DDCSPA members parked up behind us

FRIDAY 1-6-18

We had a change of plan. The Chef fancied staying here at Diakofto another day, and since we are a few days ahead of schedule I couldn't deny her wish.

We had power problems last night as the habitation battery just about gave up on us. It's my own fault really, I should have put the folding solar panel in the front window as soon as we got here. That way it could have played a useful role in keeping the battery topped up, rather than leaving things until they get to crisis point.

This morning I was up in good time in order to put the folding solar panel outside the habitation door lengthways so that it could soak up the sun's rays from only a couple of hours after sunrise. It certainly seems to have done the trick having spent the latter part of the afternoon lying in the front windscreen as the sun moved around to the other side of the vehicle.

It hasn't been as nice here today what with the DDCSPA settling in and being quite loud, and their dogs a bit of a nuisance. Never mind, we really are off tomorrow morning making our way probably to the Preveza area up on the mainland. This will move us closer to the Albanian border which we plan to cross next Thursday 7th June.

It has been another hot day today, the forecast was for 33˚C which I'm sure was achieved. Had we moved on this morning as planned we would probably spent it on a nice shady pitch at a campsite rather than exposed to the full power of the sun here by the seaside.

When it did finally get a bit cooler we went for a walk in to the village to buy some bread. Needless to say the bakers had all closed for a lie-down and so we popped in to the newly-extended supermarket, which was even more chaotic than it was yesterday.

Back to 'base' for a nice long read sat outside in the shade created by the motorhome as the sun moved around behind us. This evening is being spent watching the sun go down over the Gulf of Corinth, a very nice little spot, which as well as giving us a lot of pleasure will have helped us to keep our weekly expenditure down, so a bit of a win-win really.

Tomorrow should see us enjoying full facilities at a campsite hooked up to electricity and making good use of their shower block.

The end of another day

This is where Saga passengers get off to stretch their legs and the loons get off to hike all the way back.

These scrap coaches were those my darling Chef actually thought we'd be travelling in.

THURSDAY 31-8-18

We went to bed late last night as I'd put up the small digital TV aerial on the roof via the front skylight connected to the television. It worked very well actually, though of course just about everything was rubbish Greek programming. I did however come across an English-speaking film which we'd missed the beginning of. It was a love story skipping between World War Two and three American aviators and the 'present' in Northern Ireland during the troubles. It would never, ever have been in the running for an Oscar, but it passed a couple of hours.

This morning we had a lie-in because there wasn't much we could do before setting out for the railway station at 10:45. For today we were to ride on the Diakofto to Kalavryta Railway http://www.odontotos.com/index-en.htm

It didn't take us too long to walk to the station, though it was getting awfully hot. I think today gthey were forecasting 33˚C. I took my backpack because I wanted to take things like sunglasses cameras, alcohol soap and a one litre bottle of water which we intended buying at the supermarket just across from the station.

When we entered the supermarket we had missed the grand opening of the extension, staff were still moving stock around but my word it was an impressive size for such as small community and could well put some of the small shops out of business. One bottle of water later we were sat in the small bus shelter close to the station just to keep out of the sun. The small platform was shaded but it was full of the dreaded tour groups.

I think there is just one train operating on the line and it just goes up and down all day long, about four trips in all.

Fortunately all seats are allocated at the time of sale otherwise it would have been a real bun-fight when the doors to the train opened. We found ourselves sat among a group from 'Saga', so I guess one of their cruise ships was docked in Athens which isn't too far away along the toll road. They and their guides, one from the ship, and by the look of her, the other a local were a pain in trying to get their sheep herded to where they should be. The local guide even called out to the independent travellers trying to get on that they should wait until she'd got her group seated. Good thing we were already sat down otherwise I would have told her where to get off.

As with most things Greek when it comes to tourism the train ride was a great disappointment, to think we'd come out of our way to travel on it.

On the way up in to the mountain I said to The Chef that I don't know why some people bother coming on these trips. Behind us were some 'saga' northerners who constantly yapped without taking much notice of what was going on, and across from them was a woman stood up telling those sat nearby her life story. Hardly anybody down our end of the coach was that bothered about it all which was doubly annoying because we'd only managed to get seats on the wrong side of the train both up and down, while they had good seats and made little use of them.

There was little in the way of scenery to get the 'wow' factor, all pretty ordinary, and at some points we had the road to the top running beside us, leaving me thinking we could have driven up there and saved grief and money.

I have a real problem with group tours, they spoil things for everybody else in so many ways. So today on our arrival at Kalavryta railway station I had a very warm glow come across me when the 'Saga' sheep were told by the guide quite firmly. "No going to the toilet, no going to the toilet - go straight to the coach, go straight to the coach". Can you believe it? What was so urgent that they couldn't wait ten or fifteen minutes so that their passengers could have a pee? I tell you if I'd been among them and needed a pee, I'd have damned well had one. But then again, it's because I'm not a sheep that I'm not on such a trip having paid good money for the privilege. I just hope lots of them peed their pants on the way back to the ship, it will serve them right for not speaking up. Baaaahaaa!

After about fifteen minutes we were on our way back downhill. We had a better view as our return seats put us in the front coach looking through the front window where the driver sat. Most people could have had the chance of getting a few decent forward facing shots accept that there was a selfish bloody German who'd fixed himself up with the front row on the grid who was continually standing and taking still and video shots with his 3D camera. Pity all those who get invited around his house when he gets back for a video show in 3D.

When all that excitement was over and we arrived back at Diakofto station we made our way 'home'. We still had quite a bit of our bottle of water left and this evening we have reached a landmark - I have been able to put some of that water to good use by pouring it in to a bag for making ice cubes, as we now finally have room in the freezer for it.

Soon after our arrival back 'home' we were joined by four motorhomes who all appear to be together. Observing as I do, I have concluded that we have been joined by members ('scus the pun) of the Dutch Dyke Camping & Shot Put Association, plus two dogs.

It's time to go, mainly because we now need fresh water and to dump our grey, but mainly because I don't know when the DDCSPA rutting season starts.

Back home for the rest of the day

Recycling Greek style

Sunrise over the Gulf of Corinth

WEDNESDAY 30-5-18

We were awake at 06:30 this morning and saw a lovely sunrise right outside our habitation door looking over the Gulf of Corinth. That's not to say we actually got up then of course.

My word what a lovely spot we have been lucky enough to bag here in Diakofto. It just about ticks all the boxes for how we imagined we would be living in Greece. I say 'just about' because of course we are unable to make use of the gas barbecue or oven and so can't fully enjoy the independent outdoor lifestyle.

Having scrubbed up we made our way up in to the village for a look around. On arrival at the railway station we spotted a notice in the window informing everyone that today was a strike and that there would be no busses or trains today. Presumably they've come out in sympathy with the bin-men who can't have worked for a while now. This the behaviour of a country which is bankrupt. You'd think they'd be grateful just to be in work.

Nobody should feel sorry for the Greeks and the situation they are now in because it's of their own making. They were greedy as well as lazy. Some years ago they had a system which permitted certain occupations to retire early at fifty-five years of age. I don't suppose there were many of them, maybe the Emergency Services and other stressful occupations. However once they had access to cheap money to borrow through the EU, the next thing you know the Unions had their head in the trough as well as the Government and suddenly hundreds of occupations qualified for early retirement at fifty-five. A far more generous arrangement than even the German taxpayers who were bankrolling their gross financial mismanagement. Little wonder Angela M of Germany finally put the brakes on them. So now there are lots of middle aged citizens sat around on their arses on full pensions whilst the young are sat next to them unemployed because the adult generation bankrupted the country through greed. The people I feel sorry for are the younger generations, even those yet to be born, who will grow up in, and grow old in, a nation bought to its knees by their greedy forefathers.

So anyway those who rely on the tourist to keep their jobs by selling train tickets and running a railway have today just put two fingers up at them for no good reason. How fortunate we bought our tickets yesterday.

Diakofto village isn't bad really. It has most of the shops you'd expect to find in a community. The Mini-Market is a really good one, and is currently moving some of its stock in to an extension they've built on to the side of it, so business is good. We timed the walk at fifteen minutes and so we'll leave here forty-five minutes before our train is due to leave tomorrow, just to make sure.

This afternoon was spent on the beach, though we shared it with a couple of Greek women, one of them the mother of three young girls. We'd already put our folding chairs on the beach, and as we were walking on to the beach to join them, the older woman was about to sit in my chair, talk about make yourself at home. Fortunately her bum didn't get to reach the seat  before I called out to her.

It looks as if we will spend the night here again joined by a Brit couple who are parked on the other side of the road where they shouldn't be, and a French couple who have parked their panel van converted motorhome sideways right next to the seating area of the restaurant.  I tell you these French are cheeky beggers. They're renowned for Wild Camping, and I swear the French Aire scheme was created just because they don't like paying campsite fees.

I am now going outside to join The Chef whilst we  can enjoy a lovely cool evening after having endured another 30˚C day.

TUESDAY 29-5-18

There were quite a few people on the move this morning and we were among them. We had found the four days spent at Camping Aginara Beach quite restful, and good value. We'd been able to sit on the beach and look out across the sea to the island of Zakynthos.

I couldn't find anywhere to dump the grey water before we left and so had to set off carrying it in the tank at the rear, whilst towards the front I had a full tank of fresh water. Sixty Euros paid and we were off, following the will of the satnav. Needless to say it spooked us almost immediately because it looked to us as if it was going to take us to Diakofto the short route up through the mountains, and so we disobeyed it, turned around and followed the signs for Patra. It wasn't until we came to a dead end down by a beach area that we realised on this occasion we didn't know better than the satnav, and would therefore have to just obey it. In the end we realised that what we thought was the 'red' main coastal road soon after leaving the campsite was nothing of the sort and we needed to go inland on climbing, twisting road to reach it.

Once we were sorted we were on our way, leaving the water melon-growing area behind and passing in to strawberry growing country. Lots and lots of plastic tunnels full of strawberry plants being picked by an army of labourers, most of whom didn't look very Greek to me.

Having dumped my gfrey water in a convenient drain by the side of the road, we headed northwards towards Patra and could see the island of Kefallonia over to our left. The scenery was very rural and very pretty. After bypassing Patra we turned right and headed along the toll road located along the northern shore of the Peloponnese Peninsular. We could clearly see the rather impressive road bridge crossing the Gulf of Corinth, joining the peninsular with Central & Western Greece, and the bridge we would need to come back to in order to make our way north in a few days time. But today we were heading eastwards to Diakofto, in the hope that we could buy a couple of return tickets on the Diakofto to Kalavryta Railway.

First we needed to get some shopping and so I had programmed the GPS co-ordinates in of a Lidl supermarket in the neighbouring town of Elaionas. What a hole that turned out to be, the rubbish was piled high in the streets. It didn't look as if it had been collected in weeks. never mind, we managed to buy what we needed before setting off for a half hour drive to Diakofto. I say half an hour because that is what the satnav had calculated it would take us to go back on to the toll road, pay €8.20 to drive a short distance along it before bringing us off, then sending us back in the direction we had just come from on a minor road running right next to the toll road.

When we arrived at Diakofto railway station The Chef leapt out to try and get some tickets while I stayed with the vehicle. It was a fairly busy area, and parking was a bit chaotic. On her return she informed me that she had managed to get tickets but they weren't ideal. We would be travelling on the 11:30 train on Thursday and returning back down again after only ten minutes. But what the hell, at least we'd managed to get tickets.

On leaving the station we headed down the road to the town's very small fishing port, or marina where there is a Camperstop. And what a nice little spot it has turned out to be. We have just one long road to walk down in order to get to the town, and railway station, and although this afternoon there were three of us motorhomers here, this evening we have it all to ourselves with our own private promenade, and at the moment not a German in sight.

Unfortunately the rubbish collection points around town here are also overflowing with piles of rubbish all around the dumpsters. I can only assume there is some kind of strike in this area by the binmen, though sometimes it's difficult to tell the difference between a working Greek and a striking Greek.

Tomorrow we will walk in to town in the morning before it gets too hot again. This evening we continue to enjoy a view of the Corinth Sea, with a lovely cool breeze wafting through the vehicle.

The entrance to the campsite

This is a German neighbour two pitches down who clearly doesn't want to miss his TV with an automatic satellite dish on his roof and a freestander at the front of the pitch.

MONDAY 28-5-18

Even before we got up this morning vehicles were on the move. I suppose Monday is 'move on' day.

Because we were up a bit later than usual the showers were pretty busy, but I was lucky enough to bag the only empty cubicle when I arrived.

Once scrubbed up I headed for the laundry room with a few bits I wanted to wash along with my micro-fibre towel. We were likely to be moving on tomorrow and I wanted to make sure I was up to date. Whilst up there a Brit couple came in to use a washing machine and we got chatting. They had arrived having come through Albania. It seems the roads really are as bed as people say. Never mind we are committed to it because there is no way we are attempting the same route to Croatia that we took on the way back from Istanbul three years ago.

Once my washing was hung on the line the moment had arrived.

Yeah mun. Tooday we is gonna make de special breakfast. Inspired by seeing da wedding of Megun on da TV in da bar on da beach here in da Carribean. First we take a handful of da raisins and we soak dem in der dark rum overnight. Den in der mornin we gonna take two of der Weettiebicks and put dem in der bowl. Next we add da rum & raisins over da top of der Weettiebicks den we add da milk. Den just enjoy mun. I think maybe I call it HarrieundMeggieBreckie.

Take it from me you may want a lie down an hour or say later, but it was a bit different.

I was getting twitchy and we went up to Reception to see if they could help us to book a couple of tickets on the Diakofto Railway which is a narrow guage line leaving Diakopto and going up in to the mountains. I wanted to know where we stood so that we could plan this next week. The line was busy and the lady on Reception said she's keep trying for us and to come back later.

Last night I had sent an email to the motorhome folk in Poole, Dorset, so that I could arrange a time to phone them at MY expense because their man didn't do emails. Having kept an ear out for an incoming message after 11:00 local time, as we are two hours ahead of the UK, I realised that today was Bank Holiday Monday, therefore they wouldn't be at work. Never mind, better luck tomorrow maybe.

The Chef went back up to Reception and was told that the booking method had changed now (I think they had been getting grief from tourists in the past who were turning up and couldn't get tickets because they'd been block-booked by tour companies) we can turn up at the station and book tickets for the following day, and there is availability. So tomorrow we're back on the road again which I'm pleased about. The rest and relaxation here at the campsite has been very nice, we have a lovely shady pitch, The Chef can go for a lie on the beach for an hour morning and afternoon and I can get on with whatever, and it's very good value at fifteen Euro's a night including electricity. But I'm starting to twiddle my thumbs now and it will be good to go and visit other places. I'll get the vehicle prepared as much as I can this evening so that we can get away at a reasonable time in the morning.

My sandals have been taken for a test drive this afternoon and passed. At least now I've got something cool and comfortable to drive and potter around in until such time as I can get them replaced with something similar.

I checked the BBC News website at lunchtime and see that Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland's First Minister has met with the EU's Brexit Negotiator, Michel Barnier. She said they held a "constructive and positive discussion" during her trip to Brussels.

She said she told Mr Barnier that the Scottish government believed the UK should remain within the customs union and single market after leaving the EU. And she emphasised her "strong view" that "time is running out for the UK" to strike a deal over Brexit.

Ms Sturgeon told BBC Scotland: "The clock is ticking and the longer it takes for the UK to reach a sensible position, the greater the risk of a no deal outcome to this which is in absolutely nobody's interest."

I understand Michel Barnier's reply went along the lines of "Do you know Nicola, I thought my job as EU negotiator was going to be a tough one, but what with you coming over here and disturbing my fag break with your attempts to undermine the government, and that Commie Corbyn and his entourage coming over repeatedly and doing the same thing, my job's a doddle". "But I tell you what. I'm running rings around Westminster, I can't believe what I'm screwing out of them because you're both weakening May's hand. I'm on a real roll, so I think I can risk giving something away, so I'll give you what you want if you beat me at cards"

Nicola Sturgeon agreed, and the pack of cards were shuffled and dealt out equally by the EU's Deputy Card Shuffler.

Barnier turned his first card over......... the Three of Clubs. Sturgeon turns her first card over ......... the King of Spades. Barnier his second card ......... The Ace of Hearts. Sturgeon turns over.......... The ten of Diamonds.

The tension was palpable. Michel Barnier turns his third card over............ it's a picture of Nicola Sturgeon trying to look glamourous. Nicola Sturgeon turns her third card over............ it's a picture of a baboon's arse. After a fraction of a second Michel Barnier shouted the winning word -  SNAP!

This is the gap the Germans squeezed through - between the backs of our chairs and the hedge.

SUNDAY 27-5-18

We awoke to the smell of fried bacon wafting from somewhere close by. The Germans must like a fry up on a Sunday morning.

Last night's walk along the beach wasn't a resounding success as the gritty stone beach made walking along it difficult. However we did come across the other campsite we could have chosen - Camping Ionion Beach. It is advertised as a luxurious campsite, and I have to say it was very nice indeed with manicured grass lawn being watered, a swimming pool, new blocks of apartments and a lovely bar and restaurant area. We could have stayed there for nineteen Euro's a night using the ACSI card www.campingcard.com However it was also very noisy, clearly the preferred choice for families with their noisy brat kids running riot throughout the campsite, and their dogs on the beach despite there being signs forbidding them. Our site isn't as posh but is much quieter. I think it must be school holiday season now because we are starting to see more kids about.

On the way to the showers I check on the bird's, and all have now left the nests, though remain close by, as I suppose to them it's home.

The beginning of the day was rather annoying. Because a neighbour behind us had a line of washing out, the rude, ignorant Germans walked right through our pitch to get the shower block and washing-up facilities. This is despite The Chef putting up a clothes line across the gap in the hedge and hanging our towels and bits on it. They'd walk right past the backs of our chairs. The really are the rudest of people. It's a golden rule in camping that you don't encroach on somebody else's pitch, it's private. I wish now I'd packed an A3 size colour picture of a Lancaster Bomber which I could have stuck to the back of my chair and placed in the gap in the hedge, but you can't pack everything you might need.

Today has been another lazy day. I have continued to repair the dog-chewed and damaged sandal. I have now succeeded in sewing some thread through the two pieces of leather I glued together for the repair, so hopefully that will give it a bit more strength. I did bend the needle on the first attempt but finally mastered the art of sewing using a needle and thread and a pair of pliers to push the needle through. The final touch was a piece of Elastoplast cut to size and glued on the underside of the strap to make it a bit smoother against my foot. I shall test drive them tomorrow.

It's been another hot one with the temperature reaching 30˚C, which is plenty hot enough for us. The Chef went down to the beach for a short fry leaving me to repair the sandal. This afternoon we sat around reading, so not a very exciting day. Tomorrow we will go up to Reception to see if they can help us book two tickets for the Diakofto Railway, as the company didn't have the courtesy to reply to my email even though I translated it in to Greek for them. Until we know where we stand with that we can't plan the coming week at all, though I doubt we'll stay here beyond tomorrow. Having a rest in the sunshine is very nice but it's also good to get back on the road again and visit new places.

This evening the Chef and I wandered down to the beach to watch the sunset, all very nice.

Now I am sat here wishing that as well as an A3 picture of a Lancaster Bomber I wish I'd also bought some cheese wire, so that I could string it up across the back of our pitch in the hope we could bag a few ignorant, rude, bloody Germans who pass through our pitch during the night for a pee and end up garrotted. The sight of a few of them in the morning lying here minus their heads would fill me with joy, and give me far more pleasure than waking up to the smell of fried bacon.

SATURDAY 26-5-18

I'd been lying awake since about 06:00 thinking about them - those sandals, ruined by a dog, owned by irresponsible Greeks back down the road.

Yesterday I'd tossed them in to one of the bins outside the shower block, just a stone's throw away. My ol' dad would never have given up so easily. In his day money was very tight, and he was a marvel at fixing, building and creating things he needed but couldn't afford to buy or replace. He was a wonderful role model to both myself and my brothers.

So at 07:15 I got up, put my dressing gown and flip-flops on and went across to the bins. Luckily I knew where to find them, right at the top of the bin on the left. Once retrieved they were tossed under the motorhome to await further attention, before getting back in to bed.

We awoke to a lovely 23˚C morning. Clearly it was going to be another hot one. The sea looked very calm as I made my way across to the shower block. The blocks here are unisex and each cubicle has a toilet and shower in it, but no shower screen, all a bit odd, but then it's Greek, and I have to say that on this trip I have yet to come across a Shanks Squatter, they really are catching up.

Neither of us bothered with breakfast, something we do from time to time. That's the problem when you have several inactive days lounging around. It's easy to put weight on.

While The Chef sat outside reading I cleaned both of the sandals in disinfectant and hot water before laying them out to dry. The problem was our pitch is shaded with lovely trees, which is most welcomed, but it does make quick-drying difficult. Later when The Chef went down to the beach for an hour I joined her for a spell taking the sandals with me. That did a good job of getting them dry, with the final touches being done at the pitch by moving them around in the pockets of sunshine which breached the leafy trees.

There was some interest this morning in the washing up area next to the showers. Two families of, I think, House Martins (I'm no bird expert but I know it's not an albatross) feeding their young in their nests up in the roof space inside.

I made a start on another book today, that should last me a while. It's about the RAF in the Second World War. Another military book I know, but I don't do novels and other such fiction.

Eventually the sandals were dry and I set about trimming off excess leather and lining, ready to attempt to bond two parts together. I wasn't looking for a permanent fix, just a way of buying me some time until I can buy some replacements, otherwise I've only got flip-flops, which I can't drive in, and a pair of trainers with cotton sock liners which are a bit warm to wear.

I used a very strong contact adhesive held together by three clothes pegs. The glue is supposed to achieve maximum hold after twenty-four hours, so on Monday morning, just to play safe, I'll give them a test drive.

Later today most of the House Martins look to have flown the nest and were practising their flying around us. There are still three or four between the two nests who are still holding out. It will be interesting to see in the morning if they return to their nests for the night, or that's it - they've got their independence.

This evening The Chef and I are looking to go for a walk along the beach to stretch our legs which should be nice. What would be nicer would be days that are somewhere between the madness of yesterday and the peace of today.

The Olympic Stadium

Entrance to the stadium

Approaching the point where the Olympic flame is lit

The Philippeion

FRIDAY 25-5-18

Oh what a beautiful morning .................... oh what a beautiful day....................... I've got a horrible feeling ................. nothing is going my way, hey .............. nothing is going my way!

We had a peaceful night' sleep thank goodness, there was nothing else positive to say about Camping Apollo Village.

So up I got, flip-flops and dressing gown on, washbag and towel in hand and off the grim toilet & shower block. Dressing gown off, washbag emptied of items required... water on. Let's start with the hot water, let's get it through the system as I'm probably the first in here this morning. Nope, keep running the hot tap ...... it'll come ........ nope just be patient ............. F**k it! - No hot water.

Back to the motorhome, head down in shame, The Chef having already decided to scrub up indoors because of the facilities. In I go (passing my forlorn paperback immediately upon entering - more of that later) to announce the absence of hot water, even though I'd tested the showers last night and there was hot water then.

So I was second in  the queue for our own bathroom, my having turned the boiler on for the full works.

Having scrubbed up had breakfast and dressed I popped outside to start the final preparations for leaving Camping Apollo Village ................ and then it happened. Beneath the vehicle where last night I'd left my sandals out to air, there was just one left. "NOOOooooo not f**cking again! I don't believe it, where the hell has it gone". We searched high and low, but there was no sign of the second sandal.

From that moment on I proved that we men can multi-task as I continued to prepare the vehicle for the road whilst at the same time cussing like hell.

Ready for the road we drove up to the Reception. Whilst The Chef went in to pay for our memorable quality five star overnight stay, I, remembering that I'd seen two of their dogs lying down and busily licking themselves yesterday afternoon near the bar area, I popped round there to take a look. As I approached the dogs, there was my sandal, a bit chewed. Needless to say I conveyed my anger to the owner in both words and facial expressions. A waste of time, it went right over her head. I figured that if I recovered it and scrubbed it up this evening using disinfectant I could be back in business.

What a joy as we passed through the exit gate, my pleasure being enhanced by my stopping just outside the gate and dumping all of my grey water on them.

Next stop Ancient Olympia. There were two options for us. Either we went the shortest route across country heading northeast, which was just one side of a triangle, or we went the longest way round and heading further north before turning east, thus doing two sides of the triangle.

The Chef was quick to point out how much further the second option was, and so it was - we headed northeast, just one side of the triangle.

What an experience it was. Crappy, narrow roads with twists and turns, and the vehicle continually feeling light on the front wheels and down at the back end as we climbed so steeply, driving our way to hell.

And then it happened. there in the road was a Greek Plod, waving us down and gesturing us to make a left turn. We didn't know why, but we obeyed. Having turned left we found ourselves on a minor road running parallel to the road we wanted . Until we came across some resurfacing roadworks where the road surface came to a sheer, sharp drop, of some six inches, I kid you not. I announced to The Chef that there was no way I was taking the vehicle down that, it would damage the underside. "Up the Greeks, we're going back" I announced. Back to the Greek Plod. I tried to explain that I could not take the vehicle that way as it was too dangerous. So he waved us along the original road he didn't want us to travel on. Just down the road we passed a few sheep half on the road half off. That was it. The silly sod was making people do a detour just to avoid these stupid sheep. On we went, climbing, twisting and turning until ....... begger me, the road was blocked - they were felling trees and the beggers were crashing down on to the road once they'd chain-sawed them. Perhaps then, Greek Plod was trying to dissuade people from continuing up the road. The fireman who was doing traffic duty up there had a conversation with me during which neither of us understood one word the other had said. However I made my position clear by turning off the engine and just sitting there, we were going nowhere - only through that blocked road.

In time, luckily for us a lorry arrived to take away the felled branches, and we were invited to follow it through the blockage, provided we were happy to drive over smaller branches and leaves. I think between that point and our arrival at Ancient Olympia, the wisdom of taking the shorter route may have been mentioned.

On our arrival there was absolutely nowhere to park, and this wasn't even peak season. In the end we parked up the hill in a back street with the lady who's house we'd parked outside giving us her blessing.

Before leaving the vehicle I took a closer look at my chewed sandal. Begger, although it was in reasonable condition, the damned dog had chewed off a plastic buckle which was needed to adjust the front of the sandal. That was it then - one pair of ruined sandals.

I grabbed the SLR camera and we headed for the Ancient Olympia site. Two tickets at EU pensioner rates, half price, six Euros each.

I have to say the site was a big disappointment. The lazy Greeks had made no effort to reconstruct any part of the site, and so we were left to wander around piles of rubble, pretty much. The biggest disappointment whilst there was that the battery on the camera packed upon me despite having shown a full charge before I set out. So now both the main and spare batteries are on charge via mains electricity rather than in twelve volt internal supply.

I was glad to have seen the actual stadium, and indeed the exact location where, every four years the Olympic torch is lit ready to make its long journey to that years venue. But the rest - rubble. Thank goodness that was the last site of rubble we are planned to visit.

On the way back we took a look around the very touristy shops. The Chef grabbed some rolls for lunch and I  had a look for some replacement sandals. The nearest I got was a flimsy pair for sixty-five Euros. I think I may need to look at sports shops to find what I want, though I doubt if I'll come across one here.

After lunch we set out for our next destination - Camping Aginara Beach where we would spend just a few days. The road was so much better and we arrived mid-afternoon. It's quite nice here actually, though all the signs around the site are in German, not even Greek and German, so I'll allow you one wild guess as to who are the most prevalent nation pitched up here

And the forlorn paperback?

Yesterday I finally finished my book about the submarine service and made a start on my next challenge - 'In The Presidents Secret Service'. It's a bit gossipy about the conduct of former presidents and their families as told by the Secret Service guys who guard them around the clock.

If I were to pass the book, of which I'd read about the first thirty pages in to the vehicle I would probably lean up and sit it on the glass cover over the sink unit just inside the habitation door on the left. This I did. Sadly however, some hours later it was discovered that The Chef had left some washing up water in the sink with the lid up and I had in fact simply dropped the book in to said water. Once discovered the book was absolutely sodden wet. I have since tried to dry it out but it is I fear an impossible task and I shall have to bin it and order a replacement off good old Amazon.

Never mind - tomorrow is another day.

PS. Internet connection here is very poor.

From the pine 'forest' towards the mountains

THURSDAY 24-5-18

Another peaceful night at Camping Thines. I have to say it's not a bad place at all for what they charge, it's nicely located, and the staff have added some thoughtful touches like microwaves and hot plates in a kitchen area along with a chest freezer which guests can share. It's just getting there, that's the problem.

Lying in bed here it's possible to imagine yourself  in the Borneo jungle the Brazilian rain forest given the sounds you can here, especially the birds, new sounds we've not heard on this trip before.

We wanted to get  up early so that we could get a reasonable start on the task of reaching some kind of civilisation. Most of the vehicle was prepared for the road last night, so it didn't take long to scrub up and complete the tasks.

The staff in Reception were quite clear that we should take the road along the west coast of the peninsula, the opposite way to which we came in, which in itself was reassuring.

Off the campsite then and up to the village shops where The Chef bought a few bits before we hit the road. The satnav (oh bless it!) was telling me that it would take us over three hours to complete a journey of about fifty miles. That rings alarm bells for a start, but once we got going it became clear. The road was in pretty good condition but the speed limits were low, probably because if you exceeded them you could go airborne on the lumps and bumps.

Fortunately there were several long stretches of modern bypass roads along the way, which completely foxed the satnav but pleased me intensely.

We arrived here at Camping Apollo Village at just about lunchtime. I don't know where I got this campsite from, but I guess it was Google Maps. It was my planned 'en-route campsite' on the way to Olympia. I imagine it was once a very nice site, but it has now been run in to the ground. We have finished up pitched amongst caravans in storage, next to a small field for tents, which seem to be occupied by hippie types, and a small pine forest which leads down to the beach. Sounds idyllic but it isn't. Never mind, we're now staying here just one night without electricity. The main reason being that I couldn't find a mains hook-up point, and in searching I opened an electrical box and broke the lock and handle to it. I have had to push the lock handle back in place and hold the door closed with a bit of Duct Tape.

We could have just said 'No thank you' and left, but the journey to get here had been a bit taxing and I didn't fancy going any further today. The shower block is crappy enough to warrant our using our own facilities in the morning, then as a 'thank you' I'll dump all the grey water on the pitch.

Tomorrow we make our way to Ancient Olympia, the home of the first ever Olympic Games. I've always fancied visiting it.

I think it all began when I was at school and the PE teacher told me I had Athletes Foot. This inspired me, and I became pretty good at the one-hundred yard sprint and the hop-step-and-jump.

I have had replies to my emails regarding the exterior gas point problem, none of them any damned use to me right now you understand, but I am now asking to take the vehicle straight to Poole in Dorset to get it sorted properly once we land back in the UK. It took them two days to come up with a reply. I remember back in about 2008/9 during the recession, businesses were falling over themselves for your custom, you always got prompt attention. Now we're back to the usual  'Couldn't give a shite' which I suppose is a good barometer of the UK economy. It means businesses are doing much better and can get back to their old indifferent ways.

Beyond Ancient Olympia The Chef and I have identified a promising campsite further north where we will head after our visit. We will then ask 'Reception' there to phone the Railway people and book us some tickets. I did email them and translate it in to Greek but have had no reply, perhaps the company is British owned.

This evening we have been joined by a two people on a motorbike. They had the hole crappy campsite to choose from but have chosen to camp very close to us. I could see they had very basic facilities to prepare a meal of some kind.

Now I grew up in the days of old fashioned camping where everybody looked out for everybody else. In the past, some 55 years ago, I've turned up at  campsites and had folk come out and help me erect my tent, or make me a cup of tea, and once, in really bad weather cook me a hot meal. And that's how it should be. I told the Chef that I had to go and talk to them, to see if there was anything we could do to assist them. They turned out to be a father and son, probably Germans, but never the less, they were fellow campers, and we look out for each other. I offered them help and assistance with cooking or hot water for coffee etc, but they were OK, which eased my mind, at least I had made the offer, and quite willing too.

Tomorrow Ancient Olympia - hail seize her.

Pimp my bike

WEDNESDAY 23-5-18

Another peaceful night's sleep thank goodness. Even the dogs here don't bark very much. I think we are too far south to get the usual yapping balls of fluff. Here they're proper sized dogs and considerably more laid back.

Today was a bit of a nothing day really. We heard a few rumbles of thunder early on together with a cloudy sky which stayed with us for much of the day, along with quite a strong wind. It gives me some pleasure to see fellow campers who felt a bit smug because they'd bagged a pitch on the front row of the grid for the beach, having to tie and strap their awnings down along with all they hold precious. It didn't affect us too much being in the cheap seats as far back from the beach as we could get, though we have had to endure falling dry leaves off the trees all day.

Today I have emailed the folk at the Diakopto Railway in an attempt to book a couple of tickets for a ride from the seaside up in to the mountains. The location is not en-route to anywhere for us, and I'm reluctant to drive all the way there to find that they are fully booked. And there lies the problem for independent travellers like ourselves. There are so many cruise ships and coach tour companies around these days who block book shed-loads of tickets that it makes it very difficult for us to get a look in. I think that's why I hate them so much, they're ruining the life of the genuine tourist.

Yesterday I emailed the folk who manufacture our exterior barbecue gas point regarding our problem and they were very efficient at replying, though we don't have a definitive solution to the problem, just some helpful suggestions, which I've already tried, and they don't work. Maybe if we hit a pothole hard enough the jolt will sort out the problem for us. On our return to the UK I shall be making for the folk in Dorset to sort the problem out once and for all. What is most annoying is that we are now dragging around a gas barbecue and a rather heavy portable gas oven and two-burner gas hob for no good reason other than to take up valuable space and make us heavy on the back end.

The Chef has been intelligence gathering today at the washing facilities, and came back to tell me there is an English couple who have travelled all the way here to spend their usual one month holiday. I will of course share our expenditure with you at the end of the trip but even now I can tell you that it will cost them a serious amount of money (they too came via Italy) for the round trip. I suspect that it will be nice people in white coats who come and collect them and take them home at the end of the month.

Surprisingly as yet we have seen little evidence of the waves of illegal immigrants in to the EU. I thought by now we'd have come across the odd lifejacket or rubber boat.

At the beginning of this trip I was mindful of the potential additional risks to ourselves given that desperate people do desperate things. It may be old fashioned but I see my role as getting us all back home safely, so it is a concern. With this in mind I think I've managed to work out the EU's strategy in the disgraceful Brexit so-called negotiations. It is as follows:

Over 1,000,000 immigrants were granted EU citizenship in 2017. So that will be a large chunk of all those whom the EU were incapable of stopping from crossing their borders illegally a couple of years ago. Most of them hoping to get in to the UK, but had to settle for Germany among a number of other EU nations.

But now there is hope for them.

As part of the Brexit negotiations the EU has demanded that EU citizens should have freedom of movement during the two-year Brexit transition period and to which, as usual, we have foolishly agreed.

This will now give Brussels three whole years to 'process' the rest of the illegal migrants who arrived in the EU and give them shiny new EU passports. Once they’re in possession of them they’ll arrive here in the UK as they had always intended, the EU will finally be rid of them, and there will be nothing we can do about it.

Add to that Comrade Corbyn and his old squeeze Diane  Abbot's new immigration policy, which is that there won't be one. Absolutely anybody will be able to arrive from absolutely anywhere with a skill and understanding of the English language or not, and immediately enjoy all the benefits of UK citizenship from day one. Except that they'll be going straight to the top of the Council House list.

Think we currently have a shortages of GP’s, hospital beds, schools and housing? I think this is just the start of something the young people of our country will pay a terrible price for, and I truly feel sorry for them.

Off me soapbox then, and we'll be off for another quick walk around the local community before returning for a coffee and a sedative, for tomorrow is the day that we attempt to get out of here without going back in to the mountains. My palms already beginning to sweat at the thought of it.

TUESDAY 22-5-18

What a lovely peaceful night's sleep we had. Well apart from me disturbing The Chef with my snoring from time to time and she disturbing mine. Our comfort was aided by the deployment of my hovercraft engine which fanned nice cool air over us throughout the night.

The campsite awoke slowly, presumably because there was nothing to get up in a hurry for. There's only the beach one hundred yards away and that's it.

Today was chores day and I set about rigging up a washing line and then getting my bits washed followed by The Chef, who seemed to have far more than me. Then we stripped the vehicle out and thoroughly cleaned the bathroom, floors, carpets and spray polished the woodwork and glass. All a pain but working together it doesn't take too long and it's important that it's done, because things can easily get dirty with constant use in such a confined space.

The rest of the day has been spent sitting around and reading. I did bash out a couple of emails regarding the gas problem, one to the folk who fitted the isolator valve and one to the manufacturer of the exterior barbecue gas outlet, where I suspect my problem lies.

We have been joined by numerous more motorhomes down our cul-de-sac today. A couple of dog-loving Dutch vehicles and no doubt the rest are Germans.

Searching through the books cupboard I came across a Michelin map of Greece on which I had highlighted all the potential locations to visit. Luckily it gives far greater detail regarding roads throughout the country, and so tomorrow I shall be  going up to Reception to establish the best route north from here. For here is as far south as we go on this trip. I don't think I could cope with another day like yesterday. Incidentally our satnav is a 'Snooper' - don't ever buy one.

This evening the poor Chef has had to cook chicken drumsticks in our little electric fan oven because we have no barbecue, followed by a nice walk out to the small local community and our return was along the beach. Not exactly 'Shirley Valentine', but in the world of Showbiz it was probably filmed in Eastbourne anyway.

Hopefully I'll have more to write tomorrow 'cos now it's getting late.

Stadium and Gymnasium complex

Roman villa

MONDAY 21-5-18

I shall be glad when today is over. Bedtime can't come soon enough. What a bloody day.

Last night we moved the motorhome back to the marina complex in Nafplio being careful to avoid the area the local fishermen seem to regard as their own, and parked further in to the complex.

We did manage to get to sleep before being awoken by I assume was the Nafplio Hell's Angels. They had parked up behind us somewhere and being extremely noisy, probably deliberately, I think that's what these nerds get off on. In the end, at about 03:00 I got up bollicky-buff, opened the screen covers and moved the motorhome far away from those goons. I could still hear them but nothing like as bad. At about 04:00 they were off, engines revving through the roof as they left the car park, and I could still hear them as they screamed  through the town. Needless to say the brave local cops were nowhere to be seen, but I tell you what if one of those bikers had opened a folding chair and sat down they'd have been there like a shot.

Up at 08:00 and feeling tired we got scrubbed up before making our way to the supermarket just up the road. Fortunately they had most of what wanted, which was then topped up by items from the Lidl store on the road out of town.

Then we were off to Ancient Messene, now confusingly known as Ithόmi, named after the mountain that sits overhead.

Much of the journey was made on the toll road before heading off in to the mountains to reach our destination. Now today there have been two routes to reach a destination, the sane sensible route which is taken by just about every man and his dog on God's planet, and then there's our satnav's. You wouldn't believe the route it took us given that it's loaded with our weight and dimensions. I swear the single track mountain roads with sharp hairpins and potholes are for the exclusive use of the local goat herders, but no, today it was our privilege to share them.

Finally we arrived at our destination - Ancient Messene. It was a sod to find the car park, but after lunch and having consulted Google maps online we had a second attempt and were successful. On arrival at the ticket office we were told that the entrance fee was twelve Euros each. I told The Chef I wasn't paying that, so we were then told that if we were EU citizens over 65 years of age we qualified for half price tickets. Proof supplied and money handed over we had a wander round.

I have to say that for a pile of glorified rubble it was quite impressive, though I wish these people had built their indulgences much closer to a major road (and downhill). It was so hot, well in to the thirties, and eventually we tired and called it a day. Then we headed even further south to a campsite we'd found in the ASCSI book near Finikounda.

Oh what joy we had, if ever there was a journey which confirmed we had bought the worst ever satnav then this was it. It continually took us off the main road to route us through the local community with its narrow streets and parked cars, many double parked, only to rejoin that same main road further along. It did it to us on many occasions. When we thought things couldn't get worse it took us back up in to the mountains again for the final 15 miles or so to our destination. We were looking down at the coastline some miles away making us realise just how far inland the satnav had bought us. Needless to say there were looks of amazement on the faces of the locals as we weaved and bumped our away along their goat tracks.

Eventually we arrived here at Camping Thines I think it's called. Friendly enough but we're only here for a couple of days to relax and regain our sanity.

Tonight was to be a Barbecue, however we have the old problem back with the gas supply to the exterior barbecue point. Whether or not the refilling of the gas cylinder effected it or not I don't know. The Chef was stuck with having to cook two large pork chops, chips and mushrooms in  our tiny electric oven, which she managed bless her.

Tomorrow is chores day, one of those chores will be to try and sort out the gas problem Needless say we shall be returning to the people who service such things when we return to the UK. I may not have a smile on my face when I arrive there.