SATURDAY 22-4-23

It was a peaceful night for us both, made more pleasurable because Quasimodo didn't go ringing the bells on the church next door this morning.

We were to spend today just chilling and doing some chores to get us ready to go back on the road again tomorrow.

It has been quiet in the campsite today because all of the Dutch, both in groups and independent travellers left the camp this morning right under the nose of the Germans. Not only that but the French group have also left. So I guess most campers view Athens as a two night stay.

After scrubbing up we set about the housework, interspersed with periods of sitting down and doing nothing sat in our loungers.

The weather forecast was for sunshine for much of the day followed by one spot rain and then thunderstorms. Well, they were right on all counts, but thankfully the rain and storms crept up on us slowly and so we could prepare for it.

Late afternoon we popped to the supermarket up the road for a few bits and a pack of six two-litre bottles of water. My word, water is heavy stuff, one kilo per litre, so that was a load of 12 kilos (26lbs), needless to say, I let The Chef carry the rest of the shopping.

As the storm clouds gathered we began to put stuff away. I was particularly keen to put away the large mat before it got wet, as I wasn't sure when we would be getting it out next.

Our very nice German neighbours across the way had set off for their second day in Athens leaving their washing on a line. As storm clouds gathered, and it began to rain, I grabbed a bin liner and took their line of washing down, folded it as best I could and put it in the bag, hiding it under a table.

Acts of kindness like this was the norm in the days I went camping back in the late sixties and early seventies. All campers looked out for one another and we'd always re-peg other campers guy ropes if the wind got up and they were out, etc. These days nobody gives a fig or their neighbours. In fact I'm pretty sure that since we left the EU, our European cousins don't even make the effort to say good morning to us anymore. Never mind, that says more about them than it does about us, and that's why I refer to our neighbours as 'very nice' because the husband took the trouble to say 'hello' after they had parked up, and had a bit of a chat, and his wife joined us. That's how it used to be between us all, whatever nationality, but it does seem to be missing now sadly.

A couple of days ago The Chef bought a loaf of bread from a shop which was really dense, I mean REALLY dense. So much so that having had it for lunch we concluded that we could have had a sandwich of just two slices, cut it in half and shared it. So today, with the leftovers she made a bread and butter pudding. This delectation was to be the dessert after enjoying Spaghetti Bolognese, and a couple of glasses of liquid grapes.

Despite the cost, I'm pleased we stayed the extra day and had some chill time. We enjoy the cut and thrust of 'wild camping' but it can be quite tiring. No matter what security measures you have in place you tend to sleep with one ear on what may be going on.

I'm hoping, it being a Sunday, the roads are quieter and we can escape Athens without too much grief. We approached from the west and are leaving the campsite heading eastwards so I guess we'll see quite a lot of the city.

Hopefully now, the trip will get less urban and after crossing on to the Peloponnese Peninsular in a few days, we'll find that quiet beach where we can have a barbie etc.

In the news, I was very sorry to read of the death of Barry Humphries, the Australian comedian who created the characters Dame Edna Everage, and Sir Les Patterson, Australian cultural attaché. I've been a fan for years. He was a very cultured man, which is often the case with these comedians. I do hope they bring out an extended DVD of his best moments.

So it's back on the road tomorrow. What could possibly go wrong?



Spot The Chef!

FRIDAY 21-4-23

There is no excuse for oversleeping here at Camping Athens, as we have a church and its bell tower just over the wall from the bathroom block, not one hundred yards away. The first clanging was at 07:00, and I think the final one was at 08:00.

That first clang was my prompt to get out of bed and get rid of the black waste (loo cassette), then it was over for a shower, having the place to myself.

We were off to Athens today, but we wanted to get the washing done before we left. The washing sinks are large affairs over at the main bathroom block, but they only offer a cold water tap. Not good enough I'm afraid, not at thirty-five euro's a night. So it was over to our bathroom block with the washing, washing liquid and two buckets. The clothes were washed in one bucket which was sat in a washing up sink, wrung out and then placed in the second bucket. After two rinses it was all done.

Yesterday we had considered stringing a washing line between two olive trees running between our vehicle and the neighbours but thought that was a bit cheeky. By this morning the neighbours had put one up there instead. We're happy to use our folding airer when there isn't much to washing to do.

Eventually we were ready to head off in to the city centre. The last time we came here it was just a matter of jumping on a bus down the road, paying the fare in cash, and getting off in the heart of things. Now, thanks to progress, we have to catch a bus to the railway station, and from there catch the Metro to the Acropolis. But before we could do that we had to walk about three hundred metres down the road in the wrong direction and then cross the six-lane road to buy two 24-hour tickets for transport around Athens. The crossing was akin to putting a pelican crossing across the M25. It would be technically legal to use, but insane. I think in the end we played 'dodge the streams of traffic in both directions'.

With our two transport passes at €4.20 each, we were soon hopping on a bus a stone's throw away from the ticket machine. By the end of the journey I was sympathetic to the life of a bus driver in Athens.

Fortunately the Metro station entrance was very close to where we were dropped off, and as we made our way to the Acropolis station we calculated that we had five stops to make. We needed to know that because we didn't know what the station that we got on at was called.

We were making for the Kallimarmaro Stadium, somewhere I fancied visiting but never quite got there the last time we were here. The stadium occupies the exact site of the original Panathenaic Stadium which was built in 330-329BC. It was first reconstructed for gladiatorial contests, then rebuilt in white marble. Neglected for many years, it was restored for the start of the first modern Olympic Games on 5th April 1896.

Being old gits we got in for half price, ten euro's in total, and that's with an audio guide each thrown in. It is an impressive building and we spent a while there. I wanted to photograph the two thrones in the front row, but they were being occupied by a couple of yanks, and after realising they weren't budging I had a word with them so that I and others could take pictures of the seats. The request wasn't too well received by Fanny from Arkansas, but I wasn't there to work around them.

After a good look around we had a wander towards the Acropolis with the magnificent Pantheon built on it. The last time we were here it was covered in a lot of scaffolding, but less so today. It looks as if it has been sandblasted, which makes it look just a little too new. We had no intension of going up there today. It's quite a steep hike to get up there. The Greeks are clever enough to put the ticket office at the bottom so that they've already got your money should you suffer a cardiac arrest on the way up.

It was lunchtime and we decided to treat ourselves to lunch and both very much enjoyed a Lamb Souvlaki, served with roast vegetables and fries, plus a drink each. It all came to thirty-six euro's which we were happy to pay. We had enjoyed it and hadn't felt ripped off.

It wasn't long after wards that we decided to make our way back 'home'. By then it was pretty warm and we didn't see the point of aimlessly walking around. Had we been interested in museums, then we could have stayed all day.

It was the same routine for the return journey, with us eagerly keeping an eye out for the campsite coming up to that we could ring the bell.

Back home we sorted the washing and bits, and I had to take a look at the security lock that goes across the rear garage door. Before we went out we had a tense period when I couldn't gain access to the garage as the lock was playing up. Had we not been able to get in there we would have been in serious pooh. Fortunately it looks as if the key has suffered wear over the years, and having replaced it with the new spare and lubricated everything I think it's sorted, though I think we'll try and minimise the number of times we lock it up. When we get home the lock will be replaced.

We are staying a third night so that we can have a rest and chores day ready to get back on the road again.

Incidentally, the Dutch group of eight, crept out of camp at 08:55 this morning trying not to be spotted by the Germans.

THURSDAY 20-4-23

It had been a fairly cold night, I think due to our altitude in the village. The Chef didn't have a very good night. I thought it was pretty quiet, I suppose I must have slept through any disturbances, though I did hear two or three more coaches arrive in the car park from about 06:30.

It was shower time this morning, followed by a demonstration of my green credentials by watering the sparse grass behind the vehicle using the grey water.

Soon after 09:00 I was in the Vodaphone shop asking them to sort out my problem. My word, they had to scratch their heads with that one, and spent ages on the phone to their Customer Services department. In the end I think they sorted it out, but I can't be sure as I've yet to test it. On reflection, given this is the second data SIM card I've bought over here, I think I would have been better off giving that amount of money to 3-Mobile, who, for every Pound I add to the account, let me spend just fifty -pence of it on coverage because I'm in alien territory.

I thought it would be a good idea to continue our journey to Athens along the road we travelled yesterday rather than head east and join the toll road. On reflection that wasn't a good move really because we spent a lot of the first part of the journey up in the mountains twisting and turning on steep roads with lots of tight hairpin bends, the worst combination being a very tight hairpin bend on a steep hill. You have to slow for the corner, but then hope you've enough oomph to keep climbing as you come out of it.

We entered Athens from the west, which is the side of the city where the campsite is located so that worked out well and we didn't have to pay a penny in toll fees.

The section of three lane motorway we joined out of town, just continued in to the city, with the lanes getting narrower, and the nearside lane having cars half parked on the pavement and half parked on the road, which isn't helpful. In the end I just stayed in the middle lane until I needed to turn, and to hell with them all.

We arrived here at Camping Athens (N38.008696° E23.671740°) just before lunchtime. We parked up outside and I stayed with the vehicle while The Chef popped up the road for a few bits of shopping. While she was gone the owner slid open the large security gate and invited me in to look at a suitable pitch, an offer I couldn't really refuse. Needless to say The Chef was back and standing outside the locked vehicle when I returned.

Now there's one thing I find very irritating, and that's when an owner insists on giving me directions in to the pitch. You drive hundreds, if not thousands of miles to get there, and suddenly they think you're incapable of getting the vehicle between two olive trees. The Chef and I could have had it sorted in a fraction of the time.

In the past three days we have seen just one other motorhome, and that was at a toll booth where we had picked a faster lane and left it behind. Here at Camping Athens things are much busier. The last time we were here the place was overrun with Dutch motorhomes, today, ditto. They are travelling both as individuals and as groups. Visiting Athens for a Dutch motorhomer must be a rite of passage. On top of that we haff lots of der folk from der Farderland, plus a large group arrived this afternoon from France, most of the vehicles being  big type A vehicles.

This afternoon has been spent in the sunshine reading our books. I have just started reading 'Agent ZigZag' recommended to me by a friend and former colleague.

This evening the occupants of four Dutch vehicles, who are travelling together (I think it is because they are afraid that the nasty Germans will bully them if they travel alone), sat outside one of the vehicles in their folding chairs, spilling over in to the next pitch occupied by a tent, planning tomorrows adventure. After the meeting, chaired by the ugly bird who bought along the crisps, they folded up their chairs and went back to their own vehicles. What's the betting, no matter what time we set out we meet all of them at the bus stop?

The cunning plan is that first thing, we'll do the laundry, then set off in to town for a whole day of playing tourist. We initially booked for two nights, but I'm now thinking we'll stay another night, just so that we can spend a whole day chilling out sat in our reclining chairs soaking up the sun, that's if the weather forecasts are correct.


Last night's entertainment whilst parked up in our lay-by on the toll road, was the film 'Elvis' which I'd bought along amongst the DVD collection. Neither of us was quite sure about it after watching it, though it was very entertaining.

The night was reasonably quiet, though not as quiet as it could have been had we not had HGV's pulling up behind us for a break and then moving off again - but it was cheap camping.

We had to skip the shower this morning as we were getting low on water, but that did save us some time.

The cunning plan today was to leave the toll road at the next exit just south of Lamia, and make our way south on a minor road in order to enjoy some scenery. That turned out to be a very good decision.

First we climbed in to the mountains and then back down again. The journey was to be something like fifty miles from our exit from the toll road to Thiva (Thebes). What a delight. I love travelling on toll roads because they are safe, stress free, easy to navigate, absent of speed humps, zebra crossings and speed cameras, and you can eat the miles up when it is required. But you really don't see anything, except tarmac. Today was so different. The speed limits were low all of the way which removed the pressure to 'go with the traffic', ok, so we didn't pay much heed to the limits but neither did anybody else.

As we passed through Amfiklia (other spellings are available) we came across a garage selling Autogas (liquid propane gas) and today that was on our shopping list, having recently emptied our first of two tanks. The very helpful and friendly chap there filled us up using one of our three adapters, and having been cheeky enough to ask, allowed us to fill up our fresh water tank while we were there. He got a two euro tip, only because The Chef couldn't lay her hands on a one euro coin at the time.

Onward and upward, and eventually we arrived at today's destination, Thiva (Thebes). I had highlighted it as a potential stopping off point to view the ruins of  some temple or other, but yesterday I spotted an online review saying that you can hardly call a field with a number of rocks spread about a ruin of anything.  Suddenly playing the role of tourist there took a back seat.

We rolled in to town and parked up at probably the only car park in town then had lunch.

So a bit about Thebes:

In the Third Sacred War (356–346 BC) with its neighbour Phocis, Thebes lost its predominance in central Greece. By asking Philip II of Macedon to crush the Phocians, Thebes extended the former's power within dangerous proximity to its frontiers. The revulsion of popular feeling in Thebes was expressed in 338 BC by the orator Demosthenes, who persuaded Thebes to join Athens in a final attempt to bar Philip's advance on Attica. The Theban contingent lost the decisive Battle of Chaeronea and along with it every hope of reassuming control over Greece.

Philip was content to deprive Thebes of its dominion over Boeotia; but an unsuccessful revolt in 335 BC against his son Alexander the Great while he was campaigning in the north was punished by Alexander and his Greek allies with the destruction of the city (except, according to tradition, the house of the poet Pindar and the temples), and its territory divided between the other Boeotian cities. Moreover, the Thebans themselves were sold into slavery.

Alexander spared only priests, leaders of the pro-Macedonian party and descendants of Pindar. The end of Thebes cowed Athens into submission. According to Plutarch, a special Athenian embassy, led by Phocion, an opponent of the anti-Macedonian faction was able to persuade Alexander to give up his demands for the exile of leaders of the anti-Macedonian party, and most particularly Demosthenes and not sell the people into slavery.

The modern city contains an archaeological museum, the remains of the Cadmea (Bronze Age and forward citadel), and scattered ancient remains. Modern Thebes is the largest town of the regional unit of Boeotia (and has a Vodaphone shop).

After lunch we went for a wander around. There's not much to see really, and certainly not worthy of any great effort to arrive here. We  did however come across a Vodaphone shop and I cursed that I hadn't bought my Mi-fi with me to get the problem looked at. When I installed the Turkish Vodaphone SIM it worked right away after the dude in the back street shop set it up for me, but the one I bought in Alexandroupoli just isn't cutting the mustard. The young lady in the shop didn't instil confidence in me when she set it up, and although the Mi-fi will connect to the laptop , it doesn't connect to the internet.

After spinning out our amble around town we made our way back and put our feet up for a read. I'm just finishing off 'The Hard Way' by Mark 'Billy' Billingham, one of the SAS staff members on the Channel 4 programme 'Who Dares, Wins'. How privileged we are to have such dedicated, brave and skilled people working around the clock in all theatres of conflict and need, keeping us safe as we sleep. Compare that with the selfish, leftie teachers, junior doctors, civil servants, railway workers, nurses etc etc who are striking, and putting us all at risk whilst earning far, far more than those who protect us whilst working in the shadows. They should be ashamed of themselves.

Since the beginning of the financial crisis I was donating five pounds of food a week to the local food bank, because I knew that a lot of good, hard working people would find themselves in financial difficulty trying to raise a family on minimum wage. I gave far more at Christmas. That all ended when I read that macho Fireman who do nothing most of the time, except polish things out of boredom and play volleyball, then set off for their second jobs after work, were claiming to be so hard up they were having to go to food banks. Nurses were claiming the same. All of them were earning far more than I get in pensions, and I thought to myself 'You buggers will eat my food yet put my life at risk while you go out on strike'. So that was it. No more donations, and I am so sorry to those who are in true need and would appreciate a little help.

....................... I digress.

We popped out again later in order to visit the Vodaphone shop, this time armed with the Mi-fi containing the SIM, my receipt and the paperwork which came with the SIM...............They were shut, and so we went for a coffee.

Then it was home for a sit down. The young lady at a restaurant thought that Vodaphone  may reopen at about 17:00-17:30, and so whilst The Chef prepared this evenings meal I made my way back to the shop at 17:30.

By then I had established that the evening's delectation was to be Thai Green Curry. Ah, I thought, a drop of white wine might go well with that. So I told The Chef that I would get one of my Lidl cheapies out of the rear garage before I left for the shop - but I forgot.

Needless to say Stavrosmobile didn't open at 17:00 or 17:30, and with dark clouds looming overhead I decided to call it a day, vowing in my own mind to be on their doorstep at 09:00 tomorrow morning. Normally they would get the Victor Meldrew approach, but this problem wasn't of their making, and so tomorrow I will be nice to them.

On my return I asked The Chef for the key to the back garage so that I could get a bottle of wine out. "I've already done it, and it's in the fridge" she told me. Good girl, I thought.

Just before the meal was to be served deep in conversation I opened the wine and poured a glass (The Chef declined, preferring water). Gosh I thought. The wine is from Cassis, in southern France where we'd visited on the last trip, and where I'd bought a bottle of wine, the most expensive bottle of wine I've ever bought, and had bought with us to enjoy at some point on the trip. I turned the bottle round so that I could read the whole label. Oh dear, bugger. My darling Chef had bought in that bottle and I was about to consume it with a curry.

Oh well, the curry was delicious, And the wine? Very nice, and would have been even nicer if it had been given more time to chill and had not been served with a curry.

Tomorrow will be a day of mourning.

This evening has been spent indoors, just like all the others, though tonight it's now pouring with rain, and so we're in the best place.

Tomorrow we strike out for the campsite in Athens .... what could possibly go wrong?

TUESDAY 18-4-23

I didn't have a very good night's sleep. The original plan was that we'd stay parked on the beach, but with the rain and thunderstorms I was fearful we wouldn't get off again without being at the mercy of Stavros Recovery. This resulted in us spending the past two nights in the municipal car park next to the promenade.

Last night the canine mafia were staking out their territory with their bark, bark, barking. You know how it is, one starts and then all the others join in. What didn't happen was the night of rain from 02:00. Another useless weather forecast.

Today's cunning plan was to make our way towards Athens. I could have made it all the way there in one heavy hit, but then we would have had to find somewhere to park up for tonight, before going to Camping Athena a day early in the hope they could take us. It's thirty-five euros a night, and arriving tomorrow with a forecast of rain all afternoon and evening didn't seem like value for money, so a two day trip it was to be.

We skipped a shower as we only had half a tank of water left, and we needed to find somewhere on the toll road to top up, but until then we needed to play safe.

Ahhhhh! I can hear you asking 'So what happened about the lost keys?'. Well, having searched high and low since discovering their loss, and already having primed myself to unload much of the rear garage locker to reach the safe which has spare keys in it, I had one more place to check. Once I had established that my darling Chef had finished with the rubbish bag (we carry enough for a fresh one every day, but can often make one last two or three days), I donned my pair of thick rubber gloves which I use to empty the toilet (black) waste, and took the bag to the dumpster behind us. I slowly emptied it all, examining every piece of waste, and there near the bottom of the bag ...... RESULT! I'm usually very careful regarding the safety of the keys, so I can only assume I threw the keys in the bin bag along with a paper hanky or two which I always us when we travel. Lesson learned there. The Chef gave them a good wash and they're now back in action, and if ever I go to Crete on holiday, somebody is going to get a keyring as a souvenir when we return.

Our first port of call was the local LIDL supermarket. We do shop at others but in this part of the world we like to use either them or Aldi, as they have familiar items for sale, basically we have more confidence buying from them.

We topped up with fresh provisions  as well as the important stuff like cans of beer, and I treated myself to three or four bottles of Greek white wine. What I've bought I've no idea, and if it can't be drunk we can use it to clean the loo.

Next it was to fill up with fuel. Fortunately quality fuels like Shell and BP are very competitively priced here, but only when they have some to sell. The first garage we pulled in to had a very helpful young lady who told us, having put the pump nozzle in to the vehicle, and gone to enquire about the problem, coming back to tell us they had  run out of 'normal' diesel  at €1.56/£1.38 a litre, and would we like to buy the more expensive diesel rocket fuel instead? Well no we wouldn't thank you very much and we were on our way. We were luckier further down the road and were filled up by a nice young man who was even nicer when we gave him a one euro tip. The problem is, we don't know the protocol regarding staff who fill your vehicle for you. Do they expect a tip or not? Anyhow, we don't mind giving them a little something.

It took a long while to get around Thessaloniki, and the road surface was appalling in places, then when were on the toll roads, where the road surface in places was appalling ..... and then memories of previous trips came flooding back. As we headed south our vehicle moved from a Class 2 charge (class 1 being motorbikes) to Class 3, at the toll booths. Other than cars and motorbikes Class 3 covers everything else excluding HGV's and Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Mobile Launch Vehicles, which are Class 4. This makes a huge difference to the costs, and what added to the frustration was that before arriving at the toll booth they had the fees displayed, but on arrival there was another set of fees stuck to the side on the toll booth, staffed by people who were pleasant enough, but had no sympathy for the fact that we were being ripped off.

Having pulled over for lunch we debated the options with the aid of our Philip's 2023 Big Road Atlas Road Europe, and Google Maps. The problem was, at the progress we were making we could have been very close to Athens today, but didn't want to be. In the end, the new cunning plan was to leave the toll road (it's cost us €47 euros today just to get this far) just south of Lamia and drive on a, hopefully, decent road through Amfiklia to Thiva where we'll spend tomorrow night before heading off first thing to Athens. This, hopefully, will give us the opportunity to enjoy cruising along a minor road enjoying the views. There we'll rejoin the toll road for the final assault on Athens Wednesday morning.

We are spending the night in a lay-by just north of Lamia. We were originally parked in front of an  HGV, until I stepped out for a look, and found he had a refrigeration unit which meant the unit would be firing on and off all night long. So we moved further along until we found a spot, prompted by the Chef looking out of the habitation door, where we could park without stepping in to something unpleasant as we alighted.

I'm quite looking forward to tomorrow, naive fool that I am. Hopefully my onboard Media Director will capture a few images along the way.

MONDAY 17-4-23

The weather forecast yesterday was for rain starting at midnight and continuing right through the night and all day today, with the possibility of the odd thunderstorm. What we got was a little bit of rain during the night and awoke to a partly cloudy sky, which meant the other part was sunshine.

The rain we did have overnight created large puddles in the car park, with one especially large dollop right outside our habitation door, making it necessary for me to open the blinds and drive the vehicle further long the car park to a dry spot.

We decided to start the day with a nice hot shower before going for a walk to get some fresh air, though we wore our macs and carried umbrellas. We were heading for the nice bakers shop we'd seen back near the beach where we parked yesterday. Unfortunately when we arrived they were shut, which is understandable, they deserved a day off. On the way there we passed a fire engine which was pumping out somebody's flooded basement.

Walking back along the promenade I spotted some shop signs one block up from the beach and so we went to explore, and were rewarded for our efforts by a bakery at the top of the road. We bought a fresh loaf of bread and a couple of fancy cakes to have with a coffee.

We dropped the shopping off at the motorhome before then walking in the opposite direction past the restaurants we had seen yesterday. We were particularly interested in the two which were spit roasting lamb. Sadly, they weren't doing it today, if we came out later for a meal it would have to be something different.

We arrived home about ten minutes before it started raining, heavy rain showers with the odd thunderstorm thrown in.

The Chef prepared lunch and then we sat and looked at the road atlas and Travelscript. We both agreed we were fed up with the wet weather, we could get rain back home, and a lot cheaper too.

Then it was that coffee and cake. A big mistake. Neither of us enjoyed them, and they completely ruined our appetite, even hours later. So there will be no more of those on this trip. That lack of appetite resulted in our not wanting to go out for our evening meal, instead we'll have some soup and  bread. What a shame.

The heavy rain showers must have had a massive impact on the local restaurants today. There were quite a few people around a bit later on, but nothing like yesterday, which of course, on reflection, is when we should have gone out for our meal.

Whilst we were out, I treated myself to a new keyring, a tourists item with 'Crete' on it. Quite why they're on sale here I've no idea, but at least now I have something to attach spare keys to as my keyring has yet to be found. Had it been drier I would have emptied out part of the contents from the rear garage and gained access to our safe, in which I hope to find some spare keys, but had I done it today everything would have got covered in wet sand and gravel.

Tomorrow we're back on the road and heading towards Athens. We've decided we've had enough of the weather up this way and are going in search of sunshine and warmth. I have sent an email requesting a couple of nights at Camping Athens (formerly Athena), and we await their reply. Normally it shouldn't be a problem at this time of year, but this Easter holiday period has thrown everything, and it's possible they are full of families until this coming weekend.

I'm  allowing two days to get there. It could be done in one day, but I'm not going to do it. On leaving here we need to stock up at the local Lidl store before setting off as well as getting our hands on some more fuel and LPG, as we've just changed over to our second gas cylinder.

Who knows where we'll end up tomorrow night.


SUNDAY 16-4-23

Yesterday evening having posted yesterdays 'diary' two more motorhomes and a car and caravan joined us on our small car park. I said to The Chef that I couldn't see the local police accepting that, especially as tomorrow is Easter Sunday, and there is bound to be a big service across the road, with the congregation wanting to park their cars, and we'd all be moved on. I was for moving somewhere else, but The Chef was happy to sit it out and see what happened.

About an hour later both motorhomes were gone, so that took a bit of pressure off the situation.

Before going to bed I re-positioned the vehicle so that we were tucked in the corner of the car park and lined up with the exit, so that it the car park was crazy in the morning we could depart easily.

At about 23:20 I got up for a peek out of the kitchen window as I could hear voices. The car park was full, stuffed with cars for across the road. Then the chanting, or singing of text, I don't know what the Greek Church calls it, began, and went on and on. Then the drunken peg-sellers in that caravan returned home and one of them began singing, and then at about midnight we were entertained with numerous firecrackers being let off.

Needless to say we didn't wake up very early this morning, but still managed to get back on the road at a respectable time.

We were heading for Perea Beach, at a place called Nei Epivate (well that's what my phone says), south of Thessaloniki. There's no great reason for us being here, it's just somewhere to stop off, on the way to somewhere else.

En-route on the toll road we pulled in to a small rest area which had a toilet block. We are changing tactics now to insure we get a shower regularly without running out of water or having full tanks. Basically. we'll pull in to one, heat the water, have a shower and then top up the fresh water tank as well as dumping the grey and black tanks. On this occasion we skipped the shower, but did the rest.

We paid out a few euros at a number of toll booths, swiping a bank card as we went. I have no problem in paying a reasonable amount to use their toll roads, though having paid, I would have liked to have spent less time driving in the outside lane to avoid the lumps and bumps, presumably caused by the HGV's, in the nearside.

The traffic was very heavy as we skirted around Thessaloniki, but that was to be expected. Eventually we arrived at Perea Beach (N40.505057° E22.907357°) and were surprised to find that nobody else had yet been daft enough to park on the beach itself, so we were the first. The idea was that we would spend a couple of nights on it.

After lunch we went for a nice long walk along the promenade which, needless to say,  was full of restaurants. Unfortunately the further we walked, it didn't get any smarter. Never mind, we're just passing through.

On the way back we thought it would be nice to come down here and have a meal tomorrow. We'd seen a number of establishments spit-roasting whole lamb, and it smelt and looked so good....... we shall return.

Back 'home' I was confident we wouldn't be effected by any incoming tides which was just as well, as I hadn't bought along any oars.

The weather forecast for tomorrow is rain overnight and so I thought it prudent to move the vehicle, rather than get stuck on wet sand, and so we moved to a municipal car park (N40.508188 E22.923039) which we had passed whilst ambling along the promenade. It's a good location and puts us in a good position for the restaurants tomorrow, but now puts us about three-quarters of a mile from the bakers shop we were hoping to buy from tomorrow or when we leave.

So that's pretty much it for today, other than to mention that I seem to have lost/misplaced a keyring contaning two keys which I take out with me and which lock the habitation (front) door and the locker containing the service items  for gas, water and electricity. Normally they turn up, but thus far they haven't. Tomorrow, rain or not, I will have to strip 'stuff' out of the rear garage to gain access to the safe and the spare keys in there.

Finally, and with huge relief the Data SIM I bought from Vodaphone has now settled down and appears to give me what I've paid for which is 13Gb of data for one month, with the first ten days unlimited.

It's such a shame King Jug-Ears isn't having his coronation in that time, we could have watched some of it on BBC Iplayer.