Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Greece 2020 . Pelopponnese

 Finally arrived at Camping  Kato Alissos our first Greek stop in the Pelopponese. This part of mainland Greece is characterised by it's three fingers. The Western "finger" backed by the Ionion Sea contains the best of the sandy beaches, beautiful weather without the wind! Kato Alissos is a good stop from the ferry at Patras as it's only a short drive and once there you feel like you have actually arrived in Greece. Fortified by a trip to Lidl en route we arrived and decided to stay 3 nights. 

The campsite is situated in an old olive orchard. Family owned it felt very safe with fabulous views across the bay from the restaurant. 

The site is very rural and basic but also very clean with loads of  shade.

The log store.

We had a lovely dinner here on our first night under the olive tree. The bar and restaurant opens at 5 pm each day. Fabulous views across the bay.

We even managed a paddle in the sea which was beautifully warm but rocky.

The beach here has suffered heavily from erosion. Derelict bars mark the spot where a  road used to be now washed away. It looked like the locals have tried to tidy up the beach. It didn't seem to put off daily swimmers.

A good start to our "beach days". I guess the only downside to this site is the mozzies, which love the shade and me. Also the early morning calls of the wild, roosters and barking dogs! We slept soundly.

This holiday we decided to have a beach holiday and stay longer at each site. Our next site was down the road Gifla a resort camp Ionion Beach Camping. Not normally the kind of sites we stay on but this one is definitely up market and posh. Totally German but beautifully kept with amazing toilets and showers.

Dash cam of our arrival at Ionion Beach Resort.

We rocked up just in time to bag a premium beach side pitch. Only available for 3 nights though. It was a great spot backing the beach next to the beach bar and swimming pool. We spoiled ourselves for a few nights making use of all the facilities including the great restaurant. All very covid safe! There was no need to leave the resort.

The beach was good for swimming but rocky, beach shoes required.

Pool complete with jacuzzi and kiddies pool. There were a lot of young families on the resort, masses of large motor homes, best pitches all booked up. Sun beds and umbrellas bagged at dawn. Some sun beds even padlocked to the brollies ( just in case!) We were happy on our little pitch although we could have done with slightly more room. Overall a lovely few days and one we will return to on the way home ( even if it's just for the showers!)

Dash cam. Ionion Beach to Camping Erodios

Next beach, back to Camping Erodios near the resort town of Gialova ( pronounced Yay..lova) We stayed there last year and loved it. Again right on the beach, walking distance to the village, clean very well kept site. Here we stayed for two weeks. A bit of biking, swimming in the sea, exploring and chilling. The weather was glorious wall to wall sunshine usually in the 30's.

Where the wealthy hang out.

Just up from the campsite the beach is gently shelving and golden sands. A great favourite with the locals.

The sea is very clean and perfect for a daily dip. We tried to get a bit of exercise in a daily trek to the bar, a cycle ride up the track, beach ball in the sea. All totally exhausting. The campsite gradually thinned out and our pitch got bigger and bigger. We even got a sea view.

Dash cam. Erodios to Olympia.

Our next journey a few miles inland and back to the mountains of Olympia and Camping Alphios.

Camping Alphios is another one of our old favourites. Very friendly owners, good clean facilities and lovely well kept swimming pool. There is a 10 minute walk into Olympia, although a bit of a hike uphill to come back. We were really lucky when we arrived on our own on the site with the pool to ourselves. Beautiful views over the mountains. We stayed 4 nights in the end. Huge storm one night but he seemed to move around us. Wandered into Olympus for lunch one day , very quiet with no coaches .

Our pitch overlooking the mountains. 

Fabulous pool we had it all to ourselves.

During the dry season fire crew are positioned in strategic spots. A friendly bunch! I think they were a bit bored.

From Olympia we moved on back to Ionion Beach for four more nights. Enjoyed the beach, pool, restaurant and showers. We also got another beach side pitch, this time much cheaper as it was off main season and they remembered us! Following extensive hair washing, the showers are as good and clean as home we made for the coast again.

Dash cam. Olympia back to Ionion Beach.

 Heading North over the bridge at Patras and up to a beach site not too far from Pargas Sofa Beach.

Dash cam Ionion Beach to Camping Sofa

Again, very rustic but clean and friendly. A space in the olive grove by the private beach. There was also a very nice Taverna on site with home cooking.

Another pebble beach. Small but a sun trap.

Dash cam Camping Sofa Beach to Camping Elena Beach.

Two nights here and then we thought we would add a few more beach sites to our potfolio. So next stop just outside Igoumensita Elena Beach. Here we were actually on the beach. Lovely spot near a harbour so we watched all the boats in and out.

A delightful spot. Certainly on the return list. We had two very nice meals in the on site restaurant and survived another storm.

Elena Beach is a terraced site with loads of loos and showers. Lots of hot water. The owners are very friendly.

We couldn't get any nearer to the beach.

Dash cam Camping Elena Beach to Camping Drepanos

Finally we were off to our last Greek site the other side of Igoumensita Camping Drepanos. By a beautiful sandy beach. Again we managed a beachside pitch for two nights and with the help of ACSI it turned out the cheapest site of the holiday. Definitely win, win! Weather not as fabulous as last year but sun and showers were fine although we didn't manage a swim....too wimpy, it was a bit chilly!

Dash cam Camping Drepanos to the ferry at Igoumensita

Goodbye to Greece! Off to the ferry and back to Italy.

Dash cam .Off the ferry and onwards to San Marino.

Best beach pitches of the holiday, Ionion Beach and Elena Beach. 

Best site Erodius at Gialova, we spent two weeks there.

Best sandy beach Drepanos at Igoumensita. Looks like wild camping is being discouraged there as fines are being handed out. Good the campsite is lovely and good value for money.

Monday, 7 September 2020

Greece 2020. Ferry from Ancona.

 We were slightly apprehensive about getting the ferry to Greece. We had booked it in November As it turned out we didn't need to worry. Organisation at the port was relatively stress free, infact probably easier than last year as there were fewer travellers. We drove from San Marino , an easy drive that took just over an hour. We had filled out the Greek entry forms online before we left home and as we had the e-mail confirmation it made things relatively simple. The entry forms asked for a place we would stay, so we just used our first camp site address. 

Loading this time was straightforward and the ferry actually left on time. No Brits on board, mainly German campers and lorries. There was loads of space on the car deck.

Dashcam getting on the ferry for Patras from Ancona. Camping open deck.

The ferry was very clean, with sanitisers well in evidence. Masks had to be warn on board and there were regular messages reminding people! We had a meal in the canteen and later breakfast the next morning in the restaurant. We didn't think the food onboard was over priced and with our Anek Smart Card ( obtained last year ) we also got a discount! 

Goodbye Italy! We will be back in a month.

All in all, it was a pleasant trip if somewhat hot. We were so pleased with our fan, having an electric hook up meant we could leave it on all night. Camping on board, highly recommended! You are given an electronic pass to access the car deck and there is all night security.

After a good nights sleep in our own bed, we were ready for Greece. First stop for the boat was Igoumenitsa. We watched the unloading from the top deck in the sun. We were going on to Patras another 4 hours.

Hello Greece!

Unloading at Patras was quite easy this time. We had to turn on the deck but there was plenty of room. We had received our Q Code on our phone ( from our entry form) during the night. This was checked as you got off the boat. Well done the Greek Government your system works. As we left the port we were told to queue for a quick Covid test. No messing about here! The staff were all gowned up, a chair and table at the customs point and a quick throat swab taken. Painless and super quick.We should have asked what happened next, but we never received a phone call or e-mail so we guessed we were Covid free. Interestingly, most of the people being swabbed were non- Greeks and very few Germans. I suppose with a UK number plate we were bound to be picked!

Soon on our way to  our first Greek campsite. 

Dash cam of our journey to the campsite Kato Alissos.

A long journey but worth it for the sun, now in the 30's.Sun, sand, sea and Greek wine. Can't wait.

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Greece 2020 Italy


A dash cam of the journey through the Frejus Tunnel from France.

A drive through the mountains and  a trip through the Frejus Tunnel and before long we were in Italy. Heading for Asti and a camp site on a terrace over looking the vineyards. Camping Asti International. A beautiful day in a lovely spot.

We decided to take advantage of the sun and stay for a couple of days. We had a great pizza in the restaurant and the next morning wandered up the hill to the village. A typical Italian local place we had a look around and bought bread in the local shop. We also stopped at the wine bar and tried the local Asti wine. On the way back I sneakily tasted the grapes in the fields, they were incredibly sweet. 

A wander around the vineyards.

I only tasted two, the carrier bag was for the bread.

Settled in at Asti for a couple of days.

Feeling rested and tuned into Italy, the next morning we were on our way to Bologna for a one night stop on the way to San Marino.

Bologna is a convenient half way stop to the coast, easy to find just off the ring road. Usually we would have taken the bus into town but thought we should avoid towns and too much bus travel this trip. An uneventful night stop just a few too many biting creatures here! ( They do a mossie spray from time to time)

The Republic of San Marino, strictly not Italy. We found the campsite with ease, Madam Satnag was on good form this morning. A good restaurant, very reasonably priced and we were set for the next two days. Of course we did the trip up the mountain to San Marino Town, by bus. It was extremely busy and crowded. As we had seen most of the sites we did a quick tour, some window shopping and had a lovely cool drink in a shady bar. Not as many tourists as last time but still busy so we opted out of lunch and went back to the campsite for a rest!!

Nice pitch at San Marino relatively quiet.

A view from the top.

Wear comfortable shoes it says on the tourist info site. Do the locals know? Lots of beautiful people around in expensive clothes and shoes!

Social distancing! This concert looks like it may be fun.

Sign of the times. Says it all really!

Next stop Ancona and the ferry to Greece.