Two contestants, three islands -who will be the winner at the end of the week. Actually, we have never seen an episode of Love Island, but we do love the Greek islands-who doesn’t. We have also loved the Peloponnese mainland as well, but with the four Saronic Gulf Islands just a hop, skip and a boat away who could resist, especially with my replacement battery ready and waiting on one of them.
After a night in the lovely, sleepy town of Porto Heli with one eye and ear kept on the England v Ireland rugby match (hooray) we caught the ferry over to the island of Spetses with bikes in tow. The lovely Luke met us at the ferry and then as younger people do sped off to his shop with David fast on his tail and with the non electric me trailing way behind hoping that I wouldn’t get lost in the maze of windy Greek back streets. Eventually David called for Luke to slow down and I caught them up after a full on puff incline at the end. Whilst Luke was testing everything on my bike, David and I had a lovely ride along the coastal road, me on Luke’s electric bike and we could both appreciate just how busy this island must become in the tourist season. The nightlife is especially renowned in the main town, but for us after a lovely fish lunch for me and a first for David of another Greek delicacy pastitsio- a baked pasta dish with mince and bechamel sauce we headed back to Buster happily with two working bikes. As Monday was a special day for one of us, we treated ourselves to an evening glass of English fizz on the dockside in the setting sun.
Tuesday, day two of the Love Island contest and we made our way to the tiny dock of Methoni, where again we can park and take a, in this case passenger only ferry to the amazingly special island of Hydra. Hydra is one of LP’s Greece top twenty things to do and or see and it’s hardly surprising why. There is only one way on and off this island and that’s by sea, and life centres around the gorgeous natural cove with white-gold preserved houses hugging the edges of the surrounding mountains. What also makes it unique is that there are no vehicles of any sort allowed on the island, everything is done by foot, cycles or the ever-faithful donkey. The island has been patronised by many famous people over the years, Leonard Cohen and Sophie Loren to name but two, so we were in good company along with the many other hundreds of day visitors. The island although it oozed with monied people still retained its absolute charm and we had a lovey walk out of the town to the two other small harbour villages, occasionally making way for a donkey caravan.
The donkeys made me have a sad moment as I thought of a dear recently passed away friend who loved these furry four legged creatures and David and I did our bit for them, like Bill by giving some money to the town donkey fund and also sparing one of them taking David’s weight on a small tourist tour. If you think the non-traffic is gimmicky and once the tourists go, or hidden behind a olive tree there are lorries, cars etc there really aren’t. We saw the donkeys laden down with building materials for the renovations and winter time works, but again with a Billy sized love of donkeys I can also say none of the ones we saw looks mis-treated or unhappy. Lunch (yes out again, budget blown) was in wonderful restaurant just off the harbour with a small sunny terrace called Ostria, ran by a husband and wife team, we got the husband who is the waiter, cook and the fisherman, He took us into his small family house sized kitchen and showed us what he had caught that morning. David opted for a slice of the more expensive but less well known black headed sea bream, this was a huge almost sword like fish and David absolutely loved it. I had the normal sea bream which again was delicious just grilled and with a simple country salad as recommended by Stathis.
The ferry journey back was slightly less bumpy but also filled with builders and their tools which was actually more reassuring than the young hunter with his shotgun on the morning journey. I know where I am with a piece of plasterboard but a gun, not so much.
The car parking’s friendly dog that had wanted us to hug and stroke him that morning had turned into the Hound of the Baskerville’s by the time we got back and he had been chained up, but thankfully after his ferocious barking as we passed him he kept quiet during the night. The one and only bar dwelling was an early evening treat, as we sat in the bar cum shop which would have made Arkwright’s shop look like Waitrose, but you could not fault the bar owners enthusiasm for our custom with a truly awful plate of locally grown and preserved olives. They went well with the what I now know wasn’t ouzo, tipple of tsipouro. It took a good clean and gargle to get rid of both of the tastes, but a taste of local life it was!!.
The next day we waved goodbye to our new Greek friends at Methoni, hugged the now friendly again dog and headed of to the third island in the contest- Poros. Poros is already well known to us, it being a Greek island of choice for us in normal life holiday world- we have visited it some five times already, but of course never in a motorhome, nor in winter. It is also unlike the other two that you can take a motorhome on the ferry too and so on the Wednesday again after another short but stunningly beautiful drive we hopped onto Poros and again parked in their harbour by yet again a children’s playground. We have parked by so many now, we’re beginning to think we should have been CRB checked.
We had a real treat here on Poros after being invited to Katerina and Rik’s farmhouse for dinner on the Thursday evening. K&R run and own a small lovely boutique hotel on the island called Odyssey and we have stayed with them there a few times and Katerina runs a very successful cooking school at Odyssey. Needless to say the five course dinner was outstanding and it was great to watch Katerina make pasta whilst we sat chatting and equally delightful to eat that pasta in a simple garlic, olive oil and home grown sage sauce-a big thanks to them both and if you ever have the chance do go and visit them at their hotel.
As the week closes and we are now on a small camper site in Ancient Corinth -one of the few beyond campsites that actually exist in Greece we realise that we have actually been off-grid, freedom camping call it what you will for a total of 11 nights, during that period we have had to be fairly inventive as to what we do for water and getting rid of black waste (poo pot) and we have been. We have filled up with water at various local towns, hamlets from fountains at one using a bucket and syphon, the other outside a small church, parked badly on a bend but thankfully this time the hose nozzle fitted on the fountain, thus saving time and making our get away fairly quick. As for the poo-pot, again we have been inventive, and we have taken it for a walk now and again but on all occasions we have none nothing that was un-environmentally friendly. However, as we have said before another disadvantage of old age is how quickly we now fill the potty up.
Back to the Love Island contest and like the program there have been ups and downs in the week as well as lots of bronzed sylph-like photos of us two bobbing up and down on boats and beaches (!!!). The budget is not good as we have eaten out too much this week, the normal ratio is 4 out and 3 in, but not so this week. We have lingered too long in cafes in the mornings and bars at the night time as we have enjoyed and participated in island life, although we have saved more money on oranges again!
We have argued as ever over stupid things and even more so on the why’s and wherefores of getting to Turkey next week. Eventually we managed to book two ferries -the first leaving Piraeus and getting to another Greek island called Chios and then one day later another very expensive crossing taking 45 minutes into the port of Chesme- Turkey.
And so, the winners of Love Island are David and Karen with the top island of choice, although a very tightly run contest was of course, our home from home- the island of Poros. There was one non-contender and that was Aegina island but we just couldn’t manage them all.
Stay with us for next weeks adventure- will we make it into Turkey or will our paperwork just not cut mustard and we get turned back onto the ferry and Greece
Top Tips of the Week
Don’t leave the poo-pot open when driving-very messy!!
Before you spend €3 on a litre of wine taste it- very ugh!