Sunday, March 29, 2015

It’s All Greek To Me!!

We’re in Alexandroupolis and have been just kinda hanging out here because of bad weather. We’re in a campsite that has hot showers, an open bar and hard standing so we don’t sink into the mire. The town has the most decadent pastry and coffee shops – we need move on!!

As it turned out the weather hasn’t been as bad as forecast, but we’ve had a cracker of a thunderstorm and enough rain to be a real pain. The plan was to head to the Evros Delta to go on a Pelican hunt and then into the Dadia Forest National Park to look for raptors, and we didn’t fancy that in the rain.

On our way here from Kavala we stopped for lunch (by dint of taking the wrong road) in a wetland area that was full of Flamingos – thousands of them. These are such odd creatures but quite elegant in clumsy sort of way.

Back-tracking to Thessaloniki, we stayed in a Caravan and Camping Store carpark, that is set up for people like us. They provide power and water and are happy for you stay as long as you like. Of course we went shopping – can’t resist a camping gadget store. Plus we got them to put an extra light over kitchen work area. It’s the only place to camp in the entire area.
Beach near Thessaloniki Camping Spot
We spent an interesting Saturday in the city, poking our noses into ancient orthodox churches and generally wandering about. It’s not the world’s most exciting city but boasts an over-abundance of trendy bars and cafes. The population is around 363,000 and I think every last one of them was out eating and drinking that day. The bars were overflowing, maybe because the sun was shining.


Sunday lunch was spent at the nearby beach – a seafood extravaganza. We’ve been on 4 or 5 beaches in northern Greece so far and have been deeply unimpressed by them. Brown sand with rubbish strewn about that must come in from the boats. Nobody bothers to clean it up – awful.

After Thessaloniki we stayed in Kavala, an underwhelming town and the campsite didn’t have hot showers- cold water only – bbrrrrr. From there we stopped in Xanthi and were keen to head up towards the Bulgarian border to see ancient villages. The GPS led us on such a merry goose chase that we gave up. Squeezing Boris past Ottoman houses in narrow streets with overhanging balconies just wasn’t going to work. We just couldn’t find the main road out of town heading north. Lack of sign posting didn’t help, neither did our out-of-date map.



Greek National Day Parade

I find the language incomprehensible and it doesn’t help that Romanisation of it produces different spelling in English and Greek. The maps and road signs and GPS cannot agree. For a linguistic peasant like me it’s a nightmare.

On the plus side the wine is pretty good, I’ve been pleasantly surprised, not having tasted it since 1980 served in pottery jug for 50 cents. Retsina is another thing altogether, Lawrence seems to like it, but for me, it tastes like Pine-O-Clean. OK, call me fussy…

So now it’s Sunday and we’ve just had out traditional Sunday lunch. We wandered into one those places you hope to find. A real local mecca that served freshly charcoaled grilled meat of all kinds, served on brown paper. Wine was served in a tin jug.

Meat Fest in Alexandrouplois

Next you hear from me will be from Turkey, Insha’Allah.

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