or Githeio… or Githio… or Gythia… Lots of different translations!
We’ll be wild camping for the next couple of weeks, parking up for free off the beaten track. First stop after leaving Kalamata was by the beach about a mile or so south of the village of Agios Nikolaos (aka St Nicholas!). The weather was supposed to cheer up but didn’t really – the heavy rain stopped, but it was still grey and overcast, with the odd shower. Keeping us company were a German van, which looked like it had been there for a while, and a funky French van painted green and purple, not unlike Scooby Doo’s Mystery Machine – a young couple with two toddlers.
After a swift lunch we walked along the seafront up to the village, spotting a couple of taps along the way – now that we’re wild camping there won’t be any service points, so we’ll need to sort out filling up with water and dumping our grey and black waste as we go. As expected there wasn’t much going on in the village, just a few bars and a supermarket were open, but it was a nice enough place, and a good walk.
Another thing with wild camping is that there’s no hook up. We’ve been pretty spoiled having electricity these past few weeks whilst staying on a campsite and at the marina, where in the evenings we watched quite a few DVDs including Season Three of Mad Men and the Bourne films trilogy. Now that we’re relying on the leisure battery, the crib board came out after dinner and Carol beat me 2-1 in a closely contested game
As there wasn’t much to do in Ag. Nikolaos, we only stopped the one night and yesterday morning we moved on, stopping to fill up with water first at one of the taps we saw the day before. The next stop was Areopoli, about an hour away along winding roads up and down the mountains. It’s a large village with a main square and is probably popular in the summer. Parked up on the road leading into the square was the Mystery Machine van we’d parked next to the day before, and we bumped into them – Jamie and Karen – in the square so stopped for a quick chat until the nippers started playing up.
After enjoying a good walk through the village, we went for a coffee and then headed back to the van for lunch. We’d planned to stay there for the night, but as we’d now seen the village we decided to move on to our next stop at Gytheio (or however you spell it).
We’re using Peejay’s Greek Stopovers as a reference for wild camping spots, and the stop at Gytheio is on a peninsula where there’s a small church and museum. When we pulled up Carol had a bit of a benny saying that we couldn’t possibly stay here as the sliproad to the peninsula was too narrow. I actually went and measured the road which, at 3.2m, gave almost a metre to spare – plenty of room! While we were sat there debating it, a German motorhome arrived and crossed the access road at a decent speed, and so I followed. The peninsula is lovely – very quiet, with picturesque views.
Gytheio is much larger than we were expecting – more small town than large village. We went for a walk into town, eyeing up potential eateries. Outside a couple of the tavernas we spotted octopus tentacles hung up on display. Greece is well known for its grilled octopus, a favourite of mine, but so far we’ve only seen frozen octopus on the menu. We checked out the menu at one of the tavernas, and that was today’s lunch sorted.
Walking back to the van, we said hello to some fellow motorhomers from Serbia who we’d seen in the museum at Olympia. Moments later we saw the couple from the German van – Reinhardt and Karo who we’d met in Pylos a couple of weeks ago – so stopped and chatted to them for a while. It’s a shame that I can’t speak better Germany as Karo is from old East Berlin, and I bet she has lots of interesting tales to tell.
Overnight it blew a gale, rocking the van about quite a lot, so neither of us had much sleep and woke up feeling jetlagged. After a brief rain shower the skies cleared and the sun came out. Reinhardt and Karo had moved on, and who should roll up but Jamie and Karen in the Mystery Machine.
We walked back into town late morning to have a look around the shops and, after a coffee, we went for lunch at the taverna we saw yesterday. In the absence of sardines, Carol ordered the whitebait whilst I ordered the octopus. Unfortunately for me we had a communication problem as I ended up with a starter sized portion – just five pieces – but it was delicious. We’ll just have to eat out again for Carol’s sardines and a full serving of octopus.
The wind hasn’t died down so it looks like we’re in for another bumpy night, but hopefully we’ll get more sleep than we did last night. Tomorrow we’ll be moving to another wild camping spot further round the coast.