Sunday, 17 July 2016

Sun 17 Jul 2016. Olympia to Patras to Arta to Ioannina

Sun 17 Jul 2016. Olympia to Patras to Arta to Ioannina
Washing dried/folded/stowed, showered, paid. Our old gent (His English was a struggle, but French was excellent “Cats is malade of eyes”) held his hand up to stop the traffic, and waved us safely out onto road from campgrounds; we've had a restful time here. Again appalled at lack of respect for road rules. Double lines are obviously for overtaking into incoming traffic - if you flash headlights or blow horn first then oncoming vehicles move to side, or verge, and wait for you to pass before they can do the same thing! It has to be countenanced, even if unofficially, because the road authorities do not provide passing lanes, or places to overtake. 

In rural towns, pumpkins and gourds made eye-catching displays. But shocked to see so much rubbish dumped on road verges in surrounding local towns. Has their local council gone broke, no one to pick up/dispose hygienically/ ecologically? Saw several dark folks of African appearance - obviously no rubbish collection for refugee areas either. People in much of Greece seem to have lost respect for their towns, environment, law - or themselves really. Every man for himself attitude. Lakes are rare, or dangerously low, and so many of freshwater lakes are polluted by rubbish, plus agricultural runoff. Properties eg tobacco fields grow right to water’s edge, cattle pasture on shorelines degrade integrity of lake walls. Greeks seem to do very little to protect their natural resources.

Once in the north, it was pleasant to get to some greener areas, with flowing water. Rio- Antirrio bridge at Patras, spanning the Gulf of Corinth, was spectacular in its height and "sails", with ferry terminals underneath. Guy and Cheryl said they’d planned to leave on one from here to Brindisi. Had a baguette and coffee lunch, moving north again.

Passed the National Parks of Mesalonghi -series of lagoons, wide sandy delta. New roads, bridges, tunnel works. We read they’d uncovered archaeological ruins and set them aside for future diggings. Turned into a blustery cool day; so novel, enjoying the drive. Might have been wishful thinking, but we thought we glimpsed grey clouds in distance...

The oleander flowers prolifically in Greece, from white to pale delicate pinks, to deep reds. Pencil pines and isolated stands of sugar are always a surprise. Drove past our final bay, rock ledges, fish farms, before turning inland towards Ioannina and its lake. 

Arrived late arvo, found Ksimil Caravan Camping in pleasant grassed and shady spot right on Pamvotida Lake. Ducks diving, gulls circling, fish jumping - can't be as polluted as we were led to believe (but won't be swimming in it just the same!) Amenities a bit far away from the campers but nice to have such a serene spot. 

Watch those cannonballs, BoyRob
Ioannina fortress and Byzantine Tower

I'm ready for another lesson Mamma...
OK, twist your neck backwards in a figure 8...

BoyRob assembled a meatballs and peppers pasta (yummy) and GirlRob finally got Outlook going on computer including download of six months’ worth of emails. Now we'll be able to send out the updated itinerary to family and friends. Reinstalled Google Maps and checked distances between Skocjan Caves and Dolomites, as well as between Geneva and Cinque de Terre - both possible with two days driving, so revised itinerary will work. Reinstalled Blogger - so maybe can do a few blog posts eventually... 

Air rapidly cooled as we ate dinner on the lake in the mountains - could not believe we were actually COLD in Greece!!! Campers around us rugged up in jumpers and blankets; Wanderoos held out in shorts and T-shirts revelling in the change! Light changed prettily from evening to night. BoyRob settled in to more of his novel in the waning light whilst GirlRob made the tea and used the remaining hot water to do the dishes. Left computer on to do 44 auto updates overnight....

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