Windy roads leading to olive groves; Road trip part 3

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October 1st 2010
Published: October 22nd 2010
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thessaloniki - meteora - parga - nafplio - athens

Day 13: Cleaning day
Sept.19 Drove 23km

In 6 and a half months very little has been expected of us; no deadlines other than visa's expiring; no worry of being late;, no waking up early unless we want to catch the sunrise or once in awhile a bus or ferry. A rare thing for me, having someone else do my laundry, has become the norm, not by choice but because that's the only option 98%!o(MISSING)f the time. No dishes to be washed, carpets to be vacuumed, bathrooms to scrubbed or living rooms to tidy. No fish to feed, plants to water or Dima's to nurture. Don't get me wrong, it hasn't all been peaches, cream and relaxation; we've had some hard times, just not the same as back home worrying over jobs, commutes, dinners and schedules.

Camping has been an interesting experience, while still being on our own "backpacker trail" we've had to start taking into consideration new aspects which hadn't been thought of for awhile now; not only planning what to eat, but shopping for food stuffs, storage and preparing meals, gas for the car, making sure the tent is clean and swept regularly, doing laundry (and the fun experience of hanging your underwear on a clothes line for all of Greece to see), dishes need to be done, garbage taken out, as well as ants, dog and cats being fended off. It’s definitely offering a new perspective to our adventures.

We spent the afternoon cleaning the car, doing laundry, just tidying in general (could you tell that was coming?). It feels good to have responsibility other then the never ending activity of packing our rucksacks and finding clean rooms to sleep in. I'm sure once we're back into the working environment and staying in one place for longer than a few nights we'll miss the freedom we have now, but I'm starting to look forward to our working holiday in Norway over the coming winter!!

Day 14: Thessaloniki - Meteora
Sept.20 Drove 266km

We woke up to some super windy weather, packed up early in case the wind turned to rain and headed to town to stock up on supplies. We drove thru town before hitting the highway to Meteora. The area we're heading for is known for the stunning mountainous cliffs with active 15th - 17th century monasteries perched atop the peaks. The campground we set up had a hoard of cats, which were amusingly annoying. (And one 'special' big guy who couldn't take a hint that we weren't going to feed him)

Day 15: Meteora and a dead battery
Sept.21 Drove 47km

The battery on the car died last night. The first thought was that we had left the glove box open (it had an automatic light that stayed on while it was open) or something stupid like that. We had some people from the campsite help push start the car and Scott went into town for some bread and ice and found out that it wasn't us forgetting to shut lights off, the battery just wouldn't hold a charge. We called Avis and they said they would send someone out with a replacement car the next day. So instead of waiting the rest of the day out twiddling our thumbs we got another push start and spent the afternoon driving around, only turning the car off when we had a hill to roll down to start it up again.

Day 16: Meteora - Parga
Sept.22 Drove 230km

Avis came and replaced our Opel Astra for a Toyota Auris before 11. We packed up the new car (it was quite nice, very roomy) and headed up to check out two of the amazing monasteries. We saw two of the 6 active ones that were open. The first was 'Moni Agias Triados' which had an amazing view of the city of Kalambaka, and was featured in the 1981 James Bond movie 'For Your Eyes Only'. The second was the most well known as well as the wealthiest thanks to the 14th century Serbian emperor Symeon Uros who turned all his wealth over to the monastery and became a monk.

After this we headed for the west coast city of Parga, the drive was quite nice (and with no tolls!!) and there were some long tunnels. (One was 4km long!! I was more impressed with this than Scott, apparently they have a 14km long tunnel in Norway)

Parga is a beautiful quaint little city. We stayed at a campground right on the beach; about 5 min drive away from the main town. We went into town for a visit to the local market and were helped by a super nice man named George, who recommended us to visit a restaurant called "Sodia", owned by a family member of his. We followed his advice and had one of our best meals in Greece yet!! The owner we were told to ask for, Sakis, was so very friendly, and the food was delicious!! We also learned about a delicious new drink called 'masticha' which is like ouzo but so much tastier.

Day 17: Parga
Sept.23 Drove 15km

We spent the day swimming, tanning and reading! That is about it!

Day 18: Parga
Sept.24 Drove 15km

Same as the day before, had dinner at Sodia again. It's nice to stay in the same place for a few days after setting up and taking down the tent every day for 2 weeks. Got to know some of the staff at the restaurant a bit better and were invited out for an ‘end of summer party’ at one of the local clubs the next night.

Day 19: Parga
Sept.25 Drove 30km

We visited the Nekromanteio of Afyra, the 3rd century B.C. ruins of a temple dedicated to Hades and his wife, Persephone. The ruins were small but there was a very well preserved underground vault in which ancient visitors were lowered into, after having gone through specific purification rituals, to talk with the deceased. The vault had a very eerie feeling to it, the walls being built up into arches all the way to the end where it just stopped at a massive rock wall. They had some lighting in the tunnel which added to the eerie feel, and a teeny rickety staircase in which modern visitors used for their decent (minus the purification rituals beforehand). On our way back into town what started as a light drizzle turned into a wonderful rain storm, we had to move the tent and dig a ditch around it to avoid coming back to a kiddie pool. We’re hoping the tent will stay dry and the rain stops long enough for us to pack up tomorrow so we can head to warmer dryer climates. But now we’re going out for a night on the town with our new Greek friends.

Day 20: Parga - Korinthos
Sept.26 Drove 449km

We woke up to a mini pool of water underneath the air mattresses this morning. Thankfully though the rain had stopped, it took us awhile to sort everything out but we managed to get the tent mostly dry although we had a few wet towels. We packed up, had a quick bite in town and headed out around 1:30 for Peloponnese. We passed some ‘Gorge-ous’ gorge’s on the way (haha) and saw some spectacularly scenery on our drive down to Peloponnese.
Our plan was to head for Diakofto but after driving around the teeny town for an hour and not finding any campgrounds (even locals didn’t know if there was one around) we decided to head back to Korinthos and stay at the same place as last time. Camping season is slowly winding down in Greece; restaurants are closing down, camping facilities are ceasing, and people are packing up, all for good reason. The weather is quickly changing from warm, sunny and pleasant to something resembling Vancouver fall. It’s chilly and windy, with the threat of rain almost every day. Tomorrow night, after three weeks, 20 days of driving around Greece and living in a tent, we’re going to stay in a hotel.


Day 21: Korinthos - Nafplio
Sept.27 Drove 66km

I woke up feeling horrible, bad stomach cramps and I had somehow overnight lost the ability to hold down anything larger than an ant-sized cracker; I slept all day. We decided to leave in the afternoon and Scott, being the hero that he is, packed up our stuff, tent and all, and we headed south for Nafplio. We arrived at dinner time, checked into the cute little pension Mariana, ordered some take out and promptly passed out.

Day 22: Nafplio
Sept.28 Drove 5km if that

We stayed in bed most of the day recovering, Scott had caught a bit of whatever stomach bug I had contracted so we took it easy and recovered from whatever evil bug it was. We had another night in with takeout dinner delivered and movies in bed!

Day 23: Nafplio (side trip to the Theatre of Epidavros)
Sept.29 Drove 69km

Finally feeling better!! (No it wasn’t a hangover; we ate some bad chicken the night before) We decided to check out the ruins of Epidavros.

For those that don’t know, the theatre of Epidavros is one of the best preserved relics in Ancient Greece. The theatre itself was beyond beautiful with a stunning backdrop of the mountains in the background. The acoustics of the theatre was what blew us away the most. It was possible for one person to sit in the last row (55 rows up) and have another drop a penny in the center of the stage and it be heard as if the penny was dropped next to your ear; to talk in a library voice, one could be heard in the back row as well. It was absolutely amazing what was accomplished with none of our ‘modern’ technology. We also visited the small museum on sight, but skipped the healing grounds as the 30+ heat + still recovering from a stomach bug wasn’t agreeing too well with me. (Although in hindsight it may have been a good idea to visit the healing grounds while I was sick).

Day 24: Nafplio
Sept.30 Drove 0km

We went for a walk into New Nafplio to get some laundry taken care of and then decided to go for a hike up to the ancient castle that had been towering over the past few days. I forgot to count how many steps up, but with the sun pounding down on us (except for the few shady spots I managed to cower in), it felt like twice as many going up as coming down. The views from the top were amazing, and we had great time exploring the ruins. We wandered a bit down an un-beaten trail and found an almost invisible set of teeny stairs leading down to one of the old water reservoirs. After 4 hours total of hiking up and around the ruins we went back down and had a quick dip in the wonderfully cool waves crashing far below.
Tomorrow is the last day of our road trip as we head back to Athens (avoiding the Korinthos Canal and the massive bungee jump). Time to unpack the car and re-pack the bags!

Day 25: Nafplio - Athens (bye bye car)
Oct.1 Drove 154km (superfast)

We left Nafplio before 9:30 and hit the highway all the way to Athens. It took us an hour and a half to get to the outskirts of the capital, and another hour to figure out how to get where we had to go. We said goodbye to the trusty little Toyota, pulled on our rucksacks and headed to Students and Travellers Inn, our trusty Plaka Hostel. We spent the rest of the afternoon looking for accommodations on Santorini and planning the next week as tomorrow my Mum arrives from Vancouver for a one week vacation and visit with us!!

Additional photos below
Photos: 42, Displayed: 30


Kristy in MeteoraKristy in Meteora
Kristy in Meteora

at the Monastery of the Holy Trinity

23rd October 2010

Glad you are enjoying Greece
Hi there, I am following your travels in Greece, my home country. Interesting to get an outsiders look on what is "home" to me. I hope you enjoyed the islands too and look forward to read about it. By the way, just a small correction there are no nuclear plants in Greece (thanks heaven). I guess your photo shows Ptolemaida power plant, one of the biggest in Greece, and it is powered by lignite, which is basically carbon, it is mined locally. Still not great from the point of the environment but hopefully it will be phased out by wind and solar power. Enjoy the rest of your travels
26th October 2010

Nice picture of scott and the cat ;-) hehe

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