Greece continues to amaze.
We travelled inland to see the waterfalls at Edessa. They were beautiful and the restaurant we were recommended was great, too.
Edessa Main Falls.Edessa Falls.
Moving on, we travelled to Lake Vegoritida, which looked to be remote and have a good place to park up for the night. It turned out to be a great idea, as it was cool at night and the views were exquisite. We could have stayed longer as it was tranquil and did have both a bar and a small supermarket nearby.
Lake Vegoritida is a lovely overnight spot. Can you see ‘Buster’, our Elddis motorhome?Lake Vegoritida early morning view.
By now we had booked our sailing to Italy, so we had a schedule. We moved on to our next destination, Mount Olympus, the seat of the Gods … and it did not let us down.
The view back to the coast on the way up Mount Olympus
It was awesome, truly stunning. There were lovely walks, which were well-marked and were beautiful, with waterfalls, rivers, and the towering mountain of course.
The Holy cave of Saint Dionysius. Magical on Mount OlympusIt gets better and better.
Idyllic.The trails are very well maintained and clearly marked.How to transport stuff to the refuges on the mountain.Wonderful Goat soup on Mount Olympus.
We intended to stay two nights on the mountain near a monastery, but on our second day someone unfortunately abandoned their dog. It sat peacefully all day beside our van waiting and then, as evening fell, he cried and barked for his master.
‘Ollie’ abandoned on the mountain.
This is a side of Greece we did not like. The local monks from the monastery nearby told us they had called a local dog rescue centre and that ‘Ollie’, as we’d named him, would be picked up in the morning. We gave him some food and water. But we could not take his crying and barking and sadness, so we left him with the monks and drove down from the top of Mount Olympus to the bottom in the dark, which was very scary indeed.
The next day we headed off to see Angelos, a Greek friend of ours from London who moved back home last year. It was a real pleasure to meet up with him and his family and share some food and a coffee. It was great to hear that his return to Greece has been successful and the family business is thriving, even with the pandemic.
Angelos and family meet the Gappers.Remembering London and planning the future.
We started to think that we had enjoyed the best northern Greece had to offer as we headed for the UNESCO site Meteora. We had heard great things about this Monastic area, but words can not convey just how beautiful it is. We visited a couple of the monasteries, which go back many centuries, perched on the top of rock outcrops. We toured around the area on our e-bikes - ideal for the hilly terrain. As you look at them, they seem to become more surreal as you change angle moving along the road, each turn giving you another majestic view. It really is breath-taking. We would recommend anyone coming to Greece to visit Meteora – it’s a real highlight.
Now that is not a bad view from a campsite. Meteora!E-Bikes make it easy to get up those hills.Dress properly and arrive on time.A ceiling of one of the Monasteries.A slightly different view.What a great view!A Meteora Panorama.Meteora and Bond, James Bond
We were definitely thinking we must have exhausted great things to see by this stage, but Greece kept on giving! We moved on to a part of Greece called Vikos Gorge. Again, another surprise, this is bear country, with lots of forests and rivers. On top of that, it boasts the deepest, narrowest gorge in Europe, if not the World, according to the Guinness Book of Records.
Vikos Gorge, right view from the Drone.Vikos Gorge, left view from the Drone.
On top of that, the villages are very beautiful, and the scenery is almost Alpine stunning. Quaint old bridges with views that make your eyes water. The roads were, to say the least, challenging for Buster, with lots of hairpin bends, and very, very narrow streets in the villages. The days were warm, and the nights cool. There were lovely walks and hikes, plus, for those of you who would like to be more adventurous, white river rafting and horse trekking is available. It was all very idyllic, added to which we were, again, able to park for free - with great views.
Yes, we had to drive up that! Easy in Buster, with his automatic gearbox!Another view that was free.So pretty and green!One of the 200-year-old stone bridges near Vikos GorgeA triple bridge - very cute!Vikos Gorge - the stone village
The next day we moved on to Ioannina, the home of the Ali Pasha who ruled this part of Greece for the Turks in the late 1800s. On a lake of the same name in northern Greece, one of the most notable things to see here is a 3-kilometre-long Perama cave system, found when the locals were looking for somewhere to hide from Nazi bombing. During Covid the tour was very good, as there were not many people and you could get a real flavour of the complex. Well worth seeing if you are in the area.
Perma Caves can you spot the cross?
The Kastro, or castle, in the Old Town is very beautiful and the Byzantine and Silversmith museum was well worth seeing. Again, another free night as we were able to stay quietly on the edge of the lake, undisturbed.
The Grave of the beheaded Ali PashaMasks can be funky!The lake at Ioannina. Buster is in the picture somewhere, as we parked there
Finally, as the week ended, we headed to Parga on the west coast of Greece. Rated in Lonely Planet as one of the loveliest seaside resorts in Greece, and they certainly did have a point. Picture postcard in every way, great food, the campsite was lovely and the people are friendly.
Karen loving the beach at Parga.The views around the town are amazing.
The town was the busiest we have seen in Greece so far. That said, it was not like a normal July/August. The locals strove hard to please and make you welcome. We visited Paragaea Olive Oil Factory, which has been owned by the same family for years. Though now closed, it is now a historic museum and they also own a restaurant in the town and still produce olive oil elsewhere. They were so friendly and there was lots of good quality food to be eaten. We could heartily recommend visiting both if you come to Parga.
It’s a family business and they work hard.Boy was that fish soup is good!The lamb, oh the lamb! We will miss Greece.
Now ends our second Greek adventure as we head back to Italy. We must be in the EU for 14 days continuously to be allowed to enter another EU country. So, we are eternally grateful to Greece for allowing us in, and now we are part of the system we can travel through Europe, cautiously, again.
Coronavirus has changed the World, but that doesn’t make the World any less beautiful. Our desire to travel, see new places and meet new people is undiminished. Being in a motorhome gives you an opportunity to self-isolate, be safe and secure and see these places. Even in this ‘New Normal’ environment. We are lucky to have this great way of travel and see so many lovely places.
Italy now beckons. We will take the ferry at midnight tonight, a return for us having spent five days in Italy on the journey to Turkey. Hopefully we will spend maybe a week or two this time, where we do not yet know. That is the joy of travelling in a Motorhome - you can go anywhere. Stay tuned to see where we end up next!