Sunday, 1 December 2013

Penistone  to the Peloponnese 2013 ( need to add more photos) 

Day 1 Aire at Port de Plaisance, Stenay, France  

We set off on our annual ( since 2007) trip at 6.30 am after a very emotional day yesterday. It was my Dad’s funeral and although he was ninety two, it was still so sad. We had a good sleep in the van last night as we were very tired after all the bustle of the day. The new silk quilt we’d treated ourselves to felt really nice. The roads were busier than I thought they might be but we got to Cambridge services round 10 am for coffee. We just missed being able to get on the 12 o clock ferry but the reception lady was very kind and we got parked up ready for the 2pm ferry. It was raining very heavily and the ferry was running half an hour late. We think this was because we saw the police take away two people but it was referred to by the ship’s captain as ‘an incident’.  We docked in Dunkirk at 5.35pm and as we were right at the stern, we were off in ten minutes. We drove to junction 54a on the A16 and went to Auchan at Grand Synth for fuel.  We drove along in the evening sunshine, put the ‘Mavericks’ on and soon we were singing along. I decided to try the sat nav which had recently been replaced and it worked well. We stopped near Le Nouvion in ‘Chippy Woods’ and I couldn’t believe it- the friterie was open and it had a queue! We were only going to stop for a quick sandwich but Pete insisted I queue for chips and I was so glad I did…great chips!  We sat outside on a bench and it was almost dark at nine o clock. A ‘handy’ lorry was in front of us so we followed it for almost an hour making it easier for Pete on the road that was unfamiliar in the dark. We turned right at Douzy and hardly saw a vehicle till we got to Stenay at 11.25pm. Friends Andy and Carol had been there a few days before and had given us the gate code so we didn’t need to worry about getting in.

Day 2 Kaysersberg, France

It was a cool quiet night. Pete tried out the newly decorated and revamped showers and toilets, but the water wasn’t hot. We paid the seven euros charge then popped into the Lidl to end the ‘lack of lettuce’ crisis. (Those who know us well will understand Pete's consternation....he loves lettuce) . We headed for Bascharage, Luxemburg for diesel and filled up at 1.23 euros a litre. We had our usual lunch stop at the aire at Jete du Pierre before heading over the Col du Bonhomme, last traversed in rain and snow , down to Kaysersburg. We picked blackberries then headed into the beautiful old town for the traditional ice cream. We sat eating them and trying not to giggle  at some of the strange people passing ( I know that’s very rude but there was some very odd looking people) We went to the little market then went in search of rillettes and remoulade at the supermarket. We sat in the sun and logged onto to the wifi hotspot- no security code needed. It was seven euros for overnight parking, loo emptying, water filling and use of loos.

Day 3 Soragna, Italy

We set off at 9.15am and went into the Leclerc in Colmar on the road to Neuf Breisach for a diesel fill , buying  bread, prawns and raspberry tarts. It started raining. We stopped at Bad Bellingen services for coffee. You can get a Swiss vignette here if you are going through Switzerland but we'd already got one from the internet.  If you need to pay at the Swiss border and pay in euros, they will give you change in Swiss francs so unless you are planning on spending money there, tell the staff you want to pay by card and pop inside to the office. This tip that I read somewhere has saved us having little piles of Swiss francs lurking unused as we usually forget to bring them with us. It was busy going through Basle , the Bellinzona services were busy and Coldrerio services south are closed for a revamp so we stopped further along near Ticino for a cuppa. We entered Italy at 16.45pm  and went steadily along the autostrada to the Fidenza turn off for the sosta at Soragna, a new stop for us but we’d read something negative about Fontenelatto on so we thought we’d try it. It’s a car park in the centre , signposted and easy to find. There’s a pizzeria, La Danda, if you turn left and left again out of the sosta. We had a walk around the lovely town then went for pizza. Two pizzas and half a litre of sparkling wine was 21 euros. It was a good place to go.  We got back to the van before a huge thunderstorm started which lasted through the night.

Day 4  Sassonia sosta, Fano, Italy 

 We heard church bells at 7am but we weren’t in a getting up mood so we didn’t leave till 10am. We were surprised to see the Conad supermarket open on a Sunday morning  so we’ll note that for another time. We went to the Esso garage at Fidenza and used a 24hour fill up with a 50 euro note. We stopped for coffee at Castel San Pietro Therme . The autostrada was hugely busy going north, luckily we were heading the opposite way. It was overcast when we got to Fano and parked next to the bamboo. It was busy. We had lunch and sat about for a while but it wasn’t sunny and the sea was a dismal grey so swimming wasn’t on the agenda. We went for a walk into town and found the biggest street market ever! There were stalls along every street selling a fabulous array of food, clothes, toys and gadgets. I had to be dragged past the stalls selling bread……  

Fano street market

Day 5   On board ‘Hellenic Spirit’ en route to Ancona

It was a quiet cool night and we woke to sunshine. The autostrada to Ancona is now three lanes almost to Ancona Nord. I got a huge smile from the toll booth man (2.80 euros) when I gave him a sweet. We got to the port at 10.30am and had coffee then waited to get on board. We got shuffled from waiting lane to waiting lane without reason. We were loaded on and we got a bit of a sea view. There seems no point in arriving early for the ferry as everything about loading seems entirely random. The pool on deck wasn’t open but the gyros stand was -it was tempting but we had a huge salad instead.

Day 6 Camping Aginara, Glyfa, Greece

We had good showers and just after lunch we got the call to say we were minutes out of Patras. We were off at 12.15pm – two hours earlier than last year. We missed out on Lidl shopping as we thought we’d go tomorrow  on the way to Finikounda. We got to the campsite and parked up in our usual ‘garden ‘ spot. Andy and Carol our friends were already there and we were pleased to see them. Unfortunately, they’d had an incident with the awning at a campsite and needed help with a damaged awning but people from Aginara campsite rallied round to help with contacting repair men etc. It meant that they couldn't travel the next day as planned but we love it here so we were happy to stay. We went for our first swim- the one I dream of in winter, and bounced about in the rather choppy sea. We had champagne at Andy and Carol’s ( late birthday treat) then went up to the restaurant for a lovely meal- the krassato ( pork in wine) was wonderful. We went to the beach in the dark and watched the stars.

coffee in Arkoudi 

Day 7 Aginara

Pete helped Andy tighten his awning and they also tried to fix the malfunctioning air conditioning. We had some lovely messages from friends staying at Thines camp site in Finikounda. We had a long swim and Carol did the evening meal. We caught up with internet as there’s a good signal here.

Day 8 Aginara

I had a perfect swim before breakfast then we all cycled along to the village of Arkoudi calling first at the camp office to see Angeliki. She’d been so helpful to Andy and Carol. We had a coffee with the smiley lady who used to run the café and the periptero ( newsagent’s cabin) which has now gone so she doesn't have to keep running across the road to work both places. We got shopping and cycled back. I used some frozen pastry to make tomato flan and a bacon and egg quiche. Andy got news that the parts he needs for the awning can’t be sourced in Greece so we need to consider what we do next.

Day 9 Aginara

Pete and Andy had an awning morning trying to put it back in, get it out, and lock it in place. It can be done with two spanners so we can move when we want to. An Austrian lady camping next door offered help- she and her husband were very kind.Pete and I cycled to Arkoudi again to get some lovely local rose wine. We went to the restaurant again and had artichokes in egg and lemon sauce, then chicken, bream and swordfish. It was all delightful and then we went to the bar by the sea and talked to Fotis the bar man while watching the twinkling lights on Zakynthos.

Kastro with Zakynthos in the distance

Day 10 Aginara

Andy, Pete and I went for a cycle up to Kastro stopping at Liggia for coffee, Andy and Pete went into the the further restored castle while I sat outside under a tree and had a long chat to my mam. We had a little cry and a few laughs. When the guys had finished in the castle we went to the butcher’s for huge pork chops. We went to ‘Klodia’ tavern for cheese pies and salad. Pete took Andy to the mud baths at Killini while I cycled back for a swim.  We ate spaghetti bolognese that Carol had cooked in a slow cooker.

Day 11 Aginara

We all cycled to Arkoudi and had coffee in the beach café- more expensive by three euros than the one in the square. Andy took Carol to show her the mud baths but I don’t think she wanted to try it. The afternoon’s swim was a bit cautious as I saw a couple of jellyfish. We packed most things away ready for a move then had the enormous pork chops.

Day 12  Methoni

Andy and Pete got the awning in and secured and we set off at 11.30am. We stopped at the A and B stores in Pyrgos for some shopping then went down to Kalo Nero for lunch in a shady spot next to the sea. We then popped into Lidl to stock up then drove via Marathopoli to Methoni. The campsite there has been taken over and there are new loos and the showers are mended. There’s a new reception, the café is fixed, the beach showers work and the electric boxes are now key operated by Costas from reception. We parallel parked sharing our awning and we had a good sea view. We had a late swim then gin and tonics and a walk into Methoni where we ate at O Nikos. They had been very busy so there wasn’t much to choose from in the kitchen but we had stuffed courgette flowers then lamb chops and chicken. It was good value. The castle was lit up as we walked back.

 Day 13 Methoni

We got internet access free and picked up a message from friends Aris and Dimitris to say they were arriving on Thursday- the day we plan to move. We went for a walk around the castle and met Dave- who we’d met here most years for several years, by the campsite gate. The walk round the castle was super and Andy and Carol were very enthusiastic. It was sunny and windy. We went into 'Ostria' for coffees and a spot of people watching. Carol cooked souvlaki then we sat out and star watched.

Day 14  Methoni

It was windy in the night- it often is here and I worried about the awning but it was okay. Andy and Carol had a hot walk into town , I swam and Pete did some internet work. We went to the castle to watch the sun sinking into the sea. It was a bit hot and humid eating at O Nikos again. We met up with Jerry, Jill and Dave who we’ve met here almost every summer. It was lovely to have a chat and catch up.

Day 15 Camping Thines, Finikounda.

We were just about to set off for Finikounda when Aris and Dimitris arrived from Patras- what a lovely surprise! After a chat, we paid Costas at reception 15 euros a night and left for Thines. We had a wonderful welcome from Despina and Voula. Takis helped us squeeze into two shady spots near the bar. Marj and Mike were on the beach and Marj bounded over to see us. It was so good to see them.  We had a coffee in the new thatched bar then Bernhardt and Uschi came round to see us.  We went for a swim in a bouncy sea and had a chat to Marj and Mike to catch up. We had drinks and nibbles and Aris and Dimitris came, Bernhardt and Uschi,  and Mike and Marj. Dimitris brought me a wonderful mask he’s made from metal he’d dived for from a ship sank off Methoni. I will have to look up the name of the ship , wrecked in the second world war. Aris and Dimitris went back to Methoni camp site and the rest of us went to To Palamidi for a meal. It was a lovely evening with lots of laughs.

If you are interested-the ship was called SEBASTIANO VENIER (December 9, 1941)

Italian motorship of 6,310 tons, built in Amsterdam in 1939 under the name Jason. Requisitioned by the Italian Navy and renamed Sebastiano Venier, the ship had left Benghazi harbour with around 2,000 British prisoners of war including black South African troops, New Zealanders and Australians, all captured by the Germans in North Africa. Five miles south of Navarino on the Greek Peloponnese, the ship was attacked by the British submarine HMS Porpoise. She was not flying a P.O.W. flag. Hit by a torpedo between the No.1 and No.2 hold on the starboard side, the force of the explosion hurled the heavy hatchway covers to mast height, the falling timbers killing dozens of men trying to escape from the hold. From the flooded No.1 hold only five men survived. Most of the panic stricken crew abandoned the ship taking all the lifeboats. The Italian hospital ship Arno appeared on the scene but ploughed its way through the men struggling in the water and kept on sailing, its priority being the rescue of the crew of a German ship sunk nearby. A total of 320 lives were lost among them 309 British P.O.W.s, including 45 New Zealanders. Eleven Italian soldiers also died. The ship did not sink but managed to reach the shore at Point Methoni near Pilos where it was beached. All prisoners who managed to reach the shore were confronted by hundreds of Italian occupation troops and were taken to a makeshift camp where during the next few months many died from frostbite and disease. In May, 1942, the prisoners were transferred to Campo 85 at Tuturano in Italy.

Day 16 Thines

I think I overdid it a bit last night…felt a bit grim today. In the evening, we could see a fire starting to blaze on the hillside above Turtle bay.  It burned into the night.  Aris and Dimitris came round for dinner. Pete and Andy cooked chops, I did lemon potatoes and ‘George’s’ salad . Dimitiris brought ‘lazy pie’  and potatoes- there was so much food!

Day 17 Thines
We were woken early by the sound of planes overhead. We went to the beach to see what was happening and we saw four sea planes and a helicopter picking up water to fight the fire still raging on the hillside. I swam and it was eerie seeing planes flying low overhead then dropping to sea level appearing to be coming straight at me though they were nowhere near really.  We did some internet catching up and found we’d been the victims of a credit card fraud so a  quick phone call to the bank sorted that out but it was a bit scary too. I did some washing then rain threatened. There was a bit of thunder and lightning then it rained- that was good to help put the fire out but strange to be swimming in the rain. A huge rainbow came out. Carol cooked lemon chicken in the slow cooker and we used up all last night’s left overs too.

Day 18 Thines

 We went for a lovely flat early swim and it was so good. Pete and me cycled up to the Panorama apartments and waited for son Joe and girlfriend Jemma to arrive for a week’s holiday. They have a nice room in the lovely apartments with pool and great views over Finikounda ( a Thomas Cook holiday via Kalamata airport) They came back along to the beach with us then met up later at To Kima for a meal.

Day 19 Thines

We saw three ringed plover running along the beach then skimming over the sea. We haven’t seen them there before. Pete went shopping and came back with Joe and Jemma. We went along to To Mytilene with Marj , Mike, Joe and Jemma, Andy and Carol for a lovely meal. The stuffed courgette flowers were amazing- in fact all the food was very good.

Day 20 Thines

We had a beach day and Aris and Dimitris came to eat with us. Dimitris brought us all boats made from pebbles and a pebble shaped like a foot with 'Welcome' written on it. They brought cod fried in batter and skordalia- lots of it. Carol did salads, I did lentils with ham, tzatziki, peas, chips, pitta and Pete cooked chicken- loads of food. It was all lovely and a good night.

Day 21 Thines

I swam round the buoys- a big swim. Joe and Jemma came and Joe played bat and ball with Pete- very competitive. Aris came to collect Pete, Joe and Jemma to take them into Methoni to go to the castle and eat with them  later, then he came back for me, Andy and Carol. Dimitris did tomatoes stuffed with tuna, parsley and cucumber, then chicken and tomato pasta. He’s a good cook! Aris took us back to Thines after yet another lovely night.
Joe and jemma at Methoni castle

Day 22 Thines

Mike and Marj left today. Aris and Dimitris collected Joe and Jemma and took them to Pylos for coffee and a look round.We met up at Dionysos for a meal and we had a good time eating and chatting. We talked about where would go next in the vans.

Day 23 Thines

Aris and Dimitris came round  for coffee and to say ‘goodbye’ as they leave for Patras later. Andy and Pete started the ‘underwater sculpture park’. They made one two years ago moving pebbles on the sea bed . Andy has an underwater camera so we’ll be able to record it this time. We took bread into the sea and Andy took photos of fish almost eating out of our hands. Joe and Jemma stayed after swimming to eat with us. Despina serves food on Fridays and Saturdays and we ate there. Takis was the waiter and we had lovely fried Mani pitta and olives to start, then salad, saganaki cheese and tzatziki followed by beef stifado, pork chops, pasticchio and souvlaki. It was all very good and very reasonable.

Andy's photo of fish feeding

Underwater sculpture  of Methoni castle
Day 24 Thines

It was windy this morning. Joe and Jemma came round and Joe and Pete watched football. They went out for a meal by themselves while we ate at Despina’s again. She fed 28 people ! We  sat out with Andy and Carol for a quiet drink.

Day 25 Thines

We all biked up to Panorama apartments to say goodbye to Joe and Jemma. It was quite sad to see them go- the week went by  so fast. We went to To Gardenia for coffee and cheese pies and it was peaceful sitting there chatting and watching the world go by.

Day 26 Thines

Andy's water pump stopped working so Takis recommended a shop in Finikounda where Pete and Andy got a bilge pump and after a bit of fiddling about with a bit of hose pipe, they got it fitted and working. Then it was haircut time- I did Pete's, then Andy's hair and then went inside as a queue for haircuts was forming ( she lied).  Pete and me went for a bike ride up to Kamaria even though the sky was darkening. We were up on top of the hills when it started to rain heavily and we both did fairly scary skids coming back down. There hadn't been any rain for months and the rain made the roads greasy. We got soaked. We 'battened down the hatches' ( put things away) as a thunderstorm came over so we sat inside with gin and tonics . We sent a message to friend Paul to tell him not to come over because of the slippery roads. We paddled along to the taverna Mytilini. I had a fantastic gyros plate and Carol had my favourite prawn saganaki. The food is very good. 

Day 27 Thines

There was more heavy rain in the night. We heard from Pete's brother who had arrived with his wife  in Kalamata with their bikes in bags. They'd hired a car there.  My electric bike has got a problem with the pins that connect the battery but Pete managed to connect it.  I made bifteki - stuffed burgers. The meat here is super- ask for mince and the butcher will show you a cut of beef or pork and mince it for you. 

Day 28 Thines

Despina and the family were playing with baby Andreas- it's lovely to hear lots of little Greek songs sung to Eli's baby. He's adored by everyone and has so many 'aunts and uncles' on the campsite who like to look after him. We had a swim and then a bike ride up the road to Koroni and to the water tower then we cycled off road  and up for a while- well actually until I got worried about coming back down the steep rough track and gave up!  My new brake pads were well worn coming back down to Finikounda- Pete goes really fast and waits for me at the bottom while I go slowly down enjoying the views. Paul from holiday villas, came round to collect us in the Landrover. He took us down to Tsapi beach and Maria's taverna there. We ate Laborda- a seasonal fish I can't find a name translation for, but it's a lot cheaper than most Greek fish. It was a lovely meal in a lovely place. It was quite a winding road on the way down and up from Tsapi and I was glad we'd not tried to do it on the bikes.  We had a drink outside Andy and Carol's to end an evening of stories, politics and putting the world to rights.

Day 29 Thines

I did lots of washing then went to the beach for swimming and reading.  We went for a cycle ride up to Yamia on the road to Xarokopio. The views from up there are stunning. We had a late walk into Finikounda and to La Foca Italian restaurant where we had a wonderful salad and pizza. They will also deliver food to the campsites. 

Day 30 Thines

Pack up day- we move to Gytheio tomorrow. I had a beach day while Pete spent ages talking to Takis and Despina and Dimitris the butcher.  We ate at the campsite where Despina served stuffed cabbage leaves, moussaka, and bifteki. Andy and Carol were a bit sad to be leaving the site.....but there's always next year.

Day 31 Camping Kalogria. Stoupa

Our lovely neighbours, Ricki and Gerd from Austria came to say goodbye. Getting out of our pitch proved to be a bit tricky for Pete as he had so many people telling him which way to drive...poor man. It was a lovely shady pitch. We stopped at viewpoints on the road to Koroni for photo opportunities then stopped again  at Petalidi  for a coffee before going to Lidl in Messene. We were surprised to see the field next to Lidl full of horses and dealers and gypsy families. It was a horse fair and we even saw a horse in the back of a low sided pick up. 

Happily loaded up with nice food, we went easily through Kalamata stopping in the gorge before Kardamyli for lunch. We got  to camping Kalogria where the friendly guy on reception gave us a message from Robin, Pete's brother who had stayed there the day before. We set up parallel again with a view over the beach at Kalogria. We went down for a swim and found it was full of British people and it somehow felt wrong to hear so many people speaking English. We walked into town and had a drink in a taverna at the end of the 'little' beach - we had ouzo and mezze watching the fantastic sunset.  The waitress was so lovely and she took photos for us. One ouzo led to another so we decided not to cook but to go to the little taverna next to the campsite which is super.

Day 32 Gytheion Bay Campsite, Gythieo.

We had breakfast together with a lovely view over Kalogria beach then we headed for Areopoli.
 It was grey and cool so Limeni didn’t look quite as wonderful as usual but it’s still a beautiful bay. We stopped in the car park at Areopoli and went for Mani pitta and coffee. They were very big! We bought pies and bougatsa ( custard slice) from the old town bakery and of course we had to get bread there. I love the smell of bread baking.
      We got to Gytheion Bay campsite and took a while to decide where to park up as there weren’t any really shady spots available to take two vans. We set up and had the bougatsa and a welcome cup of tea. The campsite has a new swimming pool and it looks like something a five star hotel would have. It’s stunning.  I talked to our neighbours, a Finnish lady and her French partner. They were really interesting to talk to.  Pete and Andy watched football while I cooked supper. We struggled to stay awake past ten o clock!

Day 33 Gytheion Bay Campsite

Scrambled eggs and blue skies, what a lovely start to the day. Pete took Andy to the supermarket on the bikes and came back along the beach road- not a great idea. Carol and I took up residence on the comfortable sun loungers by the pool. Pete brought gin and tonics down to the pool- how decadent!  Carol and Andy cooked chicken souvlaki and we sat out in the cool evening air.

Day 34 Gytheio

We went for early morning swims in flat sea. We cycled into Gytheio and parked on the corner by the new Port Police cabin. There was a huge cruise ship anchored off the jetty and little shuttle boats ferried people back and forth. Italian, English and German tourists filled the shops and coaches headed off to Mystras, Sparti etc. Sadly, British tourists were easily spotted by their dress ( too tight tops, badly fitting shorts and football tee shirts) We had coffee in the square and saw all the new things that had been put in place for cruise visitors- a new taxi rank being one. We went into a favourite ‘everything’ shop and were quite tempted by a fringed hammock……We went into the supermarket and then stopped at Souvlaki Mou on the harbour front for super gyros at 2.20 euros each. They were really tasty. We cycled onto the island to show Andy and Carol but the  museum was closed. We cycled back and had just settled on sunloungers when Robin, Pete’s brother and his wife Jill , arrived. They’d had a lovely time in Stoupa and Gerolimenas in the Mani. They set up their tent near us then we had drinks before walking along the beach to Taki’s tavern. We had a wonderful meal and a very starry walk back along the beach.

Day 35 Gytheio

We met an English couple , Liz and Jim from Ringwood and swapped stories. Pete cycled into town with Robin and Jill to get vegetables. Robin and Pete spent some time catching up on family matters. We all ate together  and later I put the quilt on the bed as it was cool.

Day 36 Gytheio

We had a lovely swim- early morning swims  here are wonderful because of the calm water and the scenery. Robin and Jill had gone into town very early.  Carol cooked a lovely meal of tomatoes stuffed with chickpeas, rice, apricots and spice. Andy and Pete went in town to get a hammock  and I managed to demonstrate how to fall out of it. ( I just giggled and couldn't get back up off the ground...and that was before I had wine!)

Day 37 Gytheio

Robin and Jill got up early to pack up their tent while I did breakfast. We cycled into town and met Robin and Jill for a coffee after wandering around the colourful market and buying lots more veg and salad.  

They left then to go to Monevassia and then Sparti. We cycled back up what we call ‘Butcher’s Street’ as it’s less steep with really good views over the island. I downloaded a book about Greece recommended  by Paul from  - ‘The House on Paradise Street’. ( note- it's a really good book )Andy and Carol took us to Takis for a meal  as it was their last night with us. We had yet another lovely meal.

Day 38 Gytheio

I made bacon sandwiches while Andy and Carol packed up ready for their trip to Mystras . It was sad to see them leave as we’d had a really good time with them. They were such good company and we had so many super shared meals, drinks, trips and laughs. Pete and me had a very quiet day tidying and sorting then a sit around the pool reading the new book. Pete watched football then we had a message from Andy and Carol to say they were settled in at Castle View camping at Mystras.  Robin and Jill have got an apartment for 35 euros a night at Vilanidea  which they are happy with. They have also downloaded the Edward Enfield book ( Harry Enfield's dad )  ‘Greece on my wheels’ which both Andy and I had enjoyed reading and the perfect book for people travelling around the Peloponnese  even if you’re not doing it on a bike as he did.

Day 39 Gytheio

There seems to be a lot of dogs about- not just on the campsite but chained up at properties round about who like to bark in the night. After a swim and toast  we cycled left out of the site and turned down to Vathy off the main Areopoli road. On the way we saw the lead runner in a local marathon. We had coffee in a little place in Kamares after stopping at a Mani tower en route. We cycled to the end of the pebbly beach where a couple of Greek families were picnicking and swimming in the calm clear water. The far end- where we chose to swim  - was colder because clear springs come up under the water there.  We ate fresh melon and nectarines sitting on rocks all by ourselves- an odd feeling after having such lovely company. Pete wants to take the van there some time- it is on  websites as a stopping point- but the roads seem too narrow to do it. We stopped at a bakery open on the way back ( Sunday) and listened to locals chatting. It didn’t seem very far coming back but it had been a round trip of about fourteen miles. 

 Day 40 Gytheio

Pete went for an early swim and saw a sad sight- a large dead turtle on the beach. It was removed later on as there is a responsibility to monitor these amazing creatures. Usually there are nests on this beach but we didn’t see any this year.  We cycled into Gytheio to do banking and shopping treating ourselves to another coffee and people watch session. We cycled back up ‘Butcher’s Street’ and called into the bakery at the top of the hill for some of their delightful bread. It clouded over in the afternoon and I went to bed early as I’d got an aching back. We woke up at 5.30am and took the awning in as it had got very windy.

Day 41  Gytheio

We cleaned the matting and the awning. We heard from Andy and Carol who are now at Aginara after visiting Mystras and Olympia. Pete had a jump about in the waves. We went to Takis along the beach for our evening meal. Pete had mussels and they were so good. Takis gave us a cd of rock music he’d made for Pete

Day 42 Gytheio

Pete cycled into town and to the bakery. We had a sea swim and saw the wind change direction suddenly. I did some washing in the laundry ( four euros) and found out that the dead turtle had been collected by the Port Police for research.

Day 43 Karavostasi, Neo Itilo

Lots of Swiss vans arrived last night and just as we were ready to leave- they all left, so we waited a bit till they’d all gone. We refuelled at the Revoil garage just after the campsite on the right. We stopped in Areopoli at the café with the pink chairs on the square. We looked for a backgammon board for Joe without success. We got to Karavostasi  ( motorhome stop signposted from the main road) to find changes. Sophia and Nikos who have a caravan behind the camp field now have a driveway, the camp field is now a boatyard and there is a new gravelled parking area for motorhomes which is more level than the old field. It was a bit cool and cloudy so we decided we would cycle up to Kelefa castle, up above the bay. We’ve often looked at it and wanted to go but the road is too steep and narrow for the motorhome and it’s usually too hot to walk. We started off cycling but it soon became too steep so we used the throttle power on the bikes to help us push up the steepest bits. I didn’t believe it was possible for us to get up there but we did it. We scrambled around the castle. It was amazing up there- so glad we huffed and puffed up the hill. Pete walked along the walls. He found a cistern ( sterna) and took lots of photos. There were lots of olive trees growing within the walls and it was so undisturbed and fantastic to look around. The views from up there were amazing. Coming back down the hillside, Pete went really fast – I went very cautiously down and at times, got off and walked. 

my wonderful Powacycle Windsor got me up here!

We cycled along to Limeni at the far end of the bay and saw a British Swift Bolero that we’d seen in Gytheio the day before.There was nothing much open in Limeni so we  cycled back. We found the Bolero had parked next to us so we had a cup of tea and invited Michael and Barbara (from Lichfield) in for a chat and a gin and tonic. Pete and me went to O Faros fish tavern for a meal. We had lovely red mullet . It is always a little more expensive there than other places but we have a free night’s stay so it balances out. It started to rain on the short walk back.

Day 44 Agios Nikolas

It rained in the night but soon brightened up. We talked again to Michael and Barbara and then saw two fire trucks heading up a track above us. We passed four other fire vehicles and the fire Chief before we pulled into the car park on the front at Agios Nikolas. ….where we saw the Swift Bolero again! Barbara had a puncture and there was a bike shop there where  it could be mended. We bought lovely bread and honey and had a walk round but it felt odd- there was a coach trip of British people in and we could here English being spoken- most unusual. We drove along the coast road back towards Trahila  where we had tried to stay overnight years before but it had been full. This time there was only one van there so we parked up and had lunch. When it stopped raining, we cycled up hill and down dale to Trahila , stopping off at a cliff face with caves in it so Pete could scramble up and have a look inside.  

He thought it was amazing but it was high for me to climb. We got to Trahila- the end of the line- the road stops there. It was a pretty little village but as we had no water with us and there was nowhere open, we didn’t stay long. My bike battery gave out but lovely Pete swapped batteries with me for the last big hill and we got back with him using leg power. Pete went to lie on a sunbed on the deserted beach while I cooked pasta but we went to bed really early as we were tired.

Day 45 Koroni

It was really windy in the night and raining heavily. We woke early then went back to sleep and overslept! It was nine o clock and we’d planned to leave before then to get to Kalamata to collect Robin and Jill from the airport where they were leaving their hire car. We saw Mike and Barbara again on the road to Stoupa and they followed us to the Lidl in Kalamata. We did a quick shop then collectd Robin and Jill from the airport. They’d slept in the car the night before as it had rained heavily and everything of theirs was wet and muddy from the campsite. We got their bikes in the van easily and stopped off at Petalidi for cheese on toast and coffee. We went to Koroni campsite where we talked to Anna the owner and Robin and Jill got their tent up, did some washing, had showers and cups of tea so the world looked a bit better for them after their grim night. We went into Koroni and around the castle.    
We’d never seen it on a cool , quiet afternoon before. We bought cheese pies and ate them sitting on a bench watching the fish and sea creatures in the water below us. We walked back along the ‘new road’ which wasn’t there last time we visited.
  We had showers and gin and tonics before going to meet Paul. We found him outside Babis’ bakery and we bought some of Babis’ lovely cinnamon  biscuits and had a chat before going to the first cafenion on the front run by Takis. It only serves mezze, but what a mezze! A huge pile of cheese pies, meat, sausage, cheese balls, salad, chips etc appeared. We had a lively discussion, three carafes of wine and a lovely evening.  We went back to the quiet campsite where the only sound was an owl – right above us.

Day 46 Thines, Finikounda

I made breakfast for everyone while they packed up. We fed a beautiful little cat and her kitten. I ought to mention that the site at Koroni is still nice with a pool and shady pitches. The showers and loos are fine and the water was hot. Evening meals and breakfast is available at the  little pool bar. We put Robin and Jill’s luggage in the van as they were cycling to Finikounda. We talked to two young Australian cycle tourists who were cycling the Peloponnese before crossing to Italy. They envied Robin and Jill having a ‘back-up team’. We passed Robin and Jill cycling up the hill. 

We were welcomed back to Thines by Gerd and Ricki and Despina asked us to come and drink coffee with her. We had a good chat. We parked at the front of row 2 but had to move back a bit so we could put the awning out. However , the hammock fit nicely in front of the van. It was grey and windy so I made some lentil soup in time for Robin and Jill arriving. They got set up behind us and we had lunch behind the van out of the  wind. Jill and I had a walk along the beach. I cooked mushrooms in cream with garlic , feta and courgettes with kritheraki. We all had an early night. We told Robin and Jill to come in the van if it got wet in the night.

Day 47 Thines

We woke late to find Robin and Jill’s tent on it’s side drying and the bedding on the line. It had been wet in the night and it had seeped in to the tent. I made scrambled eggs and toast. We cycled into Finikounda for coffee and cake at To Gardenia before a supermarket stop. We spent quite a long time in the van out of the wind talking about family matters of concern. Gin and tonics helped a bit. We went to To Karavi as they advertised briam but  it wasn’t good and the gyros we had came without tsatsiki or pitta and we were charged extra for them. The service was poor too so we won’t be returning there this trip. I made the bed up in the van for Robin and Jill just in case it rained again.

Day 48 Thines

Rain again in the night. We cycled into Methoni . We had coffee in the café on the top road opposite the ‘everything’ shop then R and J went to look for souvenirs. I cycled back alone and caught up with internet and found a nice recipe for chick peas with cauliflower and spices.

Day 49 Thines

Robin and Jill got up in the dark to get the 7am bus into Pylos. The sun came out which felt great after the last few grey days. Robin and Jill got the 2pm bus back. We were on the beach having the first swim in days. I did pesto and pasta with a cheese and crisp crust with grilled peppers and Jill did  a big salad.  We ate inside as there was a brief thunderstorm.

Day 50 Thines

A brighter morning, but a small disaster for me. I wahooking a bungee to the door to stop it blowing shut but it flew back in my face cutting my top lip open and making another cut near. Pete asked at Reception and Voula got Yiannis from Lambas to pick me up in his taxi and take me to Pylos hospital. He waited while Pete took me in. A doctor and a nurse saw me straight away and I was taken into a surgery and stitched up. There was no charge as they said it was an emergency. 

Jill and Robin had washed up and washed my beach towels by the time we got back. We saw neighbour Gerd who said we should have taken his car. We didn’t really think to ask- we just wanted it sorted quickly. Robin paid 2.70 euros each to go to Pylos on the bus but the taxi was 40 euros return. We were still grateful to Yiannis who was very helpful.  Takis said that me and Pete now have matching moustaches!  A huge gust of wind lifted the awning so we took it in. It rained hard then and Jill’s washing got wet. We spent all afternoon in the van reading. At 5.30pm , Aris and Dimitirs arrived with a huge baklava that Dimitri had made- it was scrumptious, super sticky and oozing honey. Aris and Dimitiris are so kind and so funny and it was hard not to laugh …it hurt too much when I did. We went out to eat at To Palamidi. We had lovely courgette croquettes, saganaki, and tsatsiki , oven chicken, sardines and stifado. The food is always good there . 

Day 51.Thines

We got up early as we could hear Robin and Jill up and abut packing up their tent. I made breakfast then they left on loaded bicycles to cycle back to Kalamata. Pete went for a swim but I didn’t want to get the dressing on my face wet. I looked like one of the Simpsons with my lip all swollen up! We had a quiet day then Aris came to collect us to take us to eat at their caravan. We went in their cute Hobby van where Dimitris had set the table and all the little fairy lights made it look so lovely. He always cooks great food and this time was no exception. He made the little dough balls stuffed with cheese  with a dip of yogurt , dill and paprika. They were followed by a pork dish- Dimitris says the Italian  for it is ‘birds without wings’. The pork meat was rolled flat then rolled around dill, pine nuts and hard cheeses , secured with cocktail sticks and cooked in tomato sauce. It was delicious. A friend of theirs called Haris arrived to eat with us. We talked and talked……………..It was such a good evening and we learned so much from them about the area and Greece in general.  Aris took us back to the campsite .

Day 52. Thines

We cycled to Finikounda for coffee which I drank through a straw as it was easier. We went to the supermarket to replace a broken essential item- the fly swatter!  We had food leftover from last night ( Dimitris packed us a bag full of food to take home)  for lunch. It was warmer than it’s been for days so we had an afternoon on the beach. We ate at the campsite- Despina cooked beef stifado and her version has almost caramelized onions in. Voula brought us some portokalopitta ( a sort of orange flavoured custard pie) and we saw Mario who was back from his army service for a few days. 

Day 53 Thines

It was a sunny morning but felt damp. Problems with intermittent internet access made Pete cross. I was okay as the kindle works on 3G. We asked Aris and Dimitris to come over tonight. We had a beach afternoon and the sea is now back to a lovely clear blue after the grey days of the last week. After ouzos, we went to To Palamidi  for some good food and a good chat. Aris and Dimitris leave for Patras early tomorrow. Day 54 Thines We cycled to Methoni to go to the bank and a backgammon board. We had coffee and spinach pies in the street café. We bought vegetables from a little van and some more from the little greengrocer’s. It was hot so we went straight to the beach. Despina and her friend came too and Pete ( the gentleman)  went back to the van and made us all a cup of tea. We stayed late on the beach. I cooked a cauliflower with a wholegrain mustard sauce with parma ham.  We watched a tv programme on Youtube.   Day 55  ThinesI did lots of washing ( 3 euros but if you put the washing machine on a 30 minute fast wash, you get three washloads for three euros- thanks Marj for the tip!)  Pete popped into the village to get chicken which he cooked on the Cadac for Paul and me….and Jess the dog who came visiting too.  We managed to eat outside but when it got cool later , we went inside.  Jess is such a good dog and behaved beautifully despite being taunted by the campsite cats on the prowl. Day 56 Thines Another grey morning which soon turned stormy so once  more the awning went in. We had a lazy morning and a mostly lazy afternoon but we went for a walk along the wet beach. We walked to the end then came back along the road and back down a little lane that used to lead to a beach bar- now gone. Pete scrumped lemons and we went into camping Ammos to have a look around.  Yiannis from Thines had taken a speedboat out onto the sea. He was collecting the buoys.  We read for a while and watched another huge thunderstorm out at sea. The lightning, sheet and forked, lit up the sky in a spectacular display of nature’s forces.  We had  left- over chicken and salad for tea- not very inspiring. The rain hammered on the roof and it got really windy. I am not enjoying this October weather.

Day 57 Thines 

Pete listened to Radio 4 in bed and I got the ‘I want to go home’ feelings.  We went over the hill and round the church before going into Gardenia for coffee.  We walked around the village and most of the shops are now closed for the winter. I read a Kindle book about motorhoming, but I struggled to find the humour  in between the poor spelling and bad grammar- whatever happened to editing? It rained again and was generally a ‘blustery’ day with the sun sometimes shining and the sea sometimes a shimmering turquoise. 

Day 58 Thines 

There was a flat calm sea and lovely sunshine- how nice. I cleaned inside the van and had an email from Marquis motorhomes saying that Autotrail will replace the broken door fly screen under warranty. I went for a swim around 12 o clock intending to come back to the van but ended up staying on the beach coming abck only to make a beach picnic and get some beer! We went for a meal at Despina’s and enjoyed mousaka.  There are now twelve people left on the site . We sat and talked to Despina and Voula  for a while.

 Day 59 Thines 

My cut lip is healing now and doesn’t look too bad or hurt much. We took swimming things and cycled round to Loutsa then took the road back out as it was a dead end. We left the bikes and went looking for a path round to Turtle beach but ended up cycling up the main road again and going off down a track. I left my bike but Pete cycled down the track to a big house and left his bike there. I walked down the rough track and met up with Pete and scrambled over the rocks to Turtle beach. I got jelly legs climbing  down but was better after a swim on the lovely deserted beach.  We could have had a lovely swim at Loutsa but we had a sense of achievement getting to the beach we’ve seen every day but never been to.  After drying off we scrambled back up the hill and whizzed back to the site for a shower. It had been very hot and it felt so good to be warm that my blues were almost dispelled. My mum  managed to fix her computer and I was so proud of her.  We ate again at Despina’s then went to bed early tired out by the cycle and swim.
the Mani tower we've looked at for years from the beach at Finkounda

Turtle beach

Day 60 Thines 

Still feeling a bit down, I went to the beach where Pete brought lunch down. We went for an early evening cycle into the olive groves behind Finikounda. We took right forks in roads , followed the path of the river and going up a track partially covered in beautiful autumn cyclamen.  We went through the very peaceful groves  where we could hear little birds, bees , cicadas and the mewing of a buzzard overhead. It was wonderful. We went past a beautiful house then turned back as the sun dropped below the hillside. As we came back down the valley, we came back into the sunshine. Later we went to La Foca for a pizza. We had caesar salad and pizza - we were the only ones there. 

Day 61 Thines 

We swam for ages this morning. The people in the Austrian caravan gave us a brochure for their caravan site in Austria. It looks lovely.  Stocks are getting low in the cupboards but we’re planning to move on soon so we’ll stock up when we move. We said goodbye to Takis and Despina who were off for a few days to Patras . we had a cycle round to Loutsa via the hotel, now closed for winter.

Day 62 Thines 

Pete cycled to get bread as there was no-one around to open the little site shop. We stayed  a long time on the beach – Pete said we should be storing up the warmth and sunshine for the dark days of winter. We went to To Palamidi for a lovely meal of shrimp saganaki and Pete had a huge pork chop which the butcher brought to the restaurant and he stopped to have a chat with us.

Day 63 Thines

 Last day here. We packed most things away and cleaned the van . We went to To Gardenia to meet Paul and daughter Anna. We also met Rose and Alf who live above Finikounda though they also have a motorhome. We met some guests from North Norfolk who were staying at St Fridays and we all went to eat in To Steki. We had a lovely meal ( I had patso- smoked pork cooked with eggs, aubergine, chips, cheese…huge!) and a super evening with interesting company. It felt like we could have gone on talking all night! 

Day 64 Navarino Bay, Gialova 
lonely van 

We had ‘goodbyes’ from Dieter and Ursula, a kiss goodbye from Yiannis and off we went. We stopped in Pylos for shopping and bought lovely bread, baklava and spanakopita and sat in the square to eat it. We also saw Rose and Alf who we’d met last night! We decided to try camping Navarino Bay instead of Erodios where we’d planned to stay. We parked on pitch one next to the office and close to the loos but ti’s a lovely pitch overlooking the sea with fabulous views. There is a little bit of raod noise but a strong wifi connection. We had a swim in the shallow water. We set off cycling along to the lagoon after putting a bit of anti mozzie stuff on. We cycled to where there is a bird hide and we saw hen harriers, flamingos, egrets, herons plus four enormous cows in the field. We cycled to the end of the road where Pete went to look at the well but there were lots of mosquitoes about so we didn’t stay. But what a disaster- Pete got a puncture. He pumped it up in the hope of getting back but no such luck and of course we were soon mozzie bait. A Greek guy on a motorbike stopped to help  and told us about a garage that might help . We walked four kilometres  to the garage where at first it didn’t sound like they could fix it but the guy meant he couldn’t fix it today but to leave it and he would have it fixed tomorrow.    
We walked back to the camp but stopped at To Spitaki where we had ouzo and beer and a mezze which was a lovely plateful of olives, cheese, lountsa. Sausage. Fried patties, onion rings…
  It was so lovely sitting there watching the sunset we stayed for another drink and even though we were mozzie bitten and sweaty the sunset was magical accompanied by super music ( Van Morrison, Clapton, Knopfler)  We went back to the van and I cooked lavraki (fish) with courgettes and salad. Pete  put the awning in. 

Day 65 Gialova

A stray mozzie got me ( 16 bites!) ..something to do with Pete leaving a window open and without a fly screen….I wasn’t happy but a bacon sandwich made it better. I packed the saddlebags with a picnic and we walked along to the garage where the bike was fixed for five euros and the garage man had a cycle round on it..smiling. We cycled along a marked  cycle path along the back of the lagoon. It was very rough but worth it to see the herons, a apir of eagles or osprey ( couldn’t quite tell) and loads of little and big terrapins in the water filled ditches as we went along- magic.    
We got to a better track and got along much more quickly to the wonderful- almost circular- beach at Voidikalia. I lazed on the soft white sand while Pete went over the hill to Glossa beach where he found the Tholos tomb and the archeological site. He had a swim then we cycled back along the good bit of track then took a left up to the main road. It’s a fast narrow road but luckily there was hardly any traffic.  We had ouzo and olives on the beach before showering and heading along the beach to the little sea front. We went into To Spitaki where we had Cypriot dishes. We decided to stay here another night.

Navarino Bay campsite

 Day 66 Gialova 

There was no wind in the night and the sea was flat calm. I talked to a family on the beach, Germans living in London whose parents live here. They were renting the flat above reception so it was really convenient for the beach for the children.  We went shopping then toured the very neat site then took the chairs the ten steps onto the beach. Later I used and watched some tv. The clocks went back tonight.  

Day 67 Kalo Nero

We had a long lie in bed but it was still only 9am. We weren’t sure where we were going but we thought it might be a quiet day to travel. It was a beautiful day. We went to Marathopoli and parked up at the harbour. We went to the shops and cafes and found a bakery open where we got the best ever spanakopita. We went for coffee in a bustling café and we felt very under dressed in flip flops and summer clothes when locals were wearing leather jackets, boots and cardigans like it was winter…but it was hot. We went into a mini market and got lettuce- very important.  We waited till we parked up in Agrili  to eat the pies. We parked by the church and sat on a cement block eating and watching a group of people who had caught a fish with a trident. We walked along the beach to the almost derelict fantasy castle built by George Fournier. It’s very weird with strange figures and a massive Poseidon’s horse- all crumbling and decrepit. There was a little dog on the second floor and a motor scooter outside  so it appeared to have someone living there.  

We went back to the van then on to Kyparissia where we pulled in and looked at the map to find somewhere to stay but we pulled into Kalo Nero along the right hand end of the beach and Pete had a swim. We walked along the busy seafront where the restaurants were full of families having a Sunday meal. When we got to the other end of the village we saw eight vans parked there so we moved the van next to them. We found a lovely spot and parked nose on to the sea and watched a lovely sunset.

 It got cold and windy and we walked along to a restaurant advertising live music. We had a huge salad followed by mixed meats in sauce and  fried chicken. It was very nice. The owner was very attentive  to all the guests and there were some interesting people there. The band started and they were quite good . When we asked for the bill I told the owner that she looked like my friend…..she asked if my friend lives in Kyparissia and she was surprised when I said that  my friend lives in England. She offered us a drink and some chocolate cake appeared before we left. We could hear the waves breaking on the shore and they sent us off to sleep. 

Day 68 Camping Paradise Palouki

It was another beautiful sunny day so we had breakfast outside and watching some gypsy children playing in the sea. We drove down to Lidl but we’d  forgotten that today is a national holiday and the shops were shut. We drove on to Giannitsohori  to have a look at staying there. We went down to the sea where it’s possible to overnight but it didn’t look very inviting. We drove to Zaharo and parked by the church and went into a very busy bakery to get fresh bread. We’d obviously just missed a parade and celebrations as every café was packed full. We had a walk around and decided to head for Camping Palouki though I had not had a reply to an email I’d sent them. The campsite was shut. We drove down to the harbour where a caravan was parked so we thought we’d try Camping Paradise. There was no-one about and the office was closed. There was Swiss lady outside her van and she said that the site was open. We parked up overlooking the beach in a grassy corner. The electricity was on and I went to check out the loos……oh my….but I thought we’d manage well with our own facilities. I walked into the camping field where the grass was high and the toilets and showers were dreadful. The whole place looks like it’s been uncared for and forgotten about but there are three other vans here and a tent. The carner we are in is lovely. Pete found showers and a washing up place behind the loos I’d first seen. Pete had a wander along the lane and along the beach. 

I had a shower at five o clock  as there were no light bulbs in the lights and curiously, the water was lovely and hot.  We went for a walk along the beach together and back in the campsite but there was still no sign of anyone. I made pasta and read and we had the same lovely sound of the waves outside.  

Day 69  Aginara 

It was damp outside when we got up but it soon got warm. We went to reception to pay but no-one was around. I walked around the building where there were two cars but not one person around.  So unable to pay- we left. We went to Amaliada and did the illegal U turn  that gets you into Lidl. The shop was busy but we got all we needed and were soon ‘home’ in Aginara camp site at Glyfa. We parked in the ‘hot spot’ because we wanted heat not shade. We went to the beach and settled down. Angeliki said that the site had been busy with eighty German friends and family celebrating a 50th and a 60th birthday. We went to the restaurant to eat at 7.30 pm and we were the last to eat there. We had salad and tsatziki and rabbit stifado.

 Day 70 AginaraWe found a crack in the van step so contacted Marquis to get it sorted when we get back. I went to the beach for the flattest swim ever…fabulous….except for the jelly fish that decided to ‘tickle’ my leg. We stayed on the beach till 4.30pm . Pete went to Arkoudi  for tomatoes and cucumber. I packed the van then we went to eat again at the restaurant. 

Day 71 Boat to Ancona

 It took an hour and thirty minutes to get to Patras  where we met Aris and Dimitris. They came in the van and we went to Monodendri and stopped for coffee. We had a good chat then went for diesel, dropped Aris and Dimitris back at their car then went to the port. It was the usual ‘Wacky races’ start with everyone vying to get onto the boat. We were two spaces away from a window but as usual it’s pot luck where you get put. There was a bit of an altercation when a young man in a very expensive motorhome towing a jeep wouldn’t listen to the Greek telling him where to park. We had a walk around watching the sun sinking into the sea marking the end of our Greek stay.  Pete went to get a gyros plate which we had with salad. We read until we’d  pulled into Igoumenitsa then we slept. 

Day 72 Coldrerio

It was a quiet night. Pete had words with a lady smoking under the ‘no smoking’ sign, then another woman watched her dog make a mess and didn’t clear it up. We docked at 5.40 Greek time ( 4.40) and got off easily and drove up quiet roads. I was worried that the roads would be busy because it’s Friday night but I needn’t have worried. It didn’t seem long till we were almost at the turn for Fontenellato but we stopped at the services just before Parma for an omelette.  We felt refreshed so decided to carry  on and not stay at Soragna as planned. We’d planned to go for pizza but it would have been a bit late to eat when we got there. We headed for Coldrerio where we arrived at just gone 12. It started  to rain- well we were in Switzerland. 

Day 73 Kaysersberg 

We went into the immaculate toilets and shop and set off at 8.15 am though Pete had trouble deciding what time it really was. The sat nav stuck on a ‘path setting’ screen and refused to work but came back on about half an hour later. Switzerland was sunny  and we drove up  the French side of the Rhine A35 to Colmar. We went to the E Leclerc on the road to Briesach . We got a new frying pan and stocked up on French goodies. The aire at Kayserberg was busy. Pete had prawns for tea then it started to rain heavily. 

Day 74 Remich

Round here looks very different now with grapes picked and vines turning yellow and trees changing colour. Pete joked about the bakery being open on a Sunday in Fraise but it was ! Joy! I jumped out and got six ham cheese baguettes- some to freeze. We had a music cd on and we were tootling along quiet roads until we stopped for coffee just before Nancy.  We headed up to Remich where we arrived at 1.45pm. We parked up in the sunny lay by and had a walk into Remich and up the hill to check out the shops and garage prices. There were lots of  people walking along the riverbank and back at the van, we watched swans and barges on the river. It’s a good spot. 

Day 75 Dover

It was raining when we got up. We drove into Remich ( public toilets are on the right before the car parks) and went to a bakery. We went shopping then drove up to the Total garage for cheap coffee. We also went to the Cactus supermarket for gin, port , amaretto and Cointreau.  We stopped around 11am  in the Aire de Nantiment for coffee and the last bit of Marmite on new bread. We ploughed through dreadful rain and rough roads till we got to Waterloo at 2pm. It’s a fairly boring drive and not as nice as our usual cross country route. We went off at Junction 16 and went into the Leclerc for shopping and diesel. There’s a Lidl there too. We went to the port where we had planned to stay overnight but popped into the ticket office where the lady said if we were ready to go, the gate was closing in five minutes  and we could get on that boat.  We scurried back to the van and got the six o clock boat and even in a force seven gale, it was fine. We were off the boat by 7.15pm and parked on Marine Parade soon after. The fish and chip shop was shut so we went into Wetherspoons for a drink.

Day 76 Home

Howling winds rocked the van in the night and we woke early. We left Dover at 7.30am and left Bishop’s Stortford services at 10am. We’d had yet another fabulous time and met some more lovely people……..and that’s it  for channel hopping till next year.     

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