We travelled all of 40km from Methoni to Koroni yesterday, alnong a very winding, but mercifully empty, road that took us over the spines from the westernmost finger of the Peloponnese to the next large bay.
That took us to the ancient town (well, they’re all ancient, no?) of Koroni. It too has a marvellous Venetian fortress overlooking the town, which, unfortunately, is in poor state of repair. Again, just really impressive the way the walls and towers rise from sea level, but a bit saddened to see so much of the curtain wall collapsed, and significant damage to the main walled structure itself.
The town was pretty much what we had been anticipating for small villages along the coast, but perhaps in better repair and with a sense of more money spent on infrastructure than I had anticipated. Narrow streets paralleled the quay but seemed more optimistic than similar towns in Italy. Perhaps that’s what it means to be Greek?
Out for dinner at a very Greek restaurant (ie catering for Greeks rather than on the harbour catering for visitors): €2.50 for half litre of wine, €5 for delicious stuffed tomatoes and green pepper, €8.50 for lamb shanks – I think that, even with our €450 ferry costs we’ll still be looking good in this month’s budget. We’ve also filled our fridge with essentials from the supermarket, such as 5 litres of white wine (€10!! Sorry New Zealand, but it don’t got to be boutique Chardonnay all the time!), 1kg of home made olives (€5), and, today, a pile of strawberries for… yes, you guessed right, €5.
Today’s drive of 45km was a little more challenging and took over an hour, even though I managed to hit 60km/h on the two straight sections. Driving through towns can be a little stressful. There are not many towns where the main street actually allows two cars to pass each other. To add to that, I’m constantly met by cars who insist on scrambling towards me, then stopping dead in the street unable to decide how to now scrape by. I have become the most courteous driver in Greece, happily pulling into parking bays to allow oncoming traffic to squeeze by – but you can end up parked all day if you don’t venture down the road yourself!
Camping at Koroni was a little … rustic. Our need to empty our toilet cassette means two nights free camping followed by a night in a campsite, pretty much determined by the complete absence of dumping facilities along the coast, and I couldn’t be bothered sneaking our cassette into public toilets or gas station toilets. If you can bear with me, please explain how this toilet designer was allowed near pen and paper: Imagine looking at the toilet bowl from the front towards the back. Like a medieval castle’s glacis the porcelain slopes from the top under the water cistern, towards the front of the bowl, in the process passing directly underneath your bottom. The waste pipe is located right at the front of the toilet ie towards your knees should you be seated. If you’ve imagined this correctly, you would have a grimace about now as you imagine where your deposits now land. Add to that a trickle of water dripping out of calcified pipes and the result is, clearly, a mess. I may well start a separate page on toilets because, for all the horror they can generate, they really are needed.
Koroni also seems to be the country’s cat capital – never seen so many cats in one town, slinking about and begging for scraps. Again I’m a little sorry that the numerous red tailed hawks seem reluctant to take a chance on a feline feed. This fellow seemed comfortable.
Tonight we are camped just up from the beach. Weather is a little grim – breeze blowing, overcast, and the mountains just to the North-East are still snow-covered. Campers just across the narrow hump-backed bridge from us who have been coming this way for 30 years are complaining this is the coldest April they’ve ever had. Hmmm – will get better sometime.