kalos irthes stin ELLADA. Welcome to Greece!

Look out of my (forward facing) cabin and the view is amazing, bit blurry, but will improve when I go on deck.

Greece is in front of me. We are 1 hour early docking in Patras and the views are just going to get better.

Patras my front door to the Peloponnese.

Disembark and the first thing I do is to ask the car hire people to meet me at the ferry port. It’s a 3km walk and it’s 30c. 30 minutes later and I am on my way to Kyparissia driving a little yellow “Seat Mii”.

Did not take long to get used to driving with a gear stick (so used to an automatic) and driving on the other side of the road. Drive down the west coast of the Peloponnese is beautiful and so green.

One thing I learnt living in Turkey and Cyprus always leave in shade if possible. Remember to have a bottle of water in the car as well.

Well I got here. Kyparissia a small town on the Peloponnese beautiful.

The view from my bedroom balcony. Welcome to Kyparissia! The bush tree (below, top left with cream flowers) is covered in Butterflies and when approached rise like a cloud.

My home for the next 30 days. The Hotel Kanellakis in Kyparissia. It’s comfy, welcoming and has views to die for.

The staff are amazing and so welcoming, George (receptionist and Teacher) introduces me to Marianna in charge of the bar and food, Florida the chambermaid, Flori responsible for managing and delivering drinks and food from hotel to beach (taken straight down to view beach and informed that bar (on my right) will be open on Sunday. Lorenzo in charge of the beach, Anna (my laundry) and generally keeps the hotel nice and clean, Gregory I meet that night as he comes on at 2300 and is the night receptionist and last but not least Panagiota responsible for all catering, especially my breakfast (great coffee as well). Within minutes I am made to feel as if it is my home.

A day later I am introduced to Mr. Nikos the owner who has come down from Athens to ensure all is in place for the new season, wonderful man who was born in Kyparissia but appears to have carved a bit of an empire in textiles from Athens.

I know the video maybe a bit long (3 mins) but watch it. This is the view I will get for possibly every day I am here. Watch it for the beauty.

My room 116

Once I know how to I will insert maps as I (Unbeknown) have “google timeline” active.

Dinner that evening is no problem because at the bottom of the hill is “Ammos” recommended by Marianna (Hotel restaurant not yet open).

View from my dinner table (yes, that is the beach and sea)

Starters are an Aubergine dip with onions, garlic, parsley and capers served with warm bread. So good and healthy (hope Doctor Day is reading and Etienne).

Main course is BBQ octopus with seasonal greens served with olive oil and lemon juice (have not got a clue what the seasonal greens are but delicious). How can they make Octopus tentacles so tender, char them on the BBQ and finish them with a sauce similar to Hoisin?

Well it is my first night and I hadn’t eaten since I was on the ferry. My waitress recommended the Apple pie (well actually it was a bit more like crumble, with that gooey biscuit mix, you know it’s good for you!) vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce, followed by a double espresso. That night fell asleep to the sound of waves on the beach. Makes a change from planes arriving/departing from Heathrow and the noise from sirens. The joy of living in London.

The hotel from the beach (my room, floor down from roof and one in from right)

Will leave you with this one. As the lights come on in the restaurant Ammos. Good night God bless one and all xxx.

Getting to Greece!

For some unknown reason the ferry is not going to Catania but back to Pozzallo and then coaches, initial worry is would I miss the train? Need not have worried as got to Catania in plenty of time, although the walk from the port to the train station is not quite salubrious in part.

Nothing open in the station but outside is a mobile ice cream shop did not take picture as did not feel 100% safe (silly really) but bought water and ice cream and it was really good at 2230.

Present passport and phone to board train (paperless) and shown sleeper to Naples

The train goes directly onto the ferry at Messina before making the crossing the straits of Sicily. Next morning I am awake at Salerno and having my coffee bought by the lady attendant. The train is ongoing to Rome but it’s my stop next and then the bus.

Remember smoking Etna?

Well this is her sister Vesuvius! Next stop Bari and no more volcanoes.

The bus journey to Bari was comfortable and arrived in Bari 5 minutes late. Only problem no sight nor sound of a taxi. 10 minutes later it’s hot and getting hotter. When I am hailed by a gangster looking guy in a private car asking if I want a taxi at this stage I will take a donkey. Not allowed to sit in the back only in the front. Phone comes in handy especially with the address, google translate and google maps.I didn’t think we would make it. He shows me some sort of price list and I think he is offering his cousins hotel. Torre A Mare is not on it. Actually he gets me to the hotel drops me at the gate will not drive up to reception, pay him €40 and offers to pick me up at 1500 tomorrow and will give cheaper rate. Gives me a piece of paper with his name and mobile number. Thank you Salvatore.

Arrive in Torre A Mare (Bari) in time for lunch, squid and green bean salad, with a glass of rather good red wine.

Stairs to my room 415.

Pleasantly pleased and ready for a swim.

Like the slide at the end? This is home for the next two days.

Dinner starter of local meats and cheeses. I couldn’t finish it.

Calamari and prawn with another glass of wine. Italy really does make some good wine but reminded by the waiter that this is Puglia not Italy. As I was reminded in Sicily that this is Sicily not Italy and we thought it was only Yorkshireman.

Lunch time and this time it’s red tuna tartare with a local which is slightly salty but not Parmesan.

Octopus with tender stem broccoli and turnip greens (please note none of this fattening) delicious.

Swim, pack and check out at 1700 when taxi arrives. Taxi only costs €35 (give him €40) but after entering terminal find out wrong one and mine is 1km away, in no rush and a walk through a major ferry port is always pleasant. At least it’s only 28c.

My ferry.

Gets to check in 5 positions open and see younger guy checking in and think that’s the shortest queue. So stand behind him. He is a teacher and is taking a junior basketball team from Bari to Athens for a competition, the next minute it’s like the whole of Bari is at the check in counter and even the lady checking them in has her phone out and is taking photo’s!

My cabin. Note the crew member who showed me to my cabin opened the curtain to show me the view, which is towards the bow ( the front end for the non nautical).

Farewell Bari.

Arrivderci (Puglia) Italy.

It’s 2200 and I am feeling a bit peckish. So it’s off to the self service cafeteria on board. Turns out it’s more Cypriot than Greek. See below.

Veal hock with fries and gravy. Did not make breakfast.

Now remember the view from my cabin. Well it’s 2345 and I am getting my tablets all sorted next thing knocking on my door. Crew member with message from the bridge (that’s the bit that steers the ship) can I close my curtains please as the light is affecting the Captains night sight. Luckily I am not the only one as I can hear knocking on other doors.

OK people that’s one part of the trip completed. Greece next up. Let me know if you like the blog and if you would like more bits and pieces added.