Saturday 23rd November – Delphi

After breakfast we drove to the ancient site of Delphi. Dogs are not allowed so we left Scruffy in the van, in the shade. 

Delphi was at its height between 600 to 400BC, when multitude of pilgrims came to consult the Oracle. It was finally abolished in the 4th century AD qby the Byzantine emperor. So 1000 years of oracle! Not bad. What impressed me the most was at the top of the site, a full size stadium, one of the best preserved I have ever seen. In Plovdiv the stadium was just a mere edge of the far side arena, to compare. In Delphi, It is about 200 m long and wide enough, apparently, for 18 runners. 

After that we picked up the dog and walked to the museum nearby. We took turns to visit it, while one of us kept the dog. The museum had some beautiful artefacts and statues. 

Then after buying a couple of beers, some bread and some peanuts at a rip off price, in the only shop in the village ( no price on anything, obviously!) we went back to camp. No wonder I like to shop in supermarkets! 

The evening was very cold. 

Sunday 24th November – camping Ionian beach, south of Patras

We left Delphi mid morning. I selected the only campsite in that region that was open and also had both a washing machine and a dryer. I had been on the look out for laundry facilities for some time. It was getting urgent. Clothes are not too much of a problem as we can wash few by hand a dry here and there in the van. However, with the weather being very wet, the cotton bedsheets will never dry without a dryer and we don’t have any spares. Maybe next time I will pack some.

To get to the peninsula of the Peloponnese we took the bridge. Very nice but very expensive. I think on the way back we will take the ferry! 

We arrived at the campsite mid afternoon. The place was deserted. The reception had  a bell but no one came. There was a campervan parked in a plot, so we parked next to  it. The other pitches around had big branches on the ground. We saw while driving through the fields, that after picking the olives, the olive trees are now being trimmed for the winter. 

Our next door neighbour, a retired british man, came to say hello. He had rented out his house and bought his camper 3 and 1/2 years earlier, when his wife died, and had been on the road all around Europe since.  He loved it. As the rain came again we went back to our respective vans. We hoped to find someone managing the campsite at some point, as we needed special coins to use the machines in the laundry room. 

As another storm came we had dinner and played a round of Splendor ( I won!). 

Monday 25th November, camping Ionian beach, south of Patras

There was a massive storm overnight. I did not hear a thing and only found out when we saw John, our British neighbour, in the morning. 

Finally the campsite manager was around for a couple of hours in the morning. I bought 3 coins and put two washing machines on! Alistair found a sheltered area where we could hang clothes to dry away from the rain. The morning was actually sunny and warm, so I got the chairs out for lunch. 

After lunch we started hearing a thunderstorm. A big one was coming but it was still sunny. I went to have a shower and then went to pick up all our clothes. As I just finished, massive bits of ice started to fall! I ran back to the van. Once inside it sounded like quite a battering on the roof. Unfortunately the weather does not look like improving any time soon. 

Alistair booked the ferry from Igoumenitsa to Brindisi for the 5th of December. We plan to spend some time in Sicily, hoping for better weather. Grimaldi ferries have special cabins to take pets. Originally we were thinking to stay in the van, but this is not permitted in the winter, so we have to take a cabin. 

Scruffy found himself under siege, surrounded by a good 8 or 10 cats in our camping spot! He cowered in his bed. He had his revenge a bit later when there were only few hanging around. He ran after them barking! He was so happy to chase them away.

Tuesday 26th November – wild camp near a beach in Kakovatos

We packed up and drove the Ancient Olympia. The ancient Olympic Games took place there for about 1000 years until a Byzantine emperor abolished them in the 4th century. This is also where the Olympic flame is lit up in the modern games. Following several earthquakes not much remain standing but it is still an interesting sight. The place was mobbed. Massive coaches bringing hordes of tourists. Once again, most probably cruise ships stopping near Athens. 

After that, we drove the coast, where I had spotted a nice spot for wild camping, in Park4night. 

As usual the GPS, trying to be clever, made us leave the main nice road and took us through a single lane road / track! I used to ensure we came back to the normal road and not another GPS “shortcut”! 

Once in the village near our stop we drove through and stopped in front of the sea. There were few young men, very obviously Albanians ( the dress sense is unmistakable!). We turned back and picked  a slam lane that took us fe hundreds meters away form the village into a big parking. There were two campervans already there. Soon another one joined us. Other than the campers, the place was deserted. Just in front of the sea, with a superb view of the sunset, it was a great spot. 

One the campers ( germans) had two big dogs. One of the two dogs got into a fight with Scruffy and Scruffy came out worse, bleeding profusely from one ear! Alistair managed to separate them. Scruffy was all trembling and pathetic. We cleaned the small superficial wound and sprayed some antiseptic. There are so many street dogs around, it is always a concern that he might get attacked. They can be aggressive. But the owner of the dog who attacked Scruffy should have kept her dog on a lead if he is aggressive! No apologies either! 

After all that, as the weather was actually sunny for a change, we got the chairs out for a cup of tea. We did not stay long as we were surrounded by mosquitoes! With nightfall we went indoors. We had planned to eat at the local taverna which had good reviews, but with so many mosquitoes it was not appealing. And with the dog we would need to sit outside. So we passed on dining out for this time. Frozen paella from Lidl instead! With toasts.