After enjoying an extended ten day stop at ancient Corinth where we spent the time chatting to neighbours, cleaning the van inside and out, chatting to neighbours, on line learning, chatting to neighbours, a few bike rides, chatting to neighbours and walking up to Acrocorinth and back several times we hit the road again heading back to Nafplio.
The main reason we had decided to go back to the Camperstop, apart from a bit of a recharge, regroup and a relax, was that Tim was waiting for a parcel to be delivered to the Post Office in Nafplio. Back in Nafplio, we waited. And waited. And waited. We weren’t idle whilst waiting as we always find plenty to do.
The tracking history for the parcel showed it was getting closer and closer but not close enough. It spent three days in Argos which, on closer inspection of the map, we realised was only ten kilometres away. Long story short, after several emails and phone calls we arranged to pick it up in Argos. We arrived in Argos and parked up on a busy street outside the town. Tim went off in search of the delivery depot whilst I stayed in the van in case I had to move it. He relayed to me later that, unable to find the place, he asked at a local garage for some directions. After the owners daughter had done her best to translate the directions Tim obviously must have still looked puzzled as the owner called over one of his young employees and said ‘he take you’. Oh, how I wish I’d seen Tim’s face when the young lad nodded to him to clamber onto the back of his moped. Now, for those of you who know Tim you will know that he is Mr Health and Safety personified. He won’t even use an electric toothbrush without risk assessing it first. He just does not do any kind of motorised two wheel transport. I had a moped for over ten years to zip back and forth to work on and he never once got on it. So there he was careening round the streets of Argos in a pair of shorts not wearing a crash helmet on a genetically modified moped driven by a multi tasking teenager who had one eye on the road and the other on his mobile phone. All I can say is he badly wanted that parcel. You never know, if you get to the end of this blog post I might even tell you what it was.
In all it took two weeks from order to delivery (or not quite delivery). Curiously, the ACSI card my mum kindly sent to the Nafplio Post Office arrived in a few days. Finally, then, we left Nafplio for good taking the coast road on the next ‘finger’ of the Peloponnese. Under a cloudless sky we chugged up and down the coastal road giving us glimpses of little fishing coves all set against a back drop of the Parnon mountain range.
We arrived in Leonidio and immediately loved it. The town nestles in the shadow of a huge red rock at the end of the Dafnon Gorge and the area is popular with sports climbers who have a choice of over a thousand different routes. It truly is a very beautiful area and we have been waylaid here for the past five days.
It has to be the cleanest town we have been to in Greece. I haven’t mentioned it before on the blog but we’ve been really saddened to see a huge amount of rubbish, particularly plastic and building rubble, strewn all over Greece. I’m not having a go at Greece as every country has its fair share of waste issues but we’ve found it particularly prevalent here. There are plenty of large industrial type bins around but many have no lids, are over flowing or just aren’t emptied or used. Here in Leonidio, though, they seem to be taking a real interest in keeping their town and environment clean and recycling what they can. I hope that this rolls out to the rest of Greece and sooner rather than later.
We could spend a couple of weeks here just exploring by foot or by bike. We spent a couple of nights parked up on the edge of the town but on Monday morning we were woken up at 6.30am to find ourselves surrounded by the local fruit and veg market. Ooops. They were very kind and had left us a gap to get out so we decamped and drove down the valley to the harbour at Plaka four kilometres away to have some breakfast. We found out that the campsite behind the beach is open so we’ve decided to base ourselves here and stay for a few days.
I’ve been out on the bike whilst Tim has been fettling his new toy.
Obviously with the mountains it’s extremely hilly but the effort is so worth it as the scenery is absolutely magnificent.
Sixteen kilometres north of Leonidio, the Monastery of Panagia Elona, built into a cleft in the rock six hundred and fifty metres above the river bed is quite a sight even after experiencing Metéora last year.
It must be quite a popular pilgrimage site as stalls are set up outside the gate selling local produce like honey and olives. I was the only visitor and was greeted by a monk who showed me around the little chapel.
Anyway, enough of that let’s get back to Tim’s new toy. Since embarking on our trip around Europe Tim hasn’t had the opportunity to play his clarinet or saxophone as much as he would have liked and he has missed playing in a band. In a bid to kill two birds with one stone he has decided that he is going to take up the life of a ‘street entertainer extraordinaire’ (aka ‘a busker’). In order to do that he needed some amplification. And that is what was in the parcel we were waiting for, a battery powered amp. He had his inaugural gig yesterday on the harbour front and was invited over to the taverna to knock out a few tunes on their sun terrace.
Today he whiled away another hour or so playing on the harbour and was thanked by the lady in the shop who said she enjoyed the music. All in all, it’s a win-win then. Tim gets to play and people enjoy it. You never know it could become a good side hustle to keep him in beer money.
Before I go I must tell you about the campsite cats. When we arrived we were greeted by a few cats that were sniffing about. Obviously being such a soft touch I brought out a bag of food I have (it’s actually dog food for the numerous needy stray dogs we see) but before the food hit the floor another ten cats appeared. I fed them again this morning and we are now prisoners in our van. We are completely surrounded. Most of the cats in Greece are pretty aloof but these ones know how to manipulate. They have taken to lounging on our chairs, table and bike rack and try to get in the van at every opportunity. Cooking outside is a nightmare and you can’t go to the washing up area without at least two kittens hanging off your trouser legs.
I don’t think our neighbours are too happy with me encouraging them as they keep spraying them with water to keep them away from their van. I thought I was going to have to go out tonight after dark to feed them but another van has just turned up and the first thing the lady did even before getting their van into position was feed the cats. Phew, that’s good, the heats off me now. Oh, how we’ll laugh as they become prisoners in their van tomorrow!