Friday 31 July 2015

A Weeks’ Windsurfing Holiday in Vassiliki

Greece, 13th – 20th July 2015

Vassiliki Bay
We left Krioneri with the aim of getting to our next main destination during that day, the island of Lefkada where there’s one of the world’s top windsurf locations at Vassiliki. On the journey we kept seeing evidence of a new motorway being built following the same route up the west coast, presumably to connect Igoumenitsa to Patra. A section of it was marked on our map and was open, which our sat nav took us along before coming off at a slip road just before where the road stopped a

Central Greece South Coast: Delphi and Nafpaktos

Greece, 8th – 12th July 2015


We were planning to head to Athens next and spend a couple of days exploring the city but with the temperatures we’d had for the last few days being consistently in the high 30’s(°C), decided to skip it as it wouldn’t have been pleasant for traipsing around all day. It’s one we will have to save for next time. Instead we planned to get around to Delphi to visit the ancient ruins then start to move more quickly north in the hope of slightly lower temperatures.

The End of the Peloponnese: Exporing Epidavros and Corinth

Greece, 3rd - 7th July 2015

Archea Epidavros
Before leaving the Peloponnese, we still had the northern end of the Argolid to cover, which is home to a great deal of ancient sites to visit; the closest of which was Epidavros (Epidaurus).  Epidavros was once an important healing sanctuary for hundreds of years, and is primarily known today for its ancient theatre, which is still used today for performances.

Thursday 30 July 2015

Touring the Argolid: More Beaches and a little more Urban Exploration

Greece, 27th June – 2nd July 2015

After giant croissants that came from the Monemvasia bakery we left our beach parking spot and called at the port in Agios Andreas to fill up with water there (GPS: N37.37120 E22.78262). We drove through Paralia Astros which other than the seafront area which was busy with tavernas, was a bit rough so we kept on driving. We then came into Kiveri (above) which was made awkward to get in the final stretch of road due to plastic marker posts down the centreline of the road with the


Greece, 24th - 26th June 2015

Monemvasia is a town on the final finger of the Peloponnese that in Byzantine times was a major seaport.  It is built into the side of a hill on a small island connected to the mainland only by a causeway.  Once crossing the causeway, there is a single road approaching the fortified town, with one easily defendable entrance.  Historically, the town would have once been home to thousands; now, with the town’s purpose being made redundant by the end of the War of Independence and the opening of the Corinth canal, the town is populated by a few small clusters of families and a large quantity of cats.

The town was our next stopover point after leaving Paralia Astéri, after Matt’s obligatory morning dip. There’s a beach shower and tap here which had handily been replaced since we called here the other day when it was just a vertical water spout! We topped the water up with a water carrier full then drove to Monemvasia, where we found a place to park alongside a couple of other vans on the island just after crossing the causeway.  From here we took the walk to the town’s main gate for a look around.  The Lower Town is made up of tight streets and small alleyways, with one main stretch being taken over by souvenir shops, tavernas and hotels.  On

Wednesday 29 July 2015

The Dimitrios Shipwreck and our first venture into Urban Exploration

Greece, 19th – 23rd June 2015

Matt and I have always had a bit of a mutual interest in derelict, abandoned things.  Back in the UK, this is an interest that we have never really indulged, partially due to never having the time to seriously consider doing it, but also due to most closed-down buildings or similar being either immediately knocked down for new developments or patrolled by security thanks to the joys of health and safety.

After leaving our overnight spot in the port of Skoutari we drove through the town of Gythio, which we found was starting to get a bit busy with the summer season.  After finding a place to pull in, we decided that we wouldn’t really be missing too much if we gave the tourist town a miss, and instead headed north of Gythio in pursuit of something better aligned with our interests: an abandoned shipwreck.

Sunday 26 July 2015

The Inner Mani – Porto Kagio and Kamares

Greece, 16th – 18th June 2015

We continued on our way into the deep/inner Mani (the bottom half of the peninsula) calling at Mezapos. It was very tight through the village then after the last turning for the beach it looked too narrow to get any further so we turned around here whilst I just had space to. We continued to Gerolimenas, which was quite narrow to access but ok, it’s an attractive small village set around a white stone beach and small port with several tavernas and a hotel. There is a small car park area which isn’t clear whether it’s for the hotel and limited parking at the side of the road so wasn’t suitable as a stopover in season while everywhere is open.

The Mani peninsula is made up of a lot of rocky soil that is very poor for growing things in.  Historically, when the population of the Mani grew in the 14th century thanks to an influx of Byzantine refugees, the

Saturday 25 July 2015

Mystra and the Outer Mani

Greece, 11th – 15th June 2015

The Langadha Pass -  60km long winding mountain route with great views


The Langadha Pass and Mystra

We had a 7:45 alarm so we could get over to Mystra at a reasonable time as I’d read about a 3pm closing time, however we found when we got there that it was 8pm for summer opening hours. We drove via Kalamata over the Langadha Pass winding up and down the Taiyetos mountain sides to a peak of 4265ft, stopping a couple of times to take photos and look at

Monday 20 July 2015

The end of the Messinian Peninsula: Koroni and Petalidi

Greece, 6th June – 10th June 2015

Finikounda and Koroni

From Methoni, we continued to head anti-clockwise around the Messinian peninsula to the next main village on the list, Finikounda.  Our guidebook says very little on the fishing village other than it having a collection of campsites that are popular with backpackers and windsurfers, but we had read about a potential overnighting spot in the harbour, albeit down a few tight roads.  We arrived, parked up the van on the outskirts of town to investigate, and quickly decided that a

Sunday 19 July 2015

Tholo Beach and Methoni

Greece, 2nd – 5th June 2015

A cruise ship arrived in Katakolo in the morning so there were quite a few people about although most will have gone off to Olympia on coaches. We had a walk through the town which consists of one main street full of tourist souvenir shops, and a row of bars and restaurants facing over the port. There was a ‘Beer Bike’ waiting for some punters, a large 4-wheeled bike that seats about 12 people who pedal it whilst sat facing a bar in the middle and beer is served!

One of the cruise ships come in to dock, flooding the town
with life
The main street at Katakolo

The Beer Bike!
An old ship left to rust away in Katakolo harbour - if there was
 no-one about we'd have loved to explore the inside

Tholo Beach

Late morning we set off to a camper stop next to the beach near Zacharo but arrived to find it had closed down. As we

Saturday 18 July 2015

Killinis Beach and Olympia

Greece, 29th May – 1st June 2015

In Italy, the abundance of Aires meant that we never really struggled for a constant water supply in the van.  We knew that in Greece the number of camper stops was in smaller supply and we wanted to spend some more time freecamping to keep our costs down, so before leaving Kalogria Camperstop we made sure we were prepared to stay off site for as long as possible (full tank of water, empty waste tank and WC, freshly showered).  Matt went to pay up as well as to check up on

Friday 17 July 2015

A Grim time with Grimaldi Lines: The Ferry to Greece

Italy and Greece, 26th – 28th May 2015

The Ferry Journey

At the ferry port, after initially driving straight down to the security gates as it wasn’t clear where to go, the security guard pointed us in the direction of the ferry company ticket offices to get tickets and boarding passes first. We queued for quite some time at the Grimaldi Lines ticket office even though there were only 4 people in front of us, the staff took ages to sell them tickets and check them in. When we eventually got served it didn’t take long to get our tickets with our advance

Tuesday 14 July 2015

Pompeii, the Amalfi Coast and Southern Italy

Italy, 24th – 26th May 2015


We set off to Pompeii from our spot at Cava de’ Tirreni, once more travelling through the tight, car-laden roads around Naples.  Upon our arrival, we pulled in outside one of the campsites on the main strip (Fortuna Village) and asked about parking up just for the day.  The staff gave us a price of €10, no set leaving time.  We could have paid to stay here (or at one of the nearby ACSI campsites) for the night, but in my paranoia I didn’t much fancy the idea of parking in the vicinity of an active volcano.  Vesuvius itself can be seen from Pompeii, however in my opinion it looks a lot more impressive when

When In Rome

Italy, 20th – 23rd May 2015

Happy Village and Camping, north Rome
Given that we are not completely suicidal, we decided that attempting to drive into Rome in a motorhome was a terrible idea, and so would rely on public transport.  For our Rome visit, there were three campsites in our ACSI book to the north of the city: Flaminio Village Camping, Happy Village & Camping, and Tiber.  The former has a bus and metro station just over the road from the campsite, and the latter two had shuttle buses to the nearest metro station.  Given that Flaminio wasn’t discounted during the time of our visit and Tiber’s shuttle bus was €1 per ticket, we opted for Happy Village & Camping (N42.00336 E12.45198, €18/night with ACSI discount + €2 pppn tourist tax), as their shuttle service was free of charge.   After getting set up on the site, we caught the 10am shuttle and were treated to some stereotypically Italian style driving, in a minibus with over

San Marino and travelling South towards Rome

Italy and San Marino, 16th – 19th May 2015

The view out over the hills in the Chianti region
We started the day with a walk into the village before leaving Greve and heading south through the Chianti region heading for San Marino. The drive through Chianti was very scenic and we decided it would be a good place to come in future on a road trip in a convertible, stopping at the vineyards/wine producers for wine tasting and the nice looking hotels or B&Bs. The Lonely Planet highlighted the area as good for cycling but with the steep and twisty mountain roads we went along we

Saturday 4 July 2015

Traversing Tuscany: Pisa and Florence

Italy 13th – 15th May 2015


In the 12th century, Pisa’s cathedral lacked a bell tower.  In an attempt to right this, Pisan Berta di Bernado donated a large sum of money to help the city get to work on building the tower.  During the construction progress things started to go downhill when the foundations started to move, and despite many attempts over the years to rectify the problem, we are still left today with the famed Leaning Tower of Pisa—or, as I like to think of it, that tower where tourists do silly poses.

According to our Camperstop book, there was a motorhome Sosta around a five minute walk from the square in which the cathedral is located (Piazza Dei Miracoli).  Upon our arrival, we instead discovered an area that appeared to be dedicated to tourist bus parking with No Camping signs; perhaps the city didn't have enough room to accommodate all of the buses coming in.  We instead followed their signs to the new Sosta, which seemed to wind halfway around the city of Pisa, prompting several instances of ‘Are we still going the right way?’, including a detour to a Lidl where, after buying some bits, we went on the mobile internet to get some actual

Bologna and Lago le Tamerici

Italy, 9th – 12th May 2015

Our plan before we left the area was to have a look at the east side of the Lake Iseo so we drove up as far as Marone. It was much the same as the other side so we turned off and took the main road south heading towards Bologna. On the way there we came across a 2.3m width restriction on a bridge at Camatta which I thought we’d attempt being only 3cm wider