And its all Greek to me ...
Trip Start Mar 12, 2011
109Trip End Dec 15, 2011
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Where I stayed
Anessis Hotel Thessaloniki
Went to enquire what time we would be docking as last night's time was only an estimate. Now we are expecting to land at Igomenitsu at "after 1.00" Turns out that the ferry we were booked on was sent to Libya to rescue the people stranded there by Gadaffi, so we are on a different boat. Whether this affects the speed, or the route (we are going via Corfu) or whether the weather last night was so bad that it really did knock 5 hours onto a 11 hour journey, I guess we will never know. However this really does set our schedule back a serious blow at quite an early stage. Especially as it will probably take a couple of hours to offload all the vehicles, and we were amongst the first on, so we'll be at the back of the queue to get off. But, not a lot we can do about it.
Eventually we docked at 2.30, 7 hours late on an 11 hour journey
After we set off, we tried to take the road to the motorway instead of going back to it the way we had approached the garage. However we drove for miles, with many turnings going onto dirt tracks or worse. Asked for directions from one guy, who ddint speak to us, just gestured to each road in tutrn and indicated that was the one. Hiow difficult is it to direct someone to Thessalonika? Went further on and found a guy driving a digger. He couldnt speak English but make a quickl phone call, and told us to wait. Thereupon arrives his son/grandson, aged about 14, on a scooter. He speaks good English and directed us back to the petrol station! Embarrasment!
Anyway, in the 200 odd miles of motorway there must have been about 6 junctions, of which only half allowed you back onto the motorway, about 3 petrol stations, one toilet which was abysmal. All the English tax money building their motorways and we dont provide proper facilities
Drove into town, found a hotel, had dinner and did admin. So to bed.
Miles 216 Av speed 40.2 Max speed 59.7
Well its St.Patrick's day 2011 and I'm on the wrong boat heading for Greece. For some strange reason I have always felt very comfortable in Italy and have often thought that it has a lot of similarities with Ireland. The culture and attitude of the people is very close. But we leave it behind and find ourselves surrounded by No smoking signs where the kitchen staff have a fag going and posters extolling the availability of internet and mobile phone connection when there is none.
So Roger has told you about George. We isolated problem as being motor with bit of wire and my special high tech. circuit tester - a 12V bulb and two further wires. George cottoned on that it was a greasy commutator causing the problem. We cleaned it with solvent and hopefully all will be well
Used our Fuji/Polaroid and took piccy of George which we proudly presented to him. He did not seem impressed. But I was.
Was going to send series of emails today using boat's system but...So thank you
Louise,Granny P,Graham,Liz and Charles,Brian and Jenni for your cards of good luck. Seem to have worked so far.
Feeling nervy about what comes next. I suspect Turkey border will insist on insurance cover which my reading around indicates is available locally. One account states that traveller had to be taken in to local town, leaving vehicle in order to return with proper docs. Will this be case if we arrive in Muslim country on Friday or Saturday - latter now more likely. Also suspect we are going to be more alert to fuel needs. No speedo and I think upper tank gauge failed again. We will see.
But to return to our ditty:
If you wanted a man to encourage the van
Or to harass the foe from the rear
We do not know when these notes will be transmitted to the blog or indeed when we will next be in touch.But we are not going outside and we certainly do not expect to be gone for some time.
P.S.The archetypal(is that right?should it be a "ple") Italian with the overcoat over his shoulders clipping his heels wherever he goes has disappeared.He has been replaced by badly shaven characters who only wear scarves indoors. Lorry drivers look like their lorries and if their cabs were smaller, I suspect so would they.
I suspect the next note from me will reflect on some inter-personal experiences. Time to get my papers in order.......