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Published: August 14th 2013
Yia Su all
I keep forgetting to caption photos but they pretty much speak for themselves so I don't think that needs a big apology unlike my mea culpa over the typos.
We've been in Paleros for three nights and I'm writing this on the 5th night just before I hit the sack. It's a problem writing these after we've been out to dinner as I find the thinking a bit blurred at times. It's Gavin's fault. The local red wine here is cheap; it seems to be mainly available in one litre plastic bottles for a couple of Euro so it's not surprising that we connoisseurs pick up on that pretty quickly. Hence my fumblings at times on the "keyboard".
Like all good capitalists we hired a taxi from Athens to Paleros. 400 euros for a 4 hour drive seemed like a reasonable deal. It was. An air conditioned Merc floated us along through a parched landscape. I had a publicity blurb from 2007 which said the Patros to Athens highway would reduce the travel time to Paleros by an hour. We passed the uncompleted highway many times on our drive - very unfinished - a graphic
View from our first accommodation
example of the Greek crisis we've all read about. We crossed a very impressive bridge (can't find the name- look it up) much like a scaled down Millau. Found the name - the Rio-Antirio bridge.
Paleros is sensational. It's not a tourist trap that's been commandeered by partying Brits or other like minded nations. It seems to be mainly Greeks and a few off-route aliens like us looking for a beachside place with plenty to do but without the hordes of drunken youngies. Drunken oldies are OK. It's very family friendly with a quiet, clear, blue water beach.
The temperature is knocking us out a bit. Us white skinned Anglo Saxon Kiwi people are not built for the high 30's. This foursome isn't anyway. We stayed for the first three nights at a very nice place with the mother-in-law of a friend of Lyn's who couldn't have been more hospitable but the lack of air con made it almost impossible to get a good night's sleep so we made the heavy decision to move yesterday.
Now we are in an apartment over looking the waterfront. Air con working well.
So, Paleros: a small village really, that
Taking our first host to dinner.
in modern times has discovered the power of a waterfront for tourist income. The old village is up on the hill above the seafront and looks pretty much as if it's struggling. I went for a bike ride the other day early in the morning on a rented bike, knees up to my chin again, and rode through the older village. It's a narrow streeted, hotchpotch of buildings with many tavernas, a pharmacy and couple of sad looking supermarkets, many woebegone dogs lying around and the only cats I've seen are thin and looking for mice. That's a very NZ-centric take on it of course. Without speaking Greek it's hard to know the real story but the sight of many men sitting outside the tavernas when I returned from my ride, drinking coffee (? not sure), talking, and not appearing to have too much to do otherwise, didn't look like a thriving village. But what do I know? That may be just how it is all the time.
We arrived here on a Saturday and the village was jumping down at the Yacht Club where, it seems, most of the young party goers (not many) assemble to down cocktails,
Tried a panorama shot
smoke (smokers bloody everywhere) look at each other, preen themselves and do whatever it is they do when night falls. We sat around there that first afternoon, evening, not knowing any better and swam, had a beer and some snacks then wandered back through the beachside tavernas (there are many of them and most family owned), stopping for several swims and another drink before heading back to our digs for the night. Our days pretty well followed a pattern of going down to the village (a 10 minute stroll) then swimming, exploring the town, refreshments, more dips and eating and back to the house for dinner. If it sounds a bit ho hum - no - well not if you like swimming in a clear blue sea in an obscure Greek village with no worries about goose bumps or household chores.
Yesterday we moved to this apartment above the Dionysus Taverna. It's across the road from the beach, is comfortable and it's cool! We're going to be here for at least another 2 nights, maybe more before we head to Corfu.
Today we hired a car and drove to the island of Lefkada about 30ks away. It's known
Moon over Paleros
The haze gives it the orange look.
as a tourist venue with many white sand beaches and beautiful sapphire seas. The main town, Levkas, was crawling with tourists (just like us) and was hot and and a good place not to go into. We did do some small exploring of the place and had a bite to eat for lunch but best to stay away from unless you need to provision for essentials. In the end we ended up at Agios Ioannias beach where the aforementioned applied. It was pretty busy but not as bad as Oriental Bay on Wellington's good days. There are many such beaches on Lefkada but we don't have time to search them out unfortunately.
Driving the rental was an experience. I don't think I've actually had three backseat drivers before. Being on the wrong side of the road seems to make passengers nervous. We got there (me); we got back (Gavin) without a scratch. So there.
One of the biggest images we'll take from Greece is the number of unfinished buildings, ranging from houses to commercial developments. We are assuming it's an outcome of the "Greek Crisis" but regardless, it leaves a vivid impression of a country struggling to find
Not quite the NZ variety - see Lyn's finger for scale. Tasted good.
a cure for its ills.
And that's goodnight from me.
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