Tag Archives: Greece

GOODBYE GREECE, HELLO ITALY

We have spent the last 2 weeks revisiting places from last year in the Ionian Islands.  This brought us back to Corfu where we arrived Greece at the end of May 2014.  I enjoy the city of Corfu very much with the charming old town, the daily market of fruits, vegetables, and fish.  All this within some minutes walk from the anchorage over looking the old Fort.

Old fort in Corfu

Old fort in Corfu

 

Ormos Garitsas is a large bay with good holding for anchoring close to old town..

Ormos Garitsas is a large bay with good holding for anchoring close to old town..

The absolute best part of Corfu is a shop in old town that make their own ice cream and it is incredible.  Papagirgis Patisserie is highly recommended if you visit Corfu.  Our last dinner in Greece we returned to a very small family owned fish restaurant because this is where our first dinner in Greece was with Hans and Iris in May 2014.

Best ice cream and Vickie cave in for some extra calories!

Best ice cream and Vickie splurged for some extra calories!

Our overnight crossing from Corfu to Crotone, Italy was very pleasant and it was nice to see dolphins again.  Crotone is in the Calabria region which is the foot of Italy.  I had my first incident of falling into the water from the dock so perhaps that qualifies me as a “real cruiser” . Crotone is a nice town, not too big and not too small. It was once known, long ago, for the beautiful women, art and architecture. Today the local economy has been boosted by oil platforms not far from the shore.  More fish markets here than we have seen prior and a nice daily open market for fruits and vegetables plus other local products.

Barbra and Vickie on the market in Crotone

Barbra and Vickie on the market in Crotone

Hot peppers

Hot peppers

Calabria is known for their hot peppers and spicy cuisine.  Last night the street along the waterfront was packed with the local people walking and enjoying a Saturday evening. Restaurants were busy, different music venues along the long street; a very pleasant atmosphere.  We met 2 American couples in the marina on Sunday. Bob and Barb are from San Francisco and Paul and Diane are from S. Carolina.  Because of my fall into the water, Bob and Barb stopped by to see if I was ok because Bob saw it happen.  Then one hour later Paul and Diane arrived to the marina and moored next to us.  So the six of had good times when we met for the evening social hours.

Next port along the boot of Italy was Roccella Ionica.  A small quiet  marina with a silting inlet.  Only 2.7 m when we visited.   Staff is friendly and will come out and guide you in if you ask.  Call them on channel 14.   The trick is to go very close to the breakwater with a red light on.  When I say close I mean 3-4 m.

The safe way in to Roccella Ionica marina in August 2015. ( Min depth 2.7 m)

The safe way in to Roccella Ionica marina in August 2015.                      ( Min depth 2.7 m)

3 hours after arriving 2 Italian Coast Guard boats arrived with refugees crossing from Africa.  The refugees had been in a small boat for 2 days at sea before they were rescued.  As you can see small children made this life threatening journey.

Europe in sight after many months trying to get there.

Europe in sight after many months trying to get there.

We estimated each coast guard boat had a minimum of 50 persons per boat.  They were brought ashore and checked and then boarded buses to a facility where they will be detained for some days while papers are processed, finger printed and then who knows……..

After two days at sea they arrive to Italy.

After two days at sea they arrive to Italy.

The refugee crisis in Europe is desperate.  Since the people on the picture arrived to Italy just in the beginning of the week, we have had following news.   Next day a boat capsized outside the Libyan coast and  200 drowned.   In Austria on a Autobahn a truck with 71 bodies was found abandoned  on Thursday.  In Gothenburg Sweden 200 children without parents arrived last week!  Some of them abandoned on the streets by smugglers.

MESSOLONGHI MARINA

After a 3-week vacation in Sweden, we are back on the boat in Messolonghi Marina. The Marina is very protected, as it is located in a delta with canal access.  It is a 10-15 minute walk into town, where you find all the provisioning you need.

Bella Luna in Messolonghi Marina

Bella Luna in Messolonghi Marina

We had an interesting trip from Athens airport to the Marina. When we left the boat we took the bus to Athens. It was a comfortable 3-hour trip.  Getting back, I arranged with the marina to have a taxi waiting for us at the airport, as we had three heavy bags.  It was an additional 50€ compared to the bus alternative.

Jim who was the taxi driver was waiting for us at the airport in his Skoda. We filled the trunk with our luggage.  Then he said we had to go to Glyfada and pick up 2 more passengers.  Vickie and I looked at each other, and understood this will be a hellish ride. I did expect a shared taxi, but not a car made for 3-4 people.

Five people in a Skoda for 3.5 hours with a dysfunctional AC,  in 35 degree C is not fun. Our Greek companions crossed themselves before entering the car.  We instead put on our seat belts.

Jim thought he was qualifying for a Formula One race, and was steering the Skoda with one hand in 160 km/hour and talking hands free on his phone most of the time. If he got a chance he snuck up behind every car he had in front of him.  10 m distance at that speed is not fun.

Relaxed driving in 150 km/h.

Relaxed driving in 150 km/h.

It was a big relief when we got to the marina after 3.5 hours!

Bella looked good when we got back and we got everything working within hours.

Soon we set off for the Ionian island before we cross over to Italy. We are looking forward to some nice Italian food.

PATRAS and IONIAN

Galaxidhi offers a charming harbour with nice smelling pine trees and little small sandy inlets for swimmers on one side and the town on the other side. A “street dog” befriended us here. I was sure he belonged to someone as he sported a nice leather collar and flea collar but two of the locals confirmed “FREE – NO BOSS”. He was lying on the pier next to the boat each morning and accompanied us on morning walks, to coffee shops laying at our feet and also when we went to a restaurant, lying under the table. We learned after 2 days that the town people call him Mytos.

Galaxidhi waterfront

Galaxidhi waterfront

Doug, Jan and Mytos

Doug, Jan and Mytos

We caught the bus to explore Ancient Delphi, reported to be one of the most spectacular and beautiful classical sites in Greece. I would certainly agree as it sits among ravines and steep rocky cliffs on the side of Mount Parnassos.

It was at the bus transfer stop that we met a Australian sailing couple, Doug and Jan. We toured the site of the ruins and the museum with them and spent the evening together back in the village.

 View from Delphi

View from Delphi

Track & Field arena Delphi

Track & Field arena Delphi

Olives trees

Olives trees

Winggliders

Trizonia Island was a nice place to spend a couple days at anchor in the bay. The villa sitting on the hill above us played some wonderful music often and there was also the serenade of the large crickets during the day. The little square in this fishing village was so charming to enjoy a morning coffee or evening meal.

Triennia waterfront

Trizonia waterfront

Bride and broom arrives to their wedding in Trizonia.

Bride and groom arrive to their wedding in Trizonia.

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Trizonia, one of Greeces many unfinished marinas

As it is no organisation in the marina, boats are left until they sink.

As it is no organisation in the marina, boats are left until they sink.

Passing under the bridge that connects mainland Greece and the island of Peloponnisos we exited the Gulf of Corinth and entered the Gulf of Patras. We spent 2 days in the marina in Patras doing maintenance and cleaning. Patras is the third largest city in Greece. On the 30th of June the Greek Banks and the stock market closed as the “crisis” deadline was approaching. We witnessed the long lines at the bank machines. Each Greek was allowed to take out 60 Euro per day. Otherwise, to us, it seemed like business as usual because the cafes were full and music festivals were performed next to the harbour.

Sailing across to the Ionion islands of Cephalonia and Ithaca we spent a week taking it easy before returning to mainland Greece to the marina where Bella will stay while we return to Sweden for a a short break.