Saturday, 3 September 2011

Githio, Karavostasi, Finikounda...and not much travel!

37. Githion Bay camp site Githio

We woke up early- Pete got mozzied in the night- it seems to happen when we’re not on hook-up. Maybe when we have a fan on, it blows them away….? We stopped in a village for bread then I had a confidence loss and thought we were on the wrong road and had missed a turn,so turned round for a few kilometres. I put the sat nav on and it said to do a u-turn…..if I had waited for a few seconds more before turning, I would have seen the sea and been sure we were on the right road. We drove through Githio and went into Githion Bay campsite. We’ve been here before about five years ago and we’d seen a fox and cubs just outside the side fence. It’s greener and nicer than I remembered with the showers blocks retiled and new fittings, spotlessly clean. We got a nice spot under olive trees and I saw an English van .As I came back from the camp office, where I told the lady we’d be staying a couple of days*, Jayne the van co-owner was talking to Pete. It felt slightly odd speaking English ………
We had a lovely swim and I cooked fasolakia ( green beans in tomato sauce) and Pete cooked local sausage- sausage as it should be! It feels very comfortable here.

38 Githion Bay Githio
We had a quiet cool night. We talked to the Swift owners, Bri and Jayne before cycling into Githio.It was a six mile round trip with a hill at the entrance to the town but not too bad for Pete – and quite easy for me even when fully loaded with shopping. We had  coffee on the roundabout – a square that traffic goes round where there are lots of coffee shops. We then went to the shop that Pete bought me my birthday present five years ago- I hadn’t wanted a double hammock but he did, so that’s what I got. We bought blow up beach pillows- naff I know but comfy. We did internet stuff by the camp site café- the signal’s not very strong. Pete fixed the bathroom cupboard magnetic catch, which had come adrift. Jayne and Bri came round for drinks and the evening flew by……

39 Githio
Jayne and Bri had been to Methoni and met people there that we knew from previous years so we caught up on news. It was very windy so we put the storm strap on. In the evening we went to Takis' Taverna just along the beach with Jayne and Bri and another English couple Ian and Sue who were also at the campsite. We had a lovely evening chatting and doing the ‘small world’ stuff about who lived where etc. Takis’ is a lovely taverna where you go and choose your food in the kitchen- I had gouvetsi ( pork and pasta) Pete had stifado ( beef cooked in tomatoes with small onions). It was delicious and a really pleasant evening.

40 Githio
Have you noticed a ‘couple of days’ have passed and we’re still here? Well spotted! We are too comfortable to move and enjoying being here a lot. We had an early morning swim before cycling to town again. I arranged to meet Pete at the corner where we’d parked the bikes last time but couldn’t find him. I cycled around and eventually found him. He’d cycled down the harbour because he’d spotted the ship Gernika that had been with the Palestine Solidarity flotilla trying to take supplies to Gaza and got talking to one of the guys there. We cycled back to the ship and were invited on board and talked to the very brave Spanish group of people . They told us they had good support from local people and others too- people had worked on repairing the ship for free, others had given up holiday time to help them, they’d had food and money donated….but the Greek government wouldn’t let them leave Greece. We had a fascinating time talking but sadly didn’t have the camera with us so we took their email address and arranged to send messages of support to them as they are off tomorrow to Corfu.Pete was really pleased to have met them.
On the way back I went ahead to the supermarket and coming out, Pete was outside clutching his swollen lip. He’d come down the hill and been hit by a flying creature with such force that his lip was twice the size- we hurried back to get some ice on it.It got better quickly and he cooked bream for tea with potatoes and courgettes. We listened to a talk from volunteers about the turtles nesting on the beach then had a walk on the beach in the moonlight.

41 Githio
Still here….Pete cycled to see if he could get a photo of the ship but they’d gone. We spent most of the day on the beach. Pork chops and salad for tea. Pete tried unsuccessfully to get the football match on computer. There was Greek live music in the bar and we met up with Ian , Sue , Bri and Jayne there. The band was good and so was Duchess- Ian and Sue’s lovely boxer dog- you wouldn’t know she was there, she’s so quiet. We had a good laugh and even joined in for one dance only and again the evening went fast.

42 Githio
Yes still here….we have thought about moving- but not too much…
Sue came round for coffee- they are moving tomorrow. Bri called round for coffee too. I slept most of the afternoon on the beach- lazy!!!!
We had an evening walk on the beach after grilled chicken and the family opposite called us over for ice cream  as it was Despina and Maria’s name day. I gave them some Christmas cake in return.
The family are from Athens not too far from George’s.

43 Githio
Cycled to Githio, had coffee, went to the supermarket, got spanakopita and bread in the bakery…..went to the beach…….could this get boring? Well I suppose so but not yet- especially when Pete came down to the beach with a flask of tea for me! I couldn’t believe it! The only one on the beach with a cuppa- it was great!
octopus drying
We went round for a farewell drink to Bri and Jayne’s as they are off on their travels tomorrow. Jayne swapped some books with me and gave me a birthday card for tomorrow- that was really kind.

44 Githio
We had an early swim- the sea is like a huge swimming pool with no ripples here in the morning before the wind gets up later and fabulous to swim in. We had fruit and coffee and Jayne and Bri called to say goodbye- we hope to meet up again and will keep in touch. I opened my cards and presents and had bacon and egg brunch- lucky me eh? I went on the internet and picked up birthday messages and that was lovely. I had a long chat to my mam too.  We went to Takis again for a meal and we had spinach, rice and shrimps, and pork in lemon and wine sauce. We also had melon and ouzo on the house and a moonlit walk back. Me, I’m just lucky, lucky , lucky.
( having said that, today Pete fell through the sunbed as it ripped and disintegrated and the new brolly came adrift at the top and had to be fixed with glue and a jubilee clip)

45 Githio

We cycled along to the supermarket calling at a shop to get a new sun bed but at 52 euros , felt that it was a bit too much to pay. We swam. It was hot. I cut Pete’s hair and we lost a screw from the hair trimmer. I made spaghetti carbonara for tea.

46 Githio

 We cycled into town as it was market day and had a great time looking at the stalls and stall holders selling so much wonderful fresh fruit and veg. We loaded up with nectarines at 1 euro for a kilo, a huge bag of oranges, tomatoes, courgettes, lemons – and so cheap. We could have bought tons but I wouldn’t have been able to carry the three lettuces for a euro that Pete wanted so he settled for one huge lettuce.
I found the missing screw! Oh and we think we might move on Sunday…….or maybe not.
Pete cooked chops for tea and now he’s marked the Cadac grill so he can see how fierce the heat is, it’s easier for him to time the cooking and the chops were perfect. As we were eating, Despina came over with a couple of grilled steaks and some home made tzatziki for us- how kind…..Pete gave them a couple of bottles of English beer and explained that the barbecue chef has to have a beer…it was appreciated.

47 Githio

We went to the beach and got covered in sand as the wind got up and a windsurf sail blew over missing Pete by inches. There was a bit of a plumbing problem as water bubbled up  on the road next to us and Jimmy the handyman came to sort it out with a pressure washer but it wasn’t enough. We went to eat in the site restaurant which wasn’t a good move as there were two young men taking orders and only one lady in the kitchen cooking. The orders were getting mixed up and we waited what seemed like forever only for Pete’s meal to come and mine came 15 minutes later….overcooked souvlaki and  burnt pitta wasn’t the best meal I’ve had!

48 Githio

beach showers 
We had an early morning wake up courtesy of the Greek equivalent of Dyno- Rod who had come to sort out the drains. It was windy with big gusts that lifted the kitchen window clean off! It was easily fixed. I took a photo of the beach showers- they are surrounded by banana trees with bananas on. When we last came here , the trees were knee high, now they form a lovely canopy. We went along to Takis’ again in the evening but it was very busy and he had no oven cooked food left so he offered us food from the grill. It wasn’t very good- the best part of the evening was the stars on the walk back along the beach.

49 Karavostasi ( Neo Itilo , close to Areopolis)
We’d cleared and packed up mostly the night before so it didn’t take us long to get ready to move. We said goodbyes to Petros and Maria opposite and headed for Areopolis. We had coffee in the square there and noticed the buildings rebuilt after the fire then the earthquake. We had a lovely walk round this pretty place with the mountain towering over it. We went to the traditional bakery and got hot bread and spinach pies, the supermarket for supplies and the fruit shop for more  wonderful grapes.


the 'swimming pool'
We turned second left after Limeni and Neo Itilo to Karavostasi, said ‘hello’ to the guys in O Faros – the fish restaurant that you drive through and went into the field marked ‘free camping’ There were several Italian vans already there but they’d only stopped for lunch. We went for a fabulous swim after cycling along to the right on the bikes….gorgeous crystal clear warm water- best yet. We watched a kingfisher dive, catch and eat a fish- marvellous to watch but impossible to catch on camera as every time I got out of the water, he flew off, only to return when I was swimming. We also saw a huge brown and black bird just skimming the surface of the water
  and two aeroplanes tracking a fire behind the mountain. (We found out later it was a huge fire in Vathy, near Githio, and the fire chief himself was killed.)  We went for a meal to O Faros- it is usually more expensive there than we usually pay but we set this against a free campsite. We had shrimps saganaki and octopus with the lovely toasted bread and oil they serve there. It was a wonderful meal sitting by the sea watching the lights of Limeni and the fish swimming underneath the balcony.

free camping field

50 Karavostasi   

little church , Limeni

We cycled along to Limeni and saw that the whole place has gone upmarket. Houses once ruined are now being rebuilt in stone at great expense. The hotel complex on the side of the hill has been expanded too and the little village shop in Neo Itilo has closed down. Pete picked lots of figs by the church and we had coffee in Neo Itilo before going back for lunch and a swim. I talked to the Greek family who have a caravan in the field behind- they are going to build a house there eventually and after a chat, Nikos brought us a bottle of their home grown wine! I fed the stray dog who looks like she has just had puppies. We watched the brilliant stars there and we both saw the same huge shooting star.

51 Camping Thines, Finikounda

pitch 303 Thines
We said goodbye to Nikos and Sofia and hoped we’d meet again and drove along the scenic road to Kalamata. We stopped at Lidl and did a big shop then again at Carrefour to get the things Lidl didn’t have ( beer and mosquito spray)  We got to Camping Thines to lovely welcome by Sylvia and Michael who we met here last year. It took ages, three helpers and a lot of backwards and forwards wriggling and neighbours moving their car to get the van into our space as there was a branch which was in the way. How we’ll get out of here is a problem yet to come! We sat with Sylvia and Michael for a chat after meeting Herman and Helga, Bernhard and Uschi  who we’ve met in previous years. I fed the cat- also a friend from last year – I’d called it Chairman Miao then  as it usually ended up sitting on one of our chairs and it made a lot of cat noise! We went to Palamidi for dinner and it was lovely food and the starry walk back was lovely to- it felt as if you could touch the Milky Way, it looked so close.

52- Camping Thines  Finikounda
 We cycled into Finikounda  and as we were cycling along the main road, a van started tooting and pulled in just in front of us. It was Sue and Ian who we met in Githio! They were going to camping Thines so we gave them directions and met up later. We also met Marje and Mike from Scotland who are here and have been for a while.

I think I won’t be doing a daily blog while we are here because we don’t do much! We swim, we cycle, we find fig trees and pick lots, we go out for dinner, we talk to friends, we cook dinner here, we watch football on the internet, fix things, make mirrors out of driftwood, watch people windsurfing and kite surfing, read a lot, listen to music and chat. After all this time of hardly talking to other people, it seemed as if we talked non stop for the first few days!
There are lots of comings and goings as people arrive and leave and it was very busy when we got here but there are spaces now as people go home
 53 Pete cooked bacon and eggs and the whole campsite noticed!
 54 We saw our first ever tornado! It wasn't very big and it was just off the coast to the south west. I tried to take a picture but didn't get one. We went up the hill to Kamaria for a buffet style dinner with Michael, Sylvia, Clemens, Martina, Ferdinand, Christina and Paula with their dog Nikki. It was a wonderful meal, a lovely walk and a free light show as we watched huge lightning light up the clouds on the way back.
 55. Thunderstorm , big rain and Pete was so happy to get help from Mario here to get on the internet and watch Manchester United score eight goals against Arsenal. He was also given a beer from Mario- Neda beer from a local microbrewery.
 56 Pete brought me a cuppa on the beach! Decadent!
57 We went round to Bernhard and Uschi's for a glass of wine
58 Cycled along to Camping Loutsa- the other side of Finikounda. Met Bernhard and Uschi who showed us another fig tree! Walked to Finikounda to Dionysos for suckling pig.
59- We  saw a baby turtle on the beach thanks to Clemens, son of Michael and Sylvia from Austria who ran from the beach in the dark to tell us- we all ran over to see this tiny creature make it's way to the sea. 
60 I cyled to Methoni ( 12 mile round trip but I did use the electric bike) because the bank in Finikounda had run out of money, plus I felt like a cycle. I got a nice fish too. 
new pitch
We moved! but only to a bigger space at the front. Takis came round to tell us there was a space free so Pete wanted to move.Fortunately there was no problem getting out of the space that took ages to get into.Pete now has a space to put up the double hammock he bought me for my birthday five years ago because he wanted one. Sadly for him, the wood strut broke when he was testing it! We went to Palamidi for a meal with Ian and Sue, and Marj and Mike as it was Ian and Sue's last night. Lots of laughs. Pete found a cat and kittens round the back of the showers.

61 Pete helped Sylvia and Michael, Clemens and Martina load up their car and caravan as Sylvia hurt her arm before her holiday and can't lift anything. They left to get the ferry after having a last coffee with us- we'll miss them. Pete cooked a bream for tea but I wasn't hungry,  and I had an early night.

62 I had a home-sick half hour so I put Radio 2 Sunday love songs on the computer, had a cup of tea and a bacon sandwich ( with brown sauce) and a long chat to my Mam...that made me feel better. I didn't swim but we had a walk into Finikounda and a pizza and salad at La Foca which was delicious.
63 I had a lovely message from Katie and Stew to say they had been gardening at our house, digging up potatoes, weeding, cutting hedges, trimming the much work! We are really grateful- it's so kind of them to do all that.
64 Cycled into Finikounda for shopping- Pete went down 'Fig tree lane' and got more figs.
65 Had a huge swim as the sea was so calm- the calm before the storm! Pete picked more figs and I made fig jam in the van as the rain hit the van roof. There was thunder and lightning and it was cooler. It rained and rained and we spent the evening inside the van listening to the rain on the roof and watching tv- just like being in Britain!
turtle tracks
66.Saw more turtle tracks in the sand. The whole campsite was raked over by a young lad and looks very nice. I took some photos of sea daffodils- lovely plants.

sea daffodils

just hanging about

fig jam

Pete pinched my spot!
67 Went out for dinner and then tried double star gazing- two in the hammock! It deserves an award!
68 Pete went fig picking, we swam, had spaghetti carbonara and went round to Marj and Mike's for drinks

69. The arrival of the Boltons and the emergency Marmite!
Went for shopping, swam, watched a guy put his daschund (? sausage dog) on a lilo and take him out for a float. We skyped Tom and Lucille in Keswick where it's pouring with rain. We went into Finikounda to meet Andy and Carol Bolton who were travelling here for a week's holiday and we got there a minute before their taxi arrived. They had an eventful journey but it was so good to see them. We went for a drink to catch up then later met up for a meal at Dionysos where we had stuffed pork, chicken and lamb and a lovely evening. They'd brought us a huge jar of Marmite as we'd almost run out and were rationing it......brilliant!
 70 Mike called round to lend us their  sunbed and spare brolly for Andy and Carol's use- so kind of them. We had coffee and a swim in Finikounda  at Terra Mare before Carol and me walked back and Pete and Andy went on the bikes to get some figs. I got some bream which Pete cooked for tea with some courgettes and salad.
71 Andy and Carol walked along to the camp bringing lunch with them.They snorkeeld and found a dead tree trunk with a Moray eel in it.Pete and Andy amused themselves making an underwater sculpture park. We went into Finikounda for drinks on the hotel Finikounda balcony then to To Kima. I had a treat - vanilla icecream at the Gardenia cafe where Metaxas were had as a night cap.
72 Marj and Mike called round and had coffee. Pete fixed the brolly again.We went to the beach then had toasted bread with oil on and feta for lunch. The people in the caravan next to us left so we got a big sea view. We saw another turtle track but we haven't seen any emerging on our night time beach walks. Andy and Pete cycled down to the end of the bay to try some snorkelling there but they said it wasn't as good as where we are. Both Marj and Carol tried my electric bike out and enjoyed riding it. We went into town with Marj and Mike for a drink with Carol and Andy before going to To Karavi  for dinner- lovely courgettes in batter arranged round a huge dollop of tzatziki.  We went to Gardenia again for drinks then had a nice cool walk back. Mike told us a wonderful story that had us in fits of laughter about 'Lady' Marjory.
73. The young Armenian guy tidied the whole site again raking leaves and making the place look immaculate. Andy and Carol came round bringing assorted pies for lunch  and we saw a tiny lizard that looked like he'd lost his tail. Pete and Andy did maintenance and extensions to their underwater sculpture park.  Andy and Carol cycled back and we walked into town and went to the Elena for a meal.  The views from their are fabulous but the meal wasn't as good as others we've had.  Pete and me cycled home but his light didn't work ( found it later we were trying the wrong switch but we blamed the dark, not the drink!)
74 Pete woke up saying there had been an earthquake and Mike told us to put 'earthquake' into Google and it siad he was correct- there had been one in Kalamata. I had slept through it of course. Two Dutch vans arrived followed throughout the morning by eighteen more! It's an escorted tour run by the Motorhome club of the Netherlands and they've filled the site. It was fun to watch all the wrigglings into spaces and to see the different sorts of vans as they arrived. We got a huge Carthago next to us but they are only here two days. Pete and Andy have now got a man, a boy , a peace sign and an abstract piece..........but Pete's addition of appendages to the figures gave me the giggles. I didn't think you could giggle in a snorkel and mask but you can- and be heard all over the beach too.......
We had a wonderful evening at Palamidi's with Marj, Mike, Andy and Carol. Takis and Despina from the campsite were there too. We had a jug of wine on the house and Takis sent over an ouzo each- how nice.

75 Hmm- it feels odd having the camp busy again- there were noises in the night.Andy and Carol cycled round for a swim and lunch then back to pack. We walked into Finikounda later for a meal and a drink at To Karavi and some ice cream at Gardenia but it was a bit sad knowing they were leaving. We cycled back with working lights this time.
76  Mike found a wonderful turtle print- it had circled twice before heading again for the sea. We cycled in to Terra Mare cafe for a coffee  with Andy and Carol before the bus came to take them to Kalamata airport. It had been really lovely to see them and Andy pressed a note into Pete's hand with instructions not to open it until we got back to the camp site. We laughed loads when we read it- it was a treasure hunt clue. We ( well Pete) had to goto the 'underwater sculpture park ' and find the hidden 'silver and gold'. Marj and Mike watched as Pete came up with a bag of euro coins to buy wine to share! Thanks for the laughs Andy.......great fun.

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