Day 1 Kotronas to Patras…. 330km/200m
Day 2 Bari to Alberobolo….. 88km/56m
We left Kotrona behind us with the early morning sun streaming over the hills and were soon caught up in the cheerfully crammed market in Sparti, burrowing through the crowds to get to a store which is a sort of ‘fork’andles’ version of a hardware shop that deals in everything to do with olives and olive oil. String, containers, dispensers, you name it!
1 beautiful 5lt stainless steel dispenser later and off again through beautiful countryside to Tripoli and then cutting west to Patras.. How wonderful to be coming around the other side of the enormous ‘dragon’s back’ of mountains that I had cycled beneath on my first day riding from Patras.
Quite a few little happenings here. The ferry agents were closed…A big U-turn to get us facing the right way resulted in a suspicious sound from the front passenger wheel…. sure enough, we had got a puncture.
The jeep wheels are pretty heavy and the nuts machine-tight. The first guy to assist was from Algeria and wanted us to squeeze him into a corner for the crossing. The second was a Christian Iranian for whom Iran has become deadly dangerous. He pointed to a bench and said ” I will show you my home” He sweetly blessed us both several times and courteously led me to the ladies so that I could wash my blackened hands. We had to disappoint the Algerian.
The big port side office had a board saying we left at Midnight, not 6pm as it had said on the web site. Oh good, plenty of time to pootle around, get that tyre replaced…. Have a nice relaxing meal…
With the new, later ferry time we dawdled along searching for an Elastika ( tyre place) but everything was closed being a Saturday. Oh well, next stop dinner. As the ferry agents were now open again, we thought we could get our tickets first. Suddenly it was all go!!
The Ferry WAS at 6pm after all (how confusing) and by now we had only 25 minutes to get ourselves 5 km down the road to the new port and onto our Super-fast ship. As time was pressing we were directed onto the lorry deck and much to our relief Sir G. was able to stay up on top for the crossing.
The multiple layers of mountains and islands deepened from rose and salmon to violet in the sunset and we waved our farewells to Greece.
Supper, Ouzo and Sea-legs sent me into oblivion whilst Dina wandered around trying to escape snorings and muzak. The kind of night at sea that passes through the memory banks without leaving much trace!
A huge tepid breakfast, and Bari seemed to appear very quickly.
Once we had got our bearings, an enormous Gelato was the next essential mission. I need have no fear of theft. If I leave her in charge of my bag, Dina simply promises pools of robber-blood on the pavement! Then after plodding through endless ( turned out to be futile ) attempts to set up a micro sim and wifi, we finally got on the road to head for England by turning SOUTH!! This was an essential sightseeing excursion to go via nearby Alberobolo, the centre of ‘Trulli’ country.
These wonderful magical cone shaped Trullis are over 500 years old and the large number of them in Alberobolo made up a whole village. They are also dotted all over the countryside, along with vast areas of net-covered vineyards. Although it was heaving with tourists, Alberobolo was fascinating and the lovely little gnomey cone-shaped towers, with their perfectly set stone so lovely against the deep blue sky. We also found a great little camp site and set ourselves up there before returning hungrily to the town. it doesn’t take much to find something funny..
By the time we sat down to eat… Dina has gained a reputation all over Greece for her considerable talent at this…” we were laughing so much it hurt…. good wine, (the wine was superb) good food and bemused waiters who patiently stood around waiting for us to go. The kind American women who were leaving as we came in and suggested the light meal don’t know what they missed!!
We staggered out still waving the bottle, breathless and clutching our sides not willing to part with the last drop!
This morning neither of us can remember what on earth we found so hilarious but I was still laughing out loud in my tent while I wrote my diary!