Athens & The North

Well, it’s been another packed week and a bit in Greece, we really could have done with 9 or 10 extra days!

After Corinth we spent a very quick day and a half in Athens and packed in as many sights we could manage, loving the free student entry in Greece! We also managed to spend some time in down town Athens which we didn’t get to see last time… more importantly… we finally got our first souvlakis in!

Temple of Zeus & the Acropolis

Sunny Athens

Looks like some of the locals aren't in to Alina's art...

From Athens we went to the island of Evia, home to more mountains, crazy beaches, lots of death roads and even a few km of off roading for old reliable Rusticus.

Still not bored of these sunsets

Gulp!

The next day we did the first of a couple crazy zig-zags across the mainland and headed towards Delphi, staying the night next to the sea at a little town called Kirra.

Temple of Apollo

Athenian Treasury

We hit Delphi the day after, before cruising on towards Volos and some of the best beaches we’ve seen since the Peloponese, including a little village called Damouchari that was used in Mamma Mia**! Cathy was most impressed!

Rusticus in an action movie...

Cathy doing some research

Damouchari

Trev on a Greek snow patch

From Volos we had yet another crazy journey all the way to Thessaloniki particularly as we were trying to avoid the extortionate Greek motorway tolls! We arrived in Thes’ on Good Friday just in time to witness loads of candlelit processions taking place.

Thessaloniki

Rather than face into another serious journey on Easter Sunday we decided to leave Thes’ a bit early and make some progress towards Kalakamba. We stumbled across Veria, a little town and managed to take part in some of the craziest Easter celebrations ever. There was soldiers, a marching band, fireworks, yes fireworks, and of course some orthodox priests.

After all that excitement we spent the following day hiking around the crazy hilltop monasteries at Meteora, meanwhile the Greeks had cranked out the BBQs and the lambs were on the spit!

Meteora

The following day we started to make our way north and then it happened….

🙁

Yes…..it happened….it might have been the death roads it might have been the dirt tracks, it might just be fate but all of a sudden we were stuck in a strange little village home to a dog with reverse erectile disfunction and a helpful if a bit strange guy and his many friends. After one failed rescue attempt (lorry too small for Rusticus) we accepted that we were staying the night.

The day after with some help from Yorgos we managed to get hold of a tow service and spent the whole day waiting in the garage while the mechanic did laps of the carpark in Old Rusty and the bill ticked up. Finally, after overnighting behind the garage with a significantly lighter wallet we were back on the road HOORAY! Unfortunately for Old Rusty she’s got some work to do before she regains the title of Rusticus Maximus!

Next up Albania!!

** p.s. sorry to anyone who we’ve ever told Mamma Mia was filmed in Santorini it was filmed on an island near Volos oops lol!

Peloponnesus

To say Greece started with a bang would be an understatement. We arrived off our 18hr ferry ride in the afternoon having made friends with a travelling German artist to whom we offered a lift to her hotel and ended up having dinner and drinks, a kind of mini van party.

Sehr Gut

The following day we had a quick explore of Patras before being shown the nightlife by Nicos and Laura. Thanks guys we had a great night! The day after that we were treated to a Greek feast by the Askounis clan and had a free reign of the baby pics haha Yorgos!

The famous steps of Patras haha!

Indeed!

So we left Patras on Sunday night suitably impressed by the seaside scenery and lively nightlife, still slightly hungover, stuffed and armed with cheese pie, oil, wine and the obligatory bag of lemons! Talk about a welcome to Greece!

Lucky I guess because we had a packed itinerary dreamt up by the subject of said baby pics so we had a lot of ground to cover. Heading south along the west coast of the Peloponnese mission 1 was to score some Greek waves but not before visiting Ancient Olympia. We parked up for the first night by Voidokilia, an amazing horseshoe beach that set the tone for the whole week, amazing landscapes, parking spots right on the water etc etc the pictures speak for themselves.

The perfect spot next to...

the perfect beach...

Greek waves!

Setting a PB at Olympia

The following day we went to check out Methoni and the waterfalls at Polilimnio before ending up at Kardamyli on the Mani peninsula for another sickeningly awesome sunset… at this stage we were already getting stressed about having to leave haha.

Methoni

Polilimnio

Creepy caves of Diros

Making our way round we visited the Caves of Diros – kind of spookily pretty, unfortunately hardly any pics as the boat kept moving too fast – and on to Monemvasia, a tiny island with an ‘impenetrable’ castle sat on top, very impressive.

Sunrise at Monemvasia (a rare early start)

Next up was Mystras, another crazy Byzantine castle. These guys really liked to make their enemies climb…that night we stayed in Nafplio, a pretty big seaside town with a collection of forts.

Mystras

Nafplio looking good

After a bit of a lazy start we headed south to get the boat to Hydra, playground of the rich and famous and apparently a lot of expat Brits and Americans at this time of year lol! Unfortunately got caught out by the boats finishing early out of season but we managed a stroll around and a very nice lunch and had a chilled out evening in Ermoni instead.

Hydra

Ermoni

The final stop on the peninsula before we headed for Athens was Corinth… i.e. the place from Corinthians and the inventors of the Corinthian capital (boring architecture reference!) which has some cool ruins but a far better museum.

Corinth

So far so amazing for Greece… our only wish is that we had more time and our only issue is that all the Greek accents are making us miss our friends in London!