It’s 37 years since I was last on the Greek mainland, and was intrigued to see what it was like now, with the economic problems the country currently has, and if different from Crete, I do know from recent experience.
Well, I need not have worried. Greece is still quite definitely Greece! The friendly nature and laid back attitude still very much in evidence. Yes, there are many signs of problems; abandoned building projects, closed businesses and civic facilities not being maintained.
But generally, things are, on the surface, in good nick; villages are busy with routine business, the roads are mostly very good and tourist sites open (and still charging the traditionally low entry fees).
All in all, it’s great to be back in Greece!
There’s no getting away from it, for the past week or so the beaches have definitely won! Who can resist them? White sand, warm sun, distant islands and ever changing light.
Bobby and I thought this beach (also at the top of the page) would do for a couple of nights; only 20 minutes from the ferry port at Igoumenitsa and just 1 other person on site.
Then down the Ionian coast towards Parga and the Peloponnese. There was the odd beach enroute!
At has to be said that litter can be a problem in Greece too. You can just see some behind Bobby. Some places are almost spotless, others unfortunately a mess.
This new motorway, a little north of the Parga bridge, is beautifully made and the toilets immaculate.
However, this tarmac mountain road suddenly decided to become, without warning, a very rough dirt track. It keeps you awake. The hands were too busy to photograph a few other more extreme examples!
At this time of year the road over the northern Peloponnese mountains is beautiful. High peaks, some still snow covered, and green valleys.
This route took me past Ancient Olympia. Unfortunately, dogs were not allowed in the main site, and it was too hot for him in the van. The alternative was to walk a short way up a rise overlooking Olympia to view, particularly the main stadium, from exactly the same place that, in Roman times, the women and slaves were allowed to watch the games. A privilege – for me, I thought.
The first Olympic start line and entrance tunnel,
the judges enclosure,
and the Training School. All certainly worth seeing and from an authentic viewing position – even better. Bobby found the equally authentic river a few minutes later for a cool down!
And here we are, parked almost on the beach opposite the small port of Pylos, at the southern end of the Peloponnese. It’s too nice to move too quickly having read the book of how to become a beach bum in 3 easy days!
Today, after a pre-breakfast swim (though the water’s not very warm, the night was), Bobby & I went for a good walk up the nearby headland.
Here, there are the remains of the Castle of Navarino. Signs warn it is unsafe, so too much exploring was not sensible.
With vegetation, so colourful now, taking over.
Now beach bum time is over, and it’s up the eastern coast to visit places like Kalamata, Sparta, Mystras, Mycenae and maybe Epidavros. That should fill the week till the ferry leaves for Crete!