From east to west coast Greece

Igoumenitsa Travel Blog

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Snow in Greece in May

One more day and night in Greece.  Andrew has found what we hope will be a great car ferry trip from Igoumenitsa (love saying that name) to Venice, Italy.  It is a fairly new route but it will save us quite a bit of driving and put us in a part of Europe that we intended to see anyway.  We cross the Olympus mountain ranges and there are many snow capped mountains in this range.  Temperature is 26oC and there are mountains 2,204 metres high.  More lovely name places we pass through like Trikala and Larisa.  Roads snake through the range and one hairpin bend is so sharp that there is a roundabout on the outside edge that one has to do a 360 o turn around so that you can continue on down without falling off the edge!  Speed limits drop to 10 kms per hour.

somewhere in the crossing from east to west
  At Ioannina we follow the map to an expressway but there are huge sections uncompleted and we are frequently sent back to the minor road.  Great tunnels are being constructed and once they are finished this will be a great route. 

Make it into Igoumenitsa before 5 pm and book a passage with Aneke Lines for the next day departing at 8.30am.  I have to help out to clarify Andrew's accent as when he asks for a passage for 2 people and a car, one of the clerical staff has silent hysterics.  Think she thought he wanted to take a cow with us!  Wiser after the last trip about booking deck passage or Pullman we find there is only deck or cabins for the 24 hour journey so we opt for deck class.  Top up with diesel at a garage and get advice for a nearby campsite we know exists.

me swimming in Igoumenitsa at our camp site
  Seven kms around the coast at Katari Beach on a very steep hillside is a superb camp.  Yes, they had terraced site with olive, mulberry and eucalypts plus there were huge bushes of rosemary and loquat trees in fruit.  First we have to swim in the clear waters at the private beach.  Wash the van and try to remove some of the white scrape from the Athens event and put on a load of washing.  Have dinner in the camp's restaurant, grilled shrimp, mousaka, chips and a greek salad.  As we travelled through the Olympus mountains there were many roadside fruit stalls and we bought fresh cherries and a jar of peeled and cored apple simmered whole in honey syrup.

Find that my burgundy Thai fishermen's pants went into the wash by mistake and everything is pink!  Andrew looks great in pink socks.

Andrew checking out the snow
  We have decided to sleep in the van to get a quicker getaway in the morning but are tormented by mosquitoes all night.  On the impossibly steep mountain above our heads there are goats and cows!!  I listen to their bells tinkling in the night and wonder if the cows will fall off and land on us.  The goats can do this but cows?

Breakfast on those honeyed apples and greek yoghurt, pack up and are out of the park by 7 am having paid the night before.  Down at the new port the military police check our passports, ask us where we have been in Greece and ask if we are a married couple.  Phew!  I didn't mention Volos as there seemed to be a Military base there and some spots on the coast road had signs saying "Photographs forbidden".

Our car ferry
  Wait on the huge dock with a couple of cars and quite a few trucks as we see the ferry come in, turn andback in.  A couple of cars disembark and we are waved on.  We pay 45 euros each plus a little less for the car, I think.

Explore a little, watch Corfu as we steam past.  Have a light 2nd breakfast at 9.30am then watch as we pass countries such as Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Albania & Bosnia Hersegovia.  Andrew explores.  Get a phone call from Australia from a bank asking if Andrew is in Greece as they have activity from there on his account.  I confirm that we were but are now headed to Italy again.  That makes them happy.  We meet a lovely young couple and baby daughter from Prague.  Martin gives us lots of good advice.

thesnowy mountain range we crossed
  They lived in the USA for a time and before we leave they give us his mobile number incase we need advice once we get to Prague.

This time there aren't Pullman seats to bed down in.  There is a large, comfortable lounge bar with 4 TV sets going on two Greek stations.  It appears they are televising the rehersal for the Eurovision Song Contest and there appears to be a drama with one of the Nordic countries contestant.  She has been bawling her eyes out and her thick eye make-up and some fancy face paint is smeared all over her face and her false eyelashes are peeling off as she lashes out at a TV crew.  I wish I understood Greek.!!

The young couple have been told that they cannot sleep in the lounge bar area so they have picked out a corridor where they plan to bed down.  There are very few passengers on board and most head off to their cabins while we lie on the comfy couches in the lounge bar.  No one moves us but in peak season I would imagine it would be strictly forbidden.  Wake early and go out on deck were some people have obviously slept on slatted benches and take in the most incredible view.  We are about 7 storeys up in height and we are sailing up a huge canal with Venice on our starboard.  Courier boats are chugging along laden with parcels for delivery.  Early morning joggers are running on canalside paths and school children on the port  side are waiting for their school bus.  What an inexpensive cruise!

 

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Snow in Greece in May
Snow in Greece in May
somewhere in the crossing from eas…
somewhere in the crossing from ea…
me swimming in Igoumenitsa at our …
me swimming in Igoumenitsa at our…
Andrew checking out the snow
Andrew checking out the snow
Our car ferry
Our car ferry
thesnowy mountain range we crossed
thesnowy mountain range we crossed
Igoumenitsa
photo by: icelady