Mar 27, 2010
May 15, 2010
Where I stayed
Vigla Village Villas
. Too tired to fight it at 7:00 am (we lost another hour to time zones: we are now 10 hours ahead of you) we cut cross country for the Peloponnese. We came across many long lakes that filled valleys, going from marshy to lake to marshy again and the occasional river delta that was far larger than the river itself suggested. These were farmed and ended at the sea. All along these roads were sprinkled little 18 to 30 inch boxes that resembled churches on three foot posts stuck on the roadside. They had pictures and bottles of something inside and seemed to be remembrances for people killed on the highway. If the quantity of these speaks to the skill of the drivers we are in danger. The drivers here are are not as crazy as the Italian ones and there are far more police on the road. There may be a cause and effect relationship there. We are not yet to Athens where the driving is reportedly horrible. The fields are covered with wildflowers; tons of bright red poppies, daisy things, holllyhock, and others. There are far more birds singing all over Europe. I recall an article I read about "Where have America's songbirds gone?" and that difference is glaringly evident. Crossing a modern and beautiful bridge between mainland Greece and the Peloponnese, we start to look for a hotel even though it's only noon. We have already been driving six hours and my back was killing me when we left the boat. Bruja points us to a group of hotels on the beach 40 clicks north of Olympia, and after finding a couple not open for the season yet, and almost giving up, we find a wonderful little place
. It is a series of flagstone cabins on top of a hill overlooking the Ionian Sea. Twenty foot wide flagstone paths link the cabins to the restaurant and other points. It is set in an olive orchard that has horses grazing in it. The view is excellent, and as Carol tries to inquire about a room, she inadvertantly walks into the home of the family that owns the place. The elderly lady just points to herself and says "mama" and points down the hill. A young greek man with good english tells us they are not really open yet but we can be their first customers of the year. At 60 Euros it includes free breakfast that the young man will prepare and bring to us, free WiFi (Europe says wee fee), and mama even brings us out a plate of chicken and potatoes she was preparing for her family's dinner. Almost makes up for last nights debackle.
The ferry dumped us out of it's hold onto the beach at the first light of dawn like an invader attacking Greece. As we anticipated, the alphabet here is different, so signs or anything written are useless to us. To make things worse Bruja is not liking Greece at all. We immediately make a 25 mile loop when we determined for certain that although we were going the direction she sent us, we were 180 degrees to where we should be going. Once turned correctly, we enjoyed the drive between Igoumenitsa and Parga for it's beautiful shoreline and deep blue ocean fading to a startling light green on the shore. The steep hillside falling to the ocean looked kind of like Eastern Oregon with olive trees. The beautiful coastline is surprisingly unpopulated. The vacant hillsides with California weather and million dollar views would be a real estate agents dream any place else in the world. Due to last nights ordeal, both the driver and the camera person were kind of sleepy and crabby so not many photos were taken on this leg. Reaching Parga, our attempts to find our points of interest were stymied by the alphabetic barrier and our recalcitrant GPS