Sunday, 30 October 2011

Here at Last

our trusty little car/van
Hello family and friends .... from Karyes, Greece.
Although our flight was uneventful and we picked up our car easily in Rome, we have had more than our share of unexpected adventures during the last 11 days. 
Due to the strike of the seamen on the Greek ferries which we were to catch from Bari in Italy to Patras in Greece, we were forced to stay for a few days in the south-eastern part of Italy. This proved to be a good thing as I had loved this area when we biked it last year. We got to re-visit the sassi towns, with houses built into caves and the trulli towns with houses of dry stone conical structures and practice our Italian, a lyrical language that I never tire of hearing.  But best of all we had the wonderful antipasti and wines of this area . Delicious!!
After several days and a second postponement, another 48 hour strike was announced. By now we had had enough and were anxious to get to our winter home. We found an overnight ferry going to Durres in Albania and  decided to drive through Albania and through northern Greece to the Peloponnese.
proof of the trip through Albania
When we arrived at our village of Karyes, the Greeks told us that Albania was a dangerous country. We didn't find that so, except for the hustlers who stopped our car at the ferry exit and tried to insist that we needed to buy  special green card insurance. I am sure they intimidate more than a few tourists into paying, but we had done our homework and knew we already had the correct papers. Nevertheless, it is difficult to be in a country where you cannot speak the language at all. The natural scenery was impressive and I only wished that I had a camera to document the interesting rooks of corn stalks making tidy triangles down each field, the gentleman herding turkeys down a dirt road to a field where they were truly free-range with the goats, sheep and cows, and most especially the donkeys and carts on the divided highway, But alas, the camera was buried deep somewhere in my massive hockey bag of supplies for our year away. .With stops only at gas stations and the border we managed to get to Greece in time for an over-night stay at the historic and quite lovely sea-side town of Ioannina. The hotel was mediocre, the dinner quite superb and the town was a comfortable environment as I had my trusty translator with me.

our one bedroom apartment in Ta Petrina, Karyes
The next day, with many stops at toll booths, we drove until early evening when we reached our small apartment in the mountain village of Karyes. A stop at the local mini-market gave us provisions for breakfast and drinkable plonk wine to go with the excellent cheese filled pastries we had purchased in Ioannina that morning.  It was all we could do to unload the car, eat, and fall into bed. We were glad to have arrived even if it was 5 days later than expected.
So the moral of this story is: always pack a week's worth of underwear and vitamins in your carry-on and don't forget your camera.

1 comment:

  1. Cath - this is so cool! Love your blog and looking forward to more postings. Snow on the mountains here and the Chief is shrouded in fog. On the goods news front, the cougars seem to have retreated to the hills and the bears are becoming less frequently seen. Over and out from Squamish. Hil.