Monday, 27 June 2016

Mon 27 Jun 2016. Thessaloniki to Litochoro

Mon 27 Jun 2016. Thessaloniki to Litochoro
Woken by sound of fishing boats going out on dawn. Black faced and silver gulls circling the sea, swallows darting busily on shoreline. Our friend from last night came down with his stick and dogs for an early morning swim, and in charades asked if we'd slept well. We blew a kiss to compliment his beach and he smiled and put his hand on his heart. Sent emails to thank EC Oz for tracking down a replacement window pane, providing them with the DHL address and date the laptop will be sent to Athens. Hopefully both arrive together, and intact! Sent email to Greek Fuso centre thanking for their generous offer to camp in their workshop the night before the 80,000km service. Business up to date, drove off to Thessaloniki to see whether any of the spots we've marked on Pocket Earth will allow us to park and see the sights. No such luck! However, the Greeks are crazy drivers who’ll park anywhere and go off for whatever business, no one to stop them (haven't sighted the police since we arrived). We were driving on three lane roads, but two of them were totally gridlocked with parked vehicles! 

Making the most of the drive-by, grabbed photos of mosque and White Tower (infamous armed fortification/ prison/ massacre site in ancient times). No sign of Roman Arch of Galerius, but did spy Statue of Alexander the Great at end of another street. So goodbye Thessaloniki (and we were going to try out our first Greek cafe too...)

Infamous White Tower

Alexander the Great

Drove on to Litochoro, our base for Mount Olympus, and booked into caravan park filled with long-stay holiday makers, crammed onto a small coastline. Finally found a spot we didn't have to cut Ozzie in half to fit into, and parked under shady pine trees. Walked towards water, found we were 3 levels above the sea next to a cafe, and a seafood restaurant. The drinks bars were mid-levels, and “pensions” nearest water. There was so little beach the people on lounges under umbrellas all had their feet in the water! The beach was rocky with a pathway of painted boulders out to sand, which was were the pretty part began; the brilliant blues and greens we have come to expect from the Mediterranean. Saved a swim until late afternoon, shopped in the on-site mini-mart and picked up a map of tracks up the nearby (and looming!) Mount Olympus, home of the Twelve Gods. Had a late salad lunch and decided to make a full day tomorrow to the top of the mountain road, and walks beyond. Lazed away the afternoon in the shade reading, internet, blog notes etc.

Thoroughly enjoyed our swim, ever-so-slight swell, and cleanest water we've been in. Amazed by the numbers of obese women of all ages wearing the briefest of bikinis! Wraps and over-cossie dresses being the go in the bar, the wet Wanderoos fit right in

Ah, this is the Greece we've been looking for...

However with one round of drinks almost the same price as the overnight camp, we left straight afterwards (guess they had to pay for the "free" fruit-salad, nibbles and bottled water accompaniments somehow). We declared this camp the "best ever so far" - reasonable price (€19,50pd), cleaners and gardeners, shade almost all day, overhead shower roses and instant/constant hot water, clean pedestal toilets with plenty of paper, potable water between sites and all taps working, quiet tenants, no constant bar music, no moaning 4am mosques, no roaming dog packs, no dawn-crowing roosters, no cats, no chickens, no peacocks... we're definitely staying another night or two!!

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