Northern & Eastern Coast Greece from 12 to 16 June 2013

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June 16th 2013
Published: June 16th 2013
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Northern & Eastern Coast Greece from 12 to 16 June 2013

Before leaving Ohrid, we spotted a place that was selling bikes so we stopped. I got a very girly bike – very unlike me but it was only to ride around towns after all. They didn’t have one for Tom so that is still on the list. After leaving Ohrid in Macedonia, we headed over the beautiful mountain range to the Greek border. Unfortunately we were challenged by the border authorities again, now on the Greece side. This authoritarian guy said to Tom “I want your International Green card for Vehicle Insurance in paper form”. We hadn’t found a place to print our electronic version. So Tom said “Sorry but we don’t have a hard copy” and again showed him the electronic version on his tablet. The guy walked off and when we saw the barricade go up we knew we were through the border crossing. MENTAL NOTE: get the b…. International Green Card Certificate printed out!!!!!!!

It started to rain again but off we drove to Florina. We had decided that it would be easier to find a spot to park as there was no camping park etc in the region so we went through the town of Florina, looked for a good place and found a flat area on the side of a narrow river. It was lovely and very quiet.

That night it rained but it didn’t worry us. The temperature was perfect and we had a fantastic sleep. When we woke in the morning we saw that we had a neighbor but he left soon after we saw that he was there.

We had been thinking that we should get the fridge checked as it is not as cold as it should be so we headed for Thessalonica (also known as Salonica).

About 38 kms west of the city, we visited the Ancient city of Pella. This was the capital of Macedonia in 410 BC. The notable point of this city which they have been excavating since is that this was where Alexander 111 was born in 356 BC. The Museum, which was built 4 years ago, houses the best mosaics of ancient times, in all of Europe. They were spectacular. In the cemeteries, they have found implements from the early Bronze Age, but mostly from 4th & 3rd C. BC.

Before we got into the city centre and as we were looking out for the words ‘refrigeration mechanic’ !!!! yeh, rights!!! We spotted the word ‘air-conditioning’ so we stopped. George, who we got to know well, owned the car maintenance business and he was a refrigeration mechanic. How lucky was that?

Between hand language, facial expressions, a few English words we both understood, Google Translation on the internet, and English speaking Greek on the mobile, we learned that all we had to do was invert the fridge and the sealed ammonia system would equalize and it would work beautifully. So Tom and George set about to take the fridge out. Wow, those fridges need wires, gas pipes, cords etc. etc to be disconnected, not to mention the front door of the fridge then the wooden door that covers it. After a couple of hours, all was done – ie step No 1. Inverting the fridge.

We had to leave it like that for 24 hours so we drove 100kms south to Olympus Mountains (highest peak Mytikas 2,917 m) and the ancient archeological town of Dion, near Litochoro. I will let the photos speak for themselves. The city became extinct following major earthquake destructions. They have been excavating at Dion since 1928….and still going!!

That night we stayed at a Camp site next to the beach. It was well maintains with restaurant, good WiFi, good facilities and a very Greek-style steps down to the pebbly beach. A short storm came over but we went into the restaurant and watched the storm pass over.

The next morning we drove back to Thessalonica, where Tom & George re-inverted the fridge and put it back into place. After 3 hours, the fridge was ‘perfecto’ as George said. We gave him some Australian wine and paid E 100 and we were on our way.

We drove all the way down to a camp site past Volos called Sikia. This was on the beach. The facilities were massive and you name it that had it. We had a beautiful meal by the beach in the evening, watching the sun set. Very pleasant.

It was our 1st really hot night in the Camper but we have a portable room fan which works well. The next morning we got up and had a swim in the sea – invigorating. The top layer of water was cool. After the swim and shower, Tom bought some fresh bread and we sat outside the Camper, watching the calm mill-pond water of the Aegean Sea. If it wasn’t for the fact that we wanted to get to the Greek Islands before their local long weekend on 24/6 we would have stayed another night. It was 4 star and the management were very helpful.

So on 15/6, off we drove down to the east of Athens. This road was framed by a rugged mountain range (Pindosoro) some of which we had to drive over. Tolls are extraordinary in Greece on the main motorway. Larger vehicles such as Motor homes have to pay anything from E3,50 to E7.60….and frequently. But they are so quick. We did however get off the freeway and drive through some beautiful little towns. Several were a bit hairy driving through narrow streets with our big wide Camper. Still we haven’t taken any buildings with us yet!!! And Greeks park anywhere and anyhow!!

The next night we went to another camp site on the beach thinking that last night was the Greek standard of Park facilities (top rate). Not so!! The facilities were run down and the grounds were un-kept. Still its advantage was that it is 12 kms away from the Ferry Terminal at Rafina. We did however walk up the beach to another resort’s restaurant and had Sicilian salad (Fetta, tomato, olives and beautiful light bread with crunchy crust drizzled with olive oil. We also had chicken and pork satays, all washed down with Greek and Heineken beer.

The next morning we drove 15 kms to Rafina (near Athens) where we booked our Greek Island hopping ferries, Wow, much cheaper to do it this way. We are going to Mykonos (2 nights) Milos (2 nights) and ( Santorini (3 nights and then back to Athens for 2 nights.

We are loving Greece. History, scenery, food, cold beers, beaches, friendly people (loud, over weight, frying hard with speaking English). The weather is beautiful – hot, a little humid but with a breeze. More after we have ‘done’ the Islands.

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