Dave the motorhome is sitting at the edge of the water in the small resort of Ermioni (N37.38484 E23.25088). This place was originally called Hermione – I’m not sure if it changed its name before or after the Harry Potter books were written! To his left the beach bars and tavernas have a decent sprinkling of customers, most of who have arrived on scooters or high powered motorbikes wearing only shorts and flip flops. To his right the road turns up over the hill and a large peninsular of pine trees and dry grass provides a suitable pooch walking zone. Behind Dave the town rises up on a hill, the streets are steep, narrow and stepped.
Last night we’d been warned by Suzanne and Wolfgang to expect an invasion of mosquitoes around 8pm, we made sure we were secured in Dave, our windows and skylight open with our mesh screen protecting us from the flighty, bitey pests. Sure enough just after 8pm we could see several of them attempting to get through the skylight net, Jay played with them by flicking them off the net – before we eventually sprayed repellent on it to keep them away and settled down to watch the Doctor Who Christmas Special – strange to see so much snow when you’re sitting in warm Greece.
This morning we were just tucking into our breakfast when the fisherman re-appeared. He smiled and said Good Morning to us, before chugging along the coast steering with his elbow or knee as he used his hands to lug in the sadly empty nets. Before 10am we were off, following the little bendy dirt road through mile after mile of olive trees surrounded by yellowing, dry grass. To our left we could see a lagoon, a narrow strip of land separating it from the sea, and no doubt the source of the mosquitoes. As we got closer to villages the fields housed crops, those that had already been harvested were now being munched by flocks of freshly shorn sheep. A flock blocked our path, so we pulled over and turned off Dave’s engine while we waited for them to pass. The two shepherds looked (Jay’s words not mine) ‘sheepish’ at having made us stop, but we didn’t mind, we weren’t in a rush and the sheep obviously had a date with some unwanted cabbage leaves.
We arrived in the little town of Ermioni and parked up in a huge car park at the end of the bay. As we set off for a walk around the town, to see if there was a more suitable parking spot for the night, Charlie and another dog circled each other, sniffing various parts and tangling their leads together. The couple who owned the other pooch were from one of the yachts in the harbour, so we asked if they knew where would be good to eat. The prime restaurant in the middle of town, boasting that it is the oldest on the Saronic coast, got a bit of a thumbs down. They said they had heard good reviews about a taverna on the other side of the peninsular with good views, it was only a short walk over the hill or about half an hour if we walked along the path around the peninsular – so we did.
Covered in dry grass and pine trees where the land ends, rocks take over and plunge into the clear waters. Every 50 metres or so there’s a water point and fire hose; being so close to the town this place is undoubtedly tinder dry in the summer months and they want to ensure no wild fires get going. We had a pleasant stroll and Charlie took a couple of dips in the sea to cool off.
The restaurant looked spot on and as the town is such a chilled out place we felt like having a bit of a holiday, I nipped into the bakers and bought us some tyropites (feta cheese wrapped in filo pastry and wrapped around to make a wheel shape) for lunch. Jay had a freddo cappuccino – a cold cappuccino with ice, and we sat on a bench in the sun watching the little boats come and go until our feet felt like they were burning, so we retreated into the cool of Dave.
Out came our map of Greece as we started to plan our route across the rest of the country, there is still loads of it left and we’re now toying with the idea of nipping over into Albania – what do you think? We’ve sat and read, watched the world go by and I’ve also updated our country guide to taking your motorhome to Italy, I didn’t realise we were there for over 130 days and drove over 6000 kilometres! I’m pulling together the spending overviews for each part of our trip there too, so they should be ready in a few days – I always love to get an idea of how much stuff costs before I go there.
As locked o’clock drew to a close (5pm here) we moved Dave over to the other side of the town before any wayward parking blocked the street, it’ll be a bit noisier here, but closer to the restaurant for tonight and the peninsular for pooch walks. Once in place I nipped out and bought us an ice cream each as it’s tough work moving Dave all of half a mile! It was only on my way back that I realised that the cars around me were Porsches, Mercedes and Audis – it looks like either the Athenians are here for the weekend, or the economic crisis hasn’t hit this little resort just yet.
As I’ve typed this peace was shattered in the town as a coach load of French tourists wandered through and past Dave, for some reason they reminded me of the sheep this morning as they all followed their tour guide (shepherd) and blocked the road to traffic, although not as well behaved!