Well, it was bound to happen at some point on our gallivant around Greece. An extended period of rain has grounded us. Meh. We can’t really complain as we’ve been in the country since the second week of November and any rain we have seen has generally been overnight, just for one or two days, or dried up pretty quickly. So what better time to update the blog then. I’m sitting in bed at four o’clock in the afternoon looking out at the rain streaked windows on the windswept harbour at Katakolo whilst writing this. If it wasn’t for the blog I might be climbing the walls.
Fortunately, the deluge held off until we’d spent an enjoyable few days mooching about in Kóroni and Methóni situated towards the end of the fourth and final finger of our Peloponnese clockwise tour. The two were both key Venetian ports in their former lives surveying the shipping lanes between the Adriatic and Crete. First up, then, was Kóroni. We parked beyond the town and walked the two kilometres along the beach and climbed up the steep hill to take a look at the remains of the castle walls.
The Timíou Prodrómou convent occupies the area within the walls and visitors are welcome to take a stroll around the grounds. An eclectic mix of wrap around garments at the entrance provides suitable respectful cover for those unsuitably dressed. Tim chose to stay outside.
All the buildings are beautifully kept and surrounded by extensive gardens with a few chickens and sheep foraging about.
The views over the rooftops of the town from the top of a completely unfenced crumbling building with sheer drops of ten metres off any of the sides were superb. Curiously, it was fenced all the way up the forty or so steps but then at the top………..nothing. The nuns had made sure they’d covered themselves against any litigation, though, with a sign saying ‘enter at your own risk’. If I’d had children with me I’d have wanted them on a very short lead.
The town below with its narrow streets and colourful buildings had a lovely feel to it and despite its obvious popularity as one of ‘the’ places to visit on the Peloponnese hasn’t succumbed to the more usual tat shop tourist scene.
Methóni, on the other side of the pointy bit of the peninsular, was our next stop. After our first night in Methóni we realised that the campsite was open. It didn’t look open as the gate was across and it looked a bit unloved and run down but open it was. It was rough and ready but the owner was only charging €10 a night with electric, hot showers and use of the washing machine for free which was more than fair. Shame it was broken though.
We were too late to visit the castle on the day we arrived as all the historic sites close at three o’clock in the winter so Tim decided it was high time he gave his new busking venture a go. Whilst he entertained a small number of people sitting inside the few cafes and restaurants in the town plaza I kept a low profile and had a mooch around the beach and town. I can’t watch. I’m like a tense nervous parent watching their offspring at the Christmas Nativity play.
Apparently all went well and he wasn’t asked to leave so he gave it another crack the next day. Alas, it was a little bit breezy and a gust blew over his music stand which then knocked his clarinet onto the floor. So that was the end of that. It wouldn’t play and now needs repairing. It’s a cruel world the life of a busker.
To cheer him up we had a walk around the castle. It hardly seems worth charging an entrance fee at €1 each at this time of year. A couple of men sitting in the plastic porta cabin just beyond the entrance took our money though and gave us a shiny printed admission ticket. Surely they can’t be paid to do that? Surely not? We were the only ones there. They must get a handful of visitors at this time of year. Maybe they were volunteers. Still, at €1 it was a steal and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit made even more interesting by the rough (for Greece) seas. We spent a happy half an hour watching the waves crash over the rocks.
The following day seeing as it was a Saturday and lots of people were around Tim braved the busking again. This time with his back up clarinet. Oh yes, he’s prepared is our Tim. He has a spare. Off he went whilst I read my book. I met up with him after an hour and found him just packing up whilst swigging a beer. Mmm, obviously things had gone well then! Everyone had seemed to enjoy it and he was €8 and a beer better off. He’d even taken coins off children. Has he no shame? Still, if they want to pass over their pocket money who am I to argue? Not bad, almost minimum wage and this is Greece after all. Time to celebrate with a beer at one of the cafes and a cheeky Ouzo on the beach before dinner! I just need to get him out for eight hours a day, seven days a week and he’ll be earning enough to pay for our trip.
We left Methóni pootling further up the coast for a pitstop in Pylos before going on to Gialova Lagoon where we were hoping we would see flamingos amongst other birds which come every year. We had a glorious day for the ten kilometre walk around the lagoon having a spot of lunch at the crescent shaped Voidokilia beach. Fab..u..lous.
And there ended our good run of weather. The day before yesterday it rained nearly all day. Yesterday it rained nearly all day and today it has rained nearly all day. Whether it’s the weather or the fact that our thoughts have started to drift towards our departure on the ferry next week to Italy we aren’t really feeling the love for this part of the Peloponnese since moving north of the Gialova lagoon. We can still see the mountains in the distance, some of the time between the low flying clouds, but it is much flatter here and a bit sprawling. Also, we pulled in to Lidl on Monday morning to find it closed as it was a bank holiday. Always a disappointment!
I looked out of the window this afternoon and had one of the rare moments when I thought ‘what are we doing here’. Those times are few and far between though and I’d have been thinking the same thing if I’d been in the UK with similar weather.
We. Must. Not. Grumble!
We may visit Ancient Olympia tomorrow if it’s dry. There’s a train that runs once a day from where we are in Katakolo. If I hadn’t seen the train this morning with my very own eyes I’d have never believed the line was still in operation looking at all the grass growing across the tracks. Leaving the van on the harbour here and going by train will be more of an adventure but only if this weather bucks up.