14. Apr, 2016

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TUESDAY 5-5-15

We arose to another warm sunny morning with another expected high of some 28°C. Many of the motorhomers' are on the move this morning including our Austrian neighbours. On my way back from the shower block he'd moved his motorhome out of his pitch, hooked his trailer on the back and was just completing the loading and strapping down of the first of two motorbikes. Why two I've no idea. Since he arrived he's been on one short ride on each, and she certainly doesn't look like a biker, a lampshade maybe, but not a biker.

We completed the packing away and housework which we started yesterday evening. We will both be very sorry to leave this campground and if we'd had more time to play with would have stayed another week just to relax.

This had been the first place to have seen a number of motorhomes since we left the UK. We saw almost none on the way to Istanbul, certainly in the latter stages, two in Istanbul, One on the Gallipoli Peninsula and that's been about it.

Rosina popped up to Reception to pay the boss our €16 per night (thanks to the wonderful ACSI discount card) site fee. Cash - no card of course, these Greeks are sods for not paying their taxes, then they wonder why they're in the pooh and need bailing out.

Back she came having paid our debt plus some fresh bits like bread, milk, water and Greek yoghurt (UK 'Greek Style Yoghurt' tastes exactly the same).

I fired up the engine and let it reach normal operating temperature before I put it to work. I'd guesstimated three days to get to Dubrovnik in Croatia. So down the mountain we went, twisting, turning, bumping, there were ups as well as downs, but predominantly 'downs' this time which made the journey easier. We were going to travel back up north on the E75 Toll Road again.

This time when we arrived at the Toll Booths I smiled and was friendly, because although it was going to cost us about another £35, this time it was taking me north and out of Greece. In a way I was sorry, I'd hoped to see more of it, I'd had a cunning plan, but grew so tired of being screwed by the Greeks that I gave up on them. Having come this far I would have been prepared to trade in Athens but would have liked to have seen the Corinth Canal and the original site of the Olympic Games, and I know The Chef would have supported me had I wished to plod on, but I couldn't really justify it, as it was further south and west and would have put us on the wrong side to begin the northward leg that we are doing now.

Two breaks later, one a stop for lunch, we approached the Greece-Macedonia border. Out of Greece - no problem. GOODBYE! Across no-man's-land and up to the Macedonian border crossing. Paperwork, no problem, but I could see they were searching cars ahead of me. Paperwork done I moved forward to a space pointed to by officials. 'Here we go again' I thought. A search for donkeys, aliens, motorbikes and alcohol. I was just about to climb out to start unlocking when The Chef said 'We can go' and I looked across to her side where the border official gave me a wink and waved me on. In return I gave him a smile and a 'thumbs up'.

After about 5 miles we came across a small TruckStop (GPS: N41.246560 E22.483409). It is very busy here with HGV's filling up then moving on, but so far nobody has joined us for the night. There is of course the obligatory railway line behind us and a continually yapping dog somewhere in the locality.

I have had my 'pre-dinner' drinks and await my chefs offering for our evening meal. As we are 'on the road' it will be simple to prepare, and tonight I am told it involves three uses of a tin opener. At least it will be a little lighter on the back suspension tomorrow morning.

Sitting here this evening I have time to reflect on both Greece and Turkey.

Firstly Greece:

The scenery- It was lovely and was very green everywhere and the weather had been very kind to us, clear blue skies and very warm indeed. We were probably seeing it at its best as I imagine in the months to come it will turn scorched-brown as the sun beats down on it.

The economy - How can a population of only 11 million people run up a debt so huge? It would be cheaper to buy all of them a fully furnished villa in Spain, with a Ferrari in the garage and then take possession of their country rather than expect them to pay that lot back. Having then taken possession of Greece we move the Palestinians there and give it to them as their new homeland - Middle East problem sorted!

Their army - is it any wonder they don't go poking their noses in around the world militarily? Look at their uniforms. Who would want to go in to battle dressed in a Kevlar Tommy Cooper red Fez, white girlie blouse, bulletproof waistcoat, puffy white trousers-come -dress and boots that curl up at the end? The enemy would just piss themselves laughing, which is bad for troop morale. The government have admitted the problem, and stated that the next time they redesign the Greek army uniform they will not award the contract to Vivienne Westward.

Secondly Turkey (well what little we saw of it):

Istanbul in particular, I grew to like the place very much, a mixture of many cultures. But I still struggle with the Burka. For example how does a Muslim woman, dressed in a Burka, lick an ice cream, eat or drink? I don’t even want to think about sneezing or a runny nose.

How does it work with dating a woman wearing a Burka? Let's face it; all you're dating is a pair of eyes seen through a slit, and a voice. OK there are other clues. Take a bag of crisps. It has air pumped in to it to protect the crisps from damage. The problem is you have no idea what the ratio of crisps-to-air is until you burst the bag. It’s the same with Muslim women wearing the Burka. You hope you have a ratio of something like 20% flesh to 80% air and get somebody like Taylor Swift. However you could get a ratio of 80% flesh to 20% air and get a Dawn French. Like the scene in my all time favourite film 'Forrest Gump' where he's sat on a park bench telling an elderly couple that his mamma said 'Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get', so for traditional Muslim men ‘Life is like a bag of crisps’.

So how long is it before you raise a thorny question like 'We've been going out for 6 months now and I still don't know what you look like? Can I take your Burka off? And she says 'Oh go on then you smooth talker'. You whip her Burka off and JeeeeeeSUS - you've only gone and pulled that Bird-man that won the Eurovison Song Contest last year, the one with the beard and sequined dress,Conchita Wurst . And whilst you stand there, Burka in hand, frozen to the spot in shock, it tells you that over the past few months it's grown to love and respect you, sex would be a bit different, but you could work it out, by now you're starting to dribble as you have lost the ability to swallow such is the state of shock. Then it tells you that although It very much appreciated the perfume and flowers it was secretly hoping you'd by It a Philips electric beard and armpit trimmer.

Back home in Fenland it's much simpler, the traditionalists whip the Burka off and hope they've pulled their sister.

Somehow or other today we appear to have lost an hour, and so it's not as late as we thought, but we're going to bed anyway.