Thursday, September 3, 2009


Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007 Long day of driving north on the Greek Mainland...

Up early, packed the car and arrived for breakfast at 7 am sharp; along with a hundred other people from the two tour buses at our hotel for the night! But, it was good and we shared a table with two ladies from Romania who didn’t speak any English and you know how good my Romania language skills are…nada nada…it was a quiet table.

Raining again by the time we left the hotel and headed back into Patra for some housekeeping details: ATM, gasoline, grocery store for small items and a Newspaper Stand to purchase a card with Internet time on it for dialup time. I could have signed on last night if I’d had the card so now I’m prepared.

Soon we were headed back towards the beautiful new suspension bridge that spans the narrow entrance into the bay of the Gulf of Corinth from the Ionian Sea between the cities of Patra and Nafpaktos. Ships sail under this bridge on their way to the Corinth Canal for a short cut to the Aegean Sea. For my Florida friends it reminded me of the Sky Bridge between Palmetto and St. Petersburg/Tampa. The fee to cross was 10.90 euros…but still cheaper than putting the car on a Ferry Boat.

Once across the bridge we headed into the old town of Nafpaktos and drove up to see the castle at the top of the hill. Unfortunately it was closed for renovations so we could only take pictures of it from the outside and as a plus add some more great views of the bridge that we’d just crossed. By now it was 10 am and by the time we reached Itea, it was nearly noon.

As we headed north we crossed two mountain ranges; saw snow capped mountains and many mines along the way. In the valley between the two ranges we brushed along another section of the Gulf of Corinth, saw herds of cows, goats and sheep. Farm lands, fish farms, and to our surprise acres and acres of cotton were everywhere. Harvest was well under way and the cotton that was picked was stacked like haystacks in the fields.

One of the things that we have seen everywhere except for in the cities are the roadside memorials placed by families along the road wherever someone has died in a car accident. On some curves, especially in the mountains you may see four or five different ones in the same spot. They do drive a little differently here; very close together (tail gating) and also they continually go left of the double lines when going around curves. We definitely won’t be driving at night in Greece. Many of the memorials are old and falling over but more are well tended and the newer ones look like little churches. So many varieties that one could make a study of photographs on them; we also saw a very new one that was very different from the others, shorter and more like a grave stone marker. Maybe the styles are changing.

By 3 pm we’d arrived at our destination for the day in Trikala. We walked around the square and found a beautiful and very modern hotel that was extremely reasonable after a bit of negotiating by Jim. And, we have DSL in our room for the Internet; made my day.

After signing on to the net and finding lots of emails from friends and especially news of the fires in California right now, we headed out to find our dinner at a Tavernas, a small restaurant, in the old section of town. Enjoyed lamb chops and Jim had veal.

We have enjoyed hours of sunshine today but also experienced the occasional shower; temperatures are cool but tolerable. Enjoying our Internet this evening and a nicer than average hotel room. Talked to daughter Jennifer on Skype this evening, sure wish more people had this service…especially since it’s free. Brian is her son and they were motivated to set the system up for communicating with him during his months in Italy.

Tomorrow we head out to see the Monasteries of Meteora; we’ll change hotels and move in a little closer to the area and spend both Wednesday and Thursday there. Me thinks we’ll be doing some hiking both days as some of them demand many, many stairs as they are located on top of little mountain peaks or something like that.

Take care and stay safe, Kalinihta (good night in Greek)

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