IT Stress and Van Repairs…. .

I had a bit of IT stress last week.  Well, not strictly IT stress but more of an ‘aaarrrrggghhhh’ moment which then turned into IT stress.  More on that in a minute.  We travelled east from Metéora towards Thessaloniki but made a pit stop at an aire in Vergina to break the journey.  Vergina is the site of Greece’s most important archaeological discovery in the 20th Century which is all very interesting but that’s not what I’m going to tell you about.  If you are interested you can look it up here.  As I’ve said before I try to keep this blog simple and I am in no way shape or form a history buff so if it’s a long winded story then I have decided I’m not going to write about it.  So there!

So, being the heathen that I am, instead of visiting the museum at Vergina (which is said to be excellent) and it being a beautiful sunny day, with not a cloud in the sky, I decided to go out for a walk.  I picked out a route which I thought would take me to some ruins but to my surprise, after an hour and a half, I arrived at a fully restored Monastery nestled in a valley.  It was closed but I did wave to a very startled nun working away at a desk in one of the rooms at the back.  The only access to it must be via a very bumpy track in a 4WD.

The piece de resistance of the walk though was coming almost face to face with a wild boar.  It was but twenty or thirty metres away in a clearing snuffling around as, I presume, boars do.  It hadn’t seen me so I spent a few minutes taking some photos and just enjoying the moment.  Once I started to retreat I startled it and it ran off.  Fortunately in the opposite direction.

I got back to the van buzzing.  I put the SD card into the laptop to show Tim my sighting whilst grinning from ear to ear.  He gave me back the laptop and I deleted the photos from the SD card.  Aaaarrrrgggghhhh nnnooooooo.  A split second after I’d pressed the delete button I realised my mistake.  I hadn’t saved them.  Oooh how cross was I?  I mean, you know, it wasn’t the end of the world or anything and nobody had died but I was crushed.  That’s where the IT stress came in.  Seeing my face Tim calmly removed the laptop from my grasp and set about trying to retrieve the photos.  He worked on it for hours.  Hours and hours, I tell you.  After numerous downloads of recovery apps which promised the earth but delivered nothing he had to admit defeat but had managed to retrieve two photos.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

And here they are…….

All Saints Monastery, in the middle of nowhere, near Vergina.
Yay, the one photo of the wild boar Tim managed to recover.

Anyway, I soon got over the disappointment with the help of a packet of chocolate digestives and a pint of tea.

As well as IT/photo woes we’ve had van woes.  When I changed the bedding the last time I noticed that the bottom of the mattress was wet and the likely culprit for a leak was the window above.  The kitchen window was leaking too on occasion depending on whether the van is facing into the wind or not.  A camper stop then at a caravan dealership outside Thessaloniki beckoned.  Tim emailed them and Alexandre replied saying ‘bring your van tomorrow and we sort all your problems’.

We arrived the following morning to a friendly welcome and they got to work straight away.  We also asked them to replace all the LED strip lighting as they were all flickering which can be migraine inducing for Tim.  In for a penny in for a pound we also asked them to look at the ailing shower tray.  Yep, they could do that too.  It did cross my mind as to whether they could retrieve my deleted photos as well but thought that may be pushing it. Whilst they worked on the van we took the bus into Thessaloniki.

Ollie, quite literally under the knife.

It was a sixteen kilometre, two bus journey which cost €1.20 each.  Absolute bargain.  Thessaloniki is the second city and second port founded in 315 BC.  We weren’t expecting to enjoy our meanderings as much as we did.  It has a pleasant waterfront promenade, Byzantine churches by the bucket load, interesting street art, pleasant squares, parks, numerous museums, several markets and a Marks and Spencer.  Tim was hoping for the purchase of a pork pie in the M&S food hall but alas only non perishables were on sale.  We only scratched the surface of what Thessaloniki has to offer and you could spend a week there but a day was enough for us.

The White Tower, built in the late 15th Century.
The colourful Ladadika area.
One of the traditional markets.
Agia Sofia Church built in the mid 7th Century.
The Arch of Galerius built 295 – 305 AD.
I love the artwork on the side of blocks of flats.  It seems to be popular everywhere.
The statue of Alexander the Great on horseback.

Back at Zampetas the van was finished so we spent the following day giving it a good clean.  It needed it!

Everything was out for a good clean.

Leaving Theassoniki we took the A24 which took us across a long ribbon of scrubby scrubbyness which was interspersed with petrol stations, light industry (both thriving and derelict), unfinished building projects, farmland and a fair dose of roadside rubbish towards the Halikidiki (Chalkidiki) peninsulas.  Getting closer to the Kassándra peninsula the land opened up into small single story orange roofed dwellings surrounded by crops and olive trees.  Much more agreeable.

We’ve spent the last six days here pootling about the coastline.  Pretty much everything is closed in the smaller coves but one or two tavernas were open in Nikiti and Marmaras.

Nikiti on the Sithonia peninsular.
A walk from Nikiti – we could have been on the South Devon coast near Dawlish, UK!

We’ve had a mix of weather with clear sunny days, perfect for strolling along the shorelines, to blustery windy days giving everything a bleak feel and reminding us of parts of the Cornish coast.

Sunrise over Porto Koufo.
Our parking spot at Porto Koufo.
Kandilakia (Καντηλάκια), wayside shrine.  
Parked up at Kalamitsi – can you spot us near the far end of the beach?
View towards Mount Athos.

It’s a completely different experience to what we had in Spain and Portugal this time last year.  We’ve only seen one other van (Bulgarian), hardly any people and we’ve been able to park up with no problems right by the sea every night.

Anyway, as it is Tim’s birthday today I ordered this sunrise especially for him 🙂

Happy Birthday Tim!

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