Ismaros - watch out for the tortoises

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August 6th 2014
Published: August 6th 2014
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Second day/night at Ismaros hotel

It was even hotter when we got up today. Catherine sat outside on the porch where we had played cards before everyone else was up and by the time she came in she was baked! Our first breakfast here and we managed 4 out of 5 which isn't bad. Pancakes were great the coffee ok and the rest pretty mediocre - but that was as expected.

We were almost the last in breakfast - and by the time we had finished they were packing away. We had seen lots of brown signs indicating sites of interest before we arrived at the hotel so we went out to look at some of them. The first was an ancient amphitheatre which had been destroyed in 1906 when they used the stone for a local school. They have now received a grant from the EU for its preservation. Close to it was an old church and a geocache which Matthew and I found quickly. - I think that my 100th cache. Which isn't very good really when we've been doing it for about 9 years!

After the amphitheatre we did a drive by photo opportunity on an ancient sanctuary. It was so hot there was some reluctance to get out of the car! When we left the car at the amphitheatre we must have been gone for 20 minutes max - and when we got in the car temperature was recording 42 C.

We then headed out looking for more brown ones as the saying goes! We came to a sign with about 10 of them and picked "cave" and the "stone of something or other..." We followed the cave signs through villages and eventually a dirt track which got worse and worse - so much so we eventually had to turn round. It was on the way back we found them - genuine Neolithic caves totally unprotected - we just wandered in and took pictures. It was interesting that outside the cave wild mint and lemon balm were growing as they probably had been for thousands of years.

We clambered in and I saw a bat move. We took some pictures and left. You can see why out forefathers lived here though as they were cool, water was near and the area was fertile. After the cave we picked up some diesel, first time in years I couldn't pay with a card. Bought some nice ice-creams we had on the train track 😊

Then we headed back and went looking for the stones. They were signposted and again we drove by without getting out and headed for the beach. Very nice on the beach and we all went snorkelling which cooled us down. Spent a good bit of time on the beach - loads of fish as well. Then we drove back to the hotel and had a snack before going in the pool... Cool beer time as was getting towards early evening but was still very warm - 30 C. So we stayed in the pool quite a while.

Coming back to the little house everyone showered and changed and we went into the local town again. Found a nice restaurant in the town square where we were the only English. Had 2 kg of lamb! Thankfully between us with Greek salad and chips.Then grabbed a few more snacks and headed back to the hotel.

Tomorrow we are looking at visiting Alexandroupoulis.

Not surprisingly when we got up it was warm and sunny. In fact it was really warm and sunny! Only 2 for breakfast this morning. Coffee was the best bit. It's a nice hotel with lots of features but the WiFi isn't very reliable. It was stunning uploading pictures a couple of days ago but the iPads have a fit when we move from one WiFi zone to another because they've set all the routers up independently... I'm pretty sure I could sort it out for them 😊

After breakfast we lurked about for a bit doing what internetting we could and then drove to Alexandroupoulis. Nice drive back to the E90 and then a couple of stops on the motorway and we were there. Next stop past Alexandroupoulis is Turkey but I don't think we will be going this trip just too much effort sorting out the car Insurance and if the temperature is anything to go by I'm pretty sure I don't want to be in Istanbul when the temperature is consistently over 40!

We got off the motorway and went past Army barracks and more Army barracks with shed loads of tanks. Photography not permitted. But they are ready in case Turkey turns awkward again. Drive into Alexandrouloplis is straightforward - much bigger place than I thought. First place we've had to get parking tickets which was an experience in itself. We think we got 2 hours but hey it could have been anything!

Big enough to have the equivalent of a pound shop - i.e a Euro shop. Got 5 lighters for a Euro compared to 1 for 1.50 on Thassos. We use the lighters to light the coils to keep the midges/Mosquitos away.

Moo had a bit of a moo - first in a couple of months but she was soon fine again. It was really really hot and we found a lovely ice-cream place on the front with a delightful Greek lady who spoke excellent English and really gave us monstrous scoops of ice-cream. I will put a good recommendation on TripAdvisor for it. You could have 1 2 or 3 scoops - 3 scoops was probably your calorie intake for the day #pigs

The Greek lady offered to take our picture but the lighthouse which she did. Should have had the flash on though to light up our faces but hey it's all of us in a picture. We wandered around the town popping into shops - good range here and then looked at the Ferry port as we have decided we enjoyed Thassos so much we will visit another island - Samothrace or Samos - birthplace of Pythogarus. More difficult to get to than Thasos and more expensive but you need to do things while you can both afford it and want to do it.

After returning to the car we headed out of town on the coast road and visited a number of small towns before we got to a small road really close to the sea. Miles and miles of beach with small bars dotter here and there. We parked up the car and were in the sea before you could say "I'm going for a swi..". Lovely warm clear water, just don't put your feet down as there are thousands of Sea Anenomes - luckily they are I a depth greater than 6 feet. Matthew took some more video must have a look and see what it came out like.

We stayed for a couple of hours. Found an umbrella to get a a bit of shade under and walked to a beach bar to use their shower to wash the salt off. When we got back to the car the temperature was reading 50C - yep 50- that's the highest - so far. It quickly cooled down to a more modest 35 once we were on the road.

Then we returned to our hotel guide by the SatNav which took us back to the E90. Really quick once on the motorway. If you wanted to go up and over the mountains you would want a 4x4 - but you would get some marvellous views.

We stopped as we headed back to take a few pictures of the coastline and as I was wandering about I found a baby tortoise. Photo with Matthew enclosed. It's a 450 quid tortoise, shame you can't take them home. I moved it further away from the road and when we looked it up on the Internet they are endangered - which is surprising as it's not the first we had seen, Christopher saw one scuttling across the road when we went out to eat a couple of nights ago.

Stopped in the town, picked up essential supplies - cold beer, crisps, orange and lemonade and a bottle of Retzina - pine wine. Which wasn't as bad as the versions I remembered that tasted like Domestos.

As normal we got back and were in the pool pretty quickly. We are getting later back at the pool as we were some of the last in it. Then back to the lodge and shower, change and walk out to a local Taverna. This was a real surprise. Catherine and I had sardines and they were lovely. The salads were nice, the boys said the Souvalaki was the best yet and Eleanor's chop was really nice. Fine array of small insects in the open roof as well. As we went to pay they brought out Mini Magnums for all of us - nice touch. 3 course meal, water, drinks, salads for 5 for 53 Euros - excellent value. Works out at about £8 a head including drinks.

We wobbled back to the lodge and watched a bit of Bulgarian TV. Most of the visitors here are Bulgarian, Romanian and some Greek - so the Menus are in Greek and Bulgarian with occasional English - I might try the Gobber of Pork one day...

Not early to bed - just after 12

6th August - today we are chillaxing so shouldn't be much to blog. We are going to let people sleep until they emerge from their caves, then swim, eat, swim, eat etc.

Catherine and I went for breakfast but even the coffee was poor today - tasted like they had run hot water through yesterday's grounds. Novel usage for pancake batter - they had mad sort of deep fried eggy bread covered in pancake batter - like a fritter looking for a heart attack.

After breakfast we looked at the ferry times to Samos and then went to the pool - lovely. More to follow.

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Dog in BasketDog in Basket
Dog in Basket

Way to transport Clancy?

7th August 2014

Definitely the way to take her around! Love reading the blog, too hot for me! but looks an amazing experience.

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