If ya can't stand the heat

Trip Start Apr 24, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Greece  , Peloponnese,
Friday, July 11, 2008

So....Greece! What a country, well, what amazing coastline! We were too hot the entire time to venture too far inland. Once it got to 10 or 11 that was it, too hot to do anything even vaguely physical outside of the shade until about 8 o'clock. That made life very tricky, we either had to be parked in shade, driving or somewhere we could plunge into the sea to cool down. Such a hard life ;) We were seriously worried about the heat at times though, with scruff's heavy breathing and Lena's swollen legs. I went through a stage of waking up at 4am too hot to sleep and plagued by the sound of invisible mosquito's.
They have a strange rule in Greece that we discovered at our first lovely beach park up, a beautiful little bay with a sandy beach, a shop across the road, a shower and tap. It felt like heaven, too good to be true, our first night in Greece. We went down for an afternoon on the beach, found ourselves a lovely spot. Had a lovely swim and play with scruff, the water was so warm and shallow. The next time going in after getting all heated up, ready for a nice cool off an old Italian man with a big fat 9 months pregnant belly started shouting at me and waving his arms about. 'Forbidden, vietato, no swimming for dogs, it is forbidden' It really shook me up to be shouted at like that. Unfortunately it wasn't the last time. Always big fat pregnant men with big fat shouting mouths and no ears to listen with - as you can tell I didn't take a shine to them! Such a strange rule, dogs are allowed on the beaches to wee and pooh everywhere but they not allowed to take a dip in the sea to cool off. We just got good at working out what kinds of beaches the big fat pregnant shouting men frequented and tried to avoid them.
We got up early one morning to go and see some ruins, a palace to Heracles and Persephone, which had been later turned into a church where priests would go to meet the dead. Part of it was like a cave, it was so lovely and cool under there, the heat was like an oven coming out, thankfully we weren't far from a swim. Another day I braved an excursion to look at some ruins during the heat of the day, big walls, and a theatre etc. While Lena and Scruff waited sensibly in the shade. I was so overheated by the time I got back, it took me all day to cool down again properly.
It was a long sticky drive down through some magnificent scenery, with wonderful views of islands drifting by from Preveza to Messolongi, we were quite shocked to see little shanty towns on the edges of a couple of towns and to be neighbours in messolongi, with both a really posh yacht and a family of Albanians sleeping on the path. The stark contrasts forcing us to reflect on our perspectives on the world and our places in it.
Once we'd crossed the huge suspension bridge connecting central Greece with the peliponese things started changing, we found much better park up's 'paradise' an amazing long sandy beach with gloriously calm clear warm sea. Just down the beach was a really posh hotel used by German celebrities where some of the rooms had their own pools. It was amazing there, we had a nutty guy selling fruit and bread every morning, he liked stroking my hair. It was impossible to only get like 1 tomato or 1 cucumber, just when you thought it was all over he'd throw a few more lemons and oranges into your bag, ended up with so much fruit and salad but he was so cheap and it was so fresh and tasty we didn't mind at all. Got a big massive water melon for only 1euro!
I really enjoyed my birthday waking up and walking on a beach having a lovely swim. Lena managed to give me the bumps in the sea on her own...very funny! Went to look at Olympia but were a bit too late and hot to want to traipse around. Went to a local village taverna for some dinner, the 12 year old waiter wouldn't let us not have something from the grill, we've been eating a vegetarian diet since France so had ordered a nice selection of vegetable dishes but it was like he had no clue he just kept repeating 'and from the grill?' until I caved in and ordered some chicken which we subsequently secreted in a napkin to take home to scruff.
We think so far 'heaven' park up has been the best overall. We had shady parking provided by the most beautiful big pine tree with a place to hang the hammock and the solar shower, a tap across the way, an amazing big long beach. It felt like coming home to the faraway tree, anyone else remember that? Took advantage of the space and time to finally make an awning, wonder how long it'll last J
We joined the locals and started playing 'beach bong' traditionally called bat and ball I think. So much fun. We can't wait for the next chance to have a go, scruff's not so keen on it as he's not the centre of attention, even though he sometimes gets to be ball boy.
So all brown and scorched we decided enough was enough, it wasn't just an unusual heat wave, we weren't going to adjust. We just had to accept the fact we couldn't take the heat and get out of Greece. Only trouble was that we'd discovered along the way that it was pretty tricky travelling up via Albania Montenegro etc, with border check points and police making up things to get money out of you for. We also found out Scruff wasn't allowed in Montenegro on his passport anyway. Very disappointing! That left either going overland via Bulgaria and Romania or on a ferry back to Italy. There is no ferry from this side of the water to Croatia would you believe..shocking!!
Cos of the outrageous heat we've gone for going back via ferry rather than risk being deserted in this heat with no water to cool down with.
So, sadly we're tearing ourselves away from the milky turquoise warm sea, the delicious food and best ever beaches to carry on with our journey via Bari and on to find what Croatia has in store for us.
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