About me

Featured

Costs as promised.

Long weekend in Malta (with a few deviations)!

My long weekend in Malta has been extended this is because when I started planning it I started to read the Iliad again and thought why not. Sally my partner is not really interested in Greek history (loves Greece though) and I have always wanted to go and see places that I learnt from my school days places that resonate throughout history Sparta, Acrocorinth, Epidavros, Corinth, Thermopylae, Delphi, Olympia, Mystra, Monemvasi to name just a few.

Eurostar has also now added a direct link from St. Pancras International station to Marseille so now you don’t have to change trains anymore and the whole journey is 6 hours and 28 mins

So as promised travel costs from London but with additional places added. Departure dates 07 June 2019 now returning 21st July so my weekend is just a little bit longer.

Various search engines used namely “The man in seat 61”to start with and then Loco2 providing routes, prices and tickets. It was great fun planning and checking various routes and deciding on spending one or two days in different locations namely Palermo and Syracuse (Archimedes). It seems Mt. Etna has roared back to life as well to greet me.

As promised travel costs from London. Departure dates 07 June 2019 returning 21st July. Various search engines used namely “The man in seat 61”to start with and then Loco2 providing routes, prices and tickets.

Have not put hotel prices down as people can choose themselves but used Booking.com for all hotels used. All prices are Euro.

Train London to Marseille €65 single

Train Marseille to Genoa €41 single 1st Class

Ferry Genoa to Palermo single cabin and meals €155

Train Palermo to Syracuse €18

Ferry Pozzallo to Malta €162

Ferry Malta to Catania €162

Train Catania to Naples single sleeper €179

Bus Naples to Bari €5.50

Ferry Bari to Patras single cabin €274

Car hire 5 weeks €570 (approx. €16 per day)

Ferry Patras to Ancona single cabin €209

Train Ancona to Milan €40

Train Milan to Paris single sleeper €249

Paris to London €84 single

Total travel cost is currently running at €2,213.50 Euros, petrol costs are unknown at present.

Last but not least medical insurance! OK (not) typical male currently 64 ( 65 September ) worked in the markets 80’s, 90’s 00’s and overseas enjoyed life. High blood pressure, COPD and a couple of other ailments. Got a couple of quotes and ended up paying £497 Sterling for £10,000,000 of cover and repatriation. Single trip. Will require another policy in September.

Will provide updates as I go along with pictures and comments as I proceed on my journey.

Spectacular History

We all ( should) know the history of Greece is long and varied and covers thousands of years. Driving around some of the parts I have come across modern history. The results of troubles in the Arab and Muslim world, people trying to make a living in what they see as a far wealthier world. The graves and memories from two World wars. The struggles for freedom and the building of Empires. So let’s start this history trail with my favourites the Spartans.

The Taygetus mountains, any new born who did not meet the Spartan measurements of perfection were left on the slopes of this mountain to be disposed of by wild animals!

Not exactly the best statue of Leonidas.

A view of what’s left before you go into the site.

The Spartans did not leave many edifice’s to history, but what they did leave us with is a massive respect for its militaristic prowess which allowed other Greek dynasties to provide us art, literature and democratic government.

Temple of Apollo Epikourios. The Temple is covered by a huge canvas sail to protect it and is currently being renovated.

The pictures should now start to make sense now.

Some of the restoration work taking place

Time to sit and look out over the mountains.

Hiking map for Gill and Archna to think about!

Two pictures for Lynn “towers of the Mani!”

The water is ice cold and tastes wonderful.

Love this tree.

The view from the tree

Thermopylae

  • Go, tell the Spartans, stranger passing by That here, obedient to their laws, we lie.

I am going to write to the Greek ambassador when I get home. This is the site of probably the greatest battle in Ancient Greek history, Thermopylae! and it has a pylon in the middle of it.

The mountains to the left of the Spartan flank.

Statue and memorial to King Leonidas and the 300.

View from the mountains down to the battle site. Believe it or not you can see the sea in the distance, that actually came up to where the monument stands and formed the right flank for the 300 against the might of Xerxes Persian army.

Approximately 30Kms from Thermopylae I came across a piece of history that still resonates today.

The graves of British soldiers and one Maltese soldier from World War One. The site is still maintained by the villagers of Bralo, note how green is the grass and how peaceful it is.

(Excuse digit) Entry to Mycenae, the home of Agamemnon?

Lions gate of ancient Mycenae

The view of the fertile valley from the palace.

Ancient Corinth

Ancient Corinth and the view to Acrocorinth

Views from the outside only as this was one site too far.

Guess what comes next?

Yes, it’s the Corinth canal!

This place is huge! Well worth the visit.

The

The view to the boxing ring.

The track

The Roman villa

I could have gone on and on with pictures of historic pictures, but what I am hoping is that I have piqued your interest and you will make similar journeys.

I came to Greece for its history but then found its countryside and people, if you have the time you really should visit.

Took the google map picturesque route back, thank God I had a rental car! But the views where well worth it, even if the name road was a rather different description to what I would give it. And that was a good part of it.

Agrilos! I Elláda synechízei na dimiourgeí magiká petrádia (Greece keeps turning up magical gems).

Last night was given a piece of dessert by one of the other guests at the hotel. Hollowed out piece of baklava filled with ice cream. Had to be eaten quickly though!

Little bit of Heaven on Earth. Gregory who works in the hotel at night (in his 70’s) and owns a farm in Agrilos recommended it to me. I came over to see what it looked like and this was the view from my table!

View over the harbour. More later.

That’s all that was needed. Menu please.

And this is what I had.

Octopus in olive oil and vinegar and dried herbs. Accompanied with!

Calamari, rice and fresh baby vegetables.

Gregory turns up at 1445 for his daily coffee and then goes back to his car and brings some fresh Apricots from his farm picked for his family 5 minutes before. Restaurant washed them and put them in a bowl for us. Mind blowing, never had fresh Apricots before only dried tasted wonderful.

Going back to the harbour, Gregory informs me people are allowed to swim in it and the beds, shelters and showers are all free. Now I love swimming in the sea but not a big fan of sand. Back to hotel collect swimming costume and towel 20 minutes later I am back. Now I am in heaven swimming pool at hotel, 10 minutes in car and I am diving in the Ionian Sea.

Other side, restaurant.

Reminds me of school holidays at Skerries, the harbour that is. Probably 20c warmer (and that’s the water).

Came across this dam, whilst driving in the mountains.

This beach runs for 120 miles. Also famous for the turtles.

Came across this ancient spring/fountain whilst driving in the mountains. Love getting lost up here.

Love to know how old this tree by the fountain is.

One minute it’s like this.

Then this! Love it.

But mostly this.

Sunset last night. Only thing missing? Sally xxx