We left Gytheio, safely negotiating the narrow sliproad off the peninsula, and drove 5 km along the coast to see the Dimitrios shipwreck which went aground in 1981 and has been left to the elements.
From there we called in at Lidl to stock up on groceries, and it was only a short drive from there to our next stop at Kokkinia, where we were surprised to find three British couples parked up with vans from Denmark and Sweden as well. We parked up between them along the beach and introduced ourselves.
As it was a lovely sunny afternoon, if a little windy, we got the chairs out for a while and read our books. It was lovely and quiet, apart from the sound of waves in the background, with the only disturbance caused by the shepherd herding his sheep and goat along the road past our vans. We’d only planned to stay for one night, but we quickly decided that we’d stay for a second night.
The next morning we set off for a walk into the village, which was a little further than we’d expected. Two miles later we arrived at the local cafe for a well deserved coffee, and gave their WiFi a bit of a hammering, downloading all our updates, books and magazines. The weather wasn’t so great in the afternoon so we spent the rest of the day in the van reading.
The next morning we said goodbye to our neighbours and set off towards Monemvasia. It’s an old town on an island connected to the mainland by a bridge (Monemvasia translates as “one entrance”). Motorhomes aren’t allowed on the island itself so we parked nearby and set off. On the way we spotted the van belonging to our German friends Reinhardt and Karo. They weren’t about, but we did bump into them as we were leaving.
The island’s quite big, so it took a good 20 minutes to walk uphill to the gateway of the town. Inside the walls was a labyrinth of narrow cobbled passageways, some lined with shops and cafés. The climb to the castle at the top was steep and rugged, so we gave that a miss and went for a coffee instead, sitting on a balcony overlooking the sea.
We’d planned to stay the night in Monemvasia but we didn’t like the parking area, and so we changed plan and moved on to the next stop at Sambatiki some 100 km away across some pretty steep mountains, watched over by herds of mountain goat. We arrived at Sambatiki not long before dark, and descended to our stop for the night overlooking the marina.
Yesterday morning we drove further round the coast to Paralia Agios Andrea, another picturesque and almost deserted marina, and had a restful day chilling out.
This morning we made the short journey to Nafplion. The town’s strategically well positioned, so it’s been a busy port since the Bronze Age, and it was also the first capital of Greece after declaring independence from Turkey. There’s a lot to see here, so we’ll be spending the next day or two exploring the town.