Onward to Zacharo as far south as the BBA V2 goes

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May 27th 2013
Published: May 30th 2013
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Ah,the sound of sizzling bacon and its wafting smell with the taste to come.That is how we started off today's breakfast.We had spotted bacon at the supermarket we went to yesterday after our walk along the beach so we outlayed a couple of Euro for a feed this morning with our eggs.The only problem was we only had one pan and we didn't want either the eggs to get cold if we cooked them first or the bacon for the same reason.So Gretchen with all her years of experience lightly bpoiled the eggs then took the shells off and sliced through the egg to have on toast with the yummy bacon.Sorry if all this sounds a bit inane but we have been hanging out for some bacon now for nearly two months and this has been the first we have seen in a packet that actually stated it was bacon.

True to his word,Antonis,was waiting for us to have a photo taken with his new found Kiwi friends.We packed up the car and then took our poses with Antonis and his wife beside the pool.He gave us his card which had him listed as 'a well versed traveller advisor'.He wanted our home address so he could post a copy of the photo to us so, Christine, be ready for some mail from Greece.

We bade our farewells to this very friendly family.We can hardly believe the value for our overnight accommodation at €25 and just goes to show what you can get if you do a little research on the discounted hotel websites.

Ahead of us on the road south was somewhere where we had to cross a short stretch of water which was the outlet for an area of inland sea at the town of Preveza.The atlas showed the road covering the small gap and we were pleasantly surprised to find it was an undersea tunnel that carried over to the other side at a small toll of €3.The tunnel looked fairly new and before it was in place this area would have been more isolated and less visited which might be the reason for the new houses apparent along the seaside.

We did find it a bit scary in the 1.6km tunnel when as we reached the bottom of the tunnel(the road descended to give clearance for shipping that come and go from the inland sea)a loudspeaker started an announcement which of course we could not understand as it was being broadcast in Greek!I pressed the foot on the pedal a bit more as we started the ascent on the other side just in case the tunnel had sprung a leak behind us and the loudspeaker announcement was a warning!

The road continued on through the countryside around the inland sea area and then through a valley between hilly land and onto a relatively new highway that was toll free and a smooth surface to drive on.

Turning in a more easterly direction towards the Gulf of Corinth the road climbed up around tall bluffs of sheer rock and suddenly we were above the sea with a view across towards Patra situated on the Peloponnese.

The Peloponnese is now virtually an island having been made so in the late 1800's by the cutting of a 6km canal at Corinth further to the east from Patra and where the gulf comes to an end.More about that in a couple of days when we propose to visit a site that has interested me for many years after reading about it and why it was constructed.

Our map had shown a road across to Patra and we expected a bridge at the narrowest point of the 130km long gulf.

We pulled off the road to take in the grand structure that is the Rio-Antirrio Bridge which is the world's longest multi span,cable stayed bridge.The bridge opened in 2004 just in time for the Olympics of that year and took 6 years to build.Had we read a bit more about its construction and how it is anchored to loose gravel on the seabed 65metres down because of seismic activity and the way the tectonic plates move,we might have opted for another way across.

We might also have opted for the other way had we known that the toll to cross the near 3km bridge was a massive €13.20!We did check what other route was available but that would have meant a distance of an extra 480km by road to get to our overnight accommodation.So in essence the bridge was the cheaper option.

The bridge has certain similarities to the mighty Millau Viaduct in southern France with the cable stays giving it a different look to other types of bridges.

Along with the bridge is a toll free motorway that by passes the large city of Patra and we were soon on the southern outskirts looking for a supermarket to top up the groceries and buy dinner for the next two nights at Zacharo where we have cooking facilities.

One disadvantage of motorways is that there is usually limited access and exits making finding a supermarket just that much more difficult.

We came off the highway and down to the seaside and found a Lidl store.After our last experience with them we weren't going to use Lidl again but needs must and so we went in noting the usual dark skinned men that seem to frequemt the entrances of many supermarkets.We have seen them carry groceries to cars for shoppers and then take a payment but we wondered also if they have other motives if your car wasn't secure and if they could see what you had in the boot.We parked away from them but in front of the store and quickly got what we wanted out of the boot opening it only briefly.

The shopping experience at this Lidls wasn't any better than the one in Italy as we left to go to Croatia and we were annoyed with ourselves for not looking a bit harder because shortly after we left the Lidls carpark we passed a EuroSpar which is far more to our liking.

The journey on the E55 just back from the coast and around to Pyrgos was an easy drive through land almost totally in market gardens.It was like driving past the gardens on the Bombay hill in Auckland but just so much more vast as far as the eye could see in all directions.We assume either this is the most fertile land for market gardens in Greece to feed their own people or they are also growing to feed much of Europe as well.

At traffic lights that took us to a by pass around Pyrgos we came across probably only the 3rd or 4th time we have seen little children at an intersection begging for money by coming up to cars and trucks as they were stopped at a red light.It is difficult to ignore them but we are fortunate that the doors on Cindy lock automatically when you start off and so it keeps the kids from opening the door which we believe they would given half a chance when they are ignored by us.We know this sounds heartless as the children are dirty and unkempt and look malnourished but we have also read of instances of hi jack by adults waiting unseen.

The bypass would have taken us to Olympia(tomorrows destination)had Vicky not redirected us a very narrow country lane with most of the tar seal missing to link back up with the E55 on the other side of the city.The only problem was that trucks and buses were also using this lane to get to the bypass and we had to dodge them as well as the huge potholes.It was suddenly like southern Italy again!

We reached our apartment at Zacharo a sleepy beachside town and this will be the furtherest south the BBA V2 will travel at 37 and a half degrees north.

We took a walk along the beach and couldn't help chuckling after reading a sign proudly showing that the beach had been awarded some prestigious flag for being environmentally clean.It didn't say when this award had been made but if they came back today they wouldn't have been giving it again as like so many other European beaches there was plastic bottles and general rubbish lying around.

With a warm wind blowing it was still around 30 degrees when we sat down to dinner of spicy chicken nibbles and all the vege trimmings.We had been talking to our German neighbours who had taken their motorbikes on a trailer from Hamburg to Venice for a ferry trip to Patra and rode their bikes to Zacharo and we think the wafting small of our dinner had encouraged them to head out for their dinner as we were probably making them hungry.

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