It should be on Channel 4’s Small Amazing Places, complete with tiled kitchen, a real gas fire and plug sockets, we were in awe of this piece of craftsmanship. On recommendation the next day, we get up early for a change and travel into the mountains to the archaeological site of ancient Messini, comprising of a large theatre, marketplace, vast sanctuary of Asclepius and the most impressive intact of all Ancient Greek Stadiums. It is amazing and receives only a fraction of the visitors of Olympia and Epidavros and we saw no Japanese !