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On the shoulders of giants

December 15th, 2013 (by Steve)

After our flight from Serbia, via a corrupt official in Macedonia and the cheapest petrol of our trip so far (99p per litre!), we arrived into Greece. The first sight that we were faced with was a toll booth… that was totally derelict. Maybe we won’t be paying so many tolls after all!

We’d planned to spend our first night just south of Thessaloniki, but when we stopped to pick up food in Lidl on the way there, we succumbed to the temptation of stopping overnight in their car park. Well… almost! You see, we’d heard on the grapevine that Lidl are motorhome-friendly, as motorhomers are likely to pop into the shop in the morning to pick up supplies. However, we had no evidence… and after about half an hour of peering through our blinds, we lost our nerve and moved on to our planned destination.

The following morning, we topped Bertha up with all of the things we needed to top up, emptied all of the things that needed to be emptied and drove south towards the coast for our first bit of “wild camping”. We arrived in paradise. A deserted beach with a bright blue sea and a picture-postcard tree up on the cliff. With Bertha parked up, we just relaxed into the surroundings; I did a bit of whittling and Kiri wandered on the beach, collecting shells and stones. As we settled down for the night, we were a little nervous that someone might knock on the door and tell us to move on, so we both jumped when we heard some rattling from Bertha’s main bench. Turns out that some of the shells that Kiri had collected hadn’t been unoccupied… we set the crabs free and the rest of the night was undisturbed.

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From there, we travelled (via a wild goose chase for both cash and petrol) to Vergina; a place that we’d found on Peejay’s Greece stopovers. These POIs (points of interest) are a good addition to our other collections that we’ve been relying on so far to choose our overnight stops. In other countries, we’ve been using campercontact.com, campingcar-infos.com and the ACSI camping card guide. It’s good to have the different sets of POIs; whilst there’s some duplication between them, overall they’ve given us a good selection to choose from. Add to this the travel blogs of previous motorhomers and we’re set; it’s great to learn from the people who have gone before us.

Meteora was the next destination, again from Peejay’s Greece stopovers. Whilst researching Meteora, we realised that we were inadvertently doing exactly the same Greece overnight stops as Jason + Julie at ourtour.co.uk… but in reverse order! Having read accounts of the Pension Arsenis motorhome stop near Meteora at ourtour.co.uk and europebycamper.com, we were ready for just about anything, and weren’t surprised when Kostas rocked up on his scooter, offering us his Mum’s special meatballs and sausages “not from the market”. We agreed to the offer, had a lovely meal and managed to slip out without being invited for quiet drinks with Kostas later (although his Mum did insist on giving us sweets every time she saw us!).

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Meteora itself is stunning (we’ll add photos later!). Totally out of this world. It’s a group of monasteries perched on top of columns of rock, that originally would have been totally secluded, but now are accessible to tourists. We viewed most of them from afar, but went inside one of them to try to get a feel for how the completely opposite worlds of tourism and sanctuary work together. To be honest, we’re still not sure, but we did note that the monks had their own private areas of the monastery and very little is open to the public. I think that increased the respect we have for them. They’re making money from tourism… is that wrong? Maybe they’ve got the balance right; a stream of income, but without compromising community life for themselves; not “selling out” their way of life?

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Are there parallels that we can draw between a monastic way of life and the life of a traveller? There are certainly strands of learning from people who have gone before you as well as being part of a community. Are we over-thinking it? Maybe! So, with food for thought, plus feta, olives, stuffed vine leaves and tomatoes, we headed south.


All posts about Greece

Up Pompeii

Touring, not tourists

Simple life doesn’t mean easy life

On the shoulders of giants

2 Responses

Ah, I now understand how you got away so lightly on your evening with Kostas! Good idea to skip the Ouzo offer 😀

We found Lidl to be motorhome friendly but only stopped in their car park at Algeciras before and after getting the ferry to Morocco. There are too many beautiful beaches and taverna car parks in Greece to need to stay overnight in Lidl.

Your blog is bringing back some great memories of our tour – it’ll help me through my first British winter since 2010! Keep up the great work, loving the videos too.

Ju x

Glad that we’re helping you to reminisce. We certainly found plenty of beautiful beaches after that first indecisive night – definitely no need to stay in Lidl! Thank you so much for your extensive write-ups of your own adventures; they’ve been very helpful in our planning (and just for general morale!)

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