Life Abroad Charlie Girl IV 2017 (5)

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Wednesday September 6th to Monday September 11th

The trip started in disruption. Jan had left an item of importance in Torquay and Son Stuart had a lunch appointment thrust upon him at the last moment, thus our planned leisurely morning of coffee in Brookside then the drive up to Weston Super Mare with me playing with the new car, a quiet coffee and chat with Stuart before he drove us to the airport for about 13.30 became a bit of a panic.

After stuffing all the bags in the boot the drive to Torquay went better than expected in the rush hour traffic and similarly back out and onto the A380 towards Exeter and the dreaded M5. Dreaded is used advisedly as recently it seems to have been closed on a daily basis, but not this day; thankfully. A quick coffee with Stuart was managed before squeezing Ely (the new Mercedes) through one of his two garage doors into what is a very large double garage. Note to the construction industry, “Is it not time for you to realise cars are bigger than they used to be so your standard size single garage doors need to be wider?”. Thus we were dropped at Bristol Airport so early that we could not even drop our one hold bag.

Nonetheless, once we had, residence was taken up in the Aspire lounge, a new experience for yours truly through the courtesy of Jan's bankers, where we enjoyed a very nice simple lunch and a glass or two of wine. Our flight departed on time and during the flight we snacked and drank courtesy of a new Easy Jet wheeze swiftly taken advantage of when spotted a few weeks earlier; £20's worth of vouchers bought for £16 which, when added to the meal deals on board, made for a cheaper still deal. What was amusing was that the cabin staff had never seen any up until then and the flight manager admitted he thought they were a scam!

Tony was dutifully awaiting our arrival at Herakleon airport with the Bentley, masquerading as a Ford Focus so as not to attract any undue attention, and swiftly moved us to the marina and Charlie Girl IV. After unpacking we were abed by 23.30 local time. It had been a long day.

The next few days were spent preparing CGIV to leave, stocking up and socialising, the latter two aided by hiring a car on Friday and visiting Lidl's where we bought loads of sparkling water and various other regular usage items before driving round through Eloundha to Plaka for a beer in a bar overlooking Spinalongha. Then it was off to visit Roger & Birgitta for an impromptu gathering at a beach bar near their villa where we met other expats, none of whom we knew, and enjoyed some traditional Cypriot food and some live music provided by two of the guests.

Meanwhile a close eye was kept on the weather forecasts, seeking a couple of days of perfect winds to escape the enduring clutches of Crete. At first it looked as if an escape NNW via Santorini would be likely but then the forecast winds went WNW'ly making that an uncomfortable option but opened one up via Sitea, Tristoma on Karpathos then Tilos which we decided to take. Tristoma whilst quite safe is a slightly risky option for an overnight stay as its reef strewn narrow entrance faces due west and should the wind get up overnight the resultant seas can make leaving impossible or too dangerous for comfort.

Thus on Sunday September 10th we set off, under motor as there was little wind, on the 20nm trip out of Ormos Mirambellou and east round the coast to Sitea. But all was not well; without thrashing the engine it was proving impossible to achieve more than 5 knots. On anchoring off the beach at Sitea for a swim, a quick inspection of the prop showed it was encrusted with marine growth; no wonder we were making poor speed. After moving into the port and laying alongside, much thought was given on the advisability of continuing and where we might get CGIV lifted for a power wash if we did. Overnight it became obvious the sensible, if annoying, thing to do was to return to Aghios Nikolaos where we effectively sit for free having paid for a year, are well known and can be lifted at a sensible price, unlike Kos marina who wanted nearly €1,200 for a stay, lift and power wash. Thus we were up at 05.00 as planned and soon motoring back to Ag Nik.

A quick phone call to Despina on the marina reception at 08.00 requesting her help in organsing a lift for us proved fruitful as Roussos was standing at the dock as we rolled in at 09.30. CGIV was swiftly lifted and the extent of the growth noted and photographed (see photo). I was not amused having been told on ordering that this expensive folding propeller did not need a coating of anti-fouling; now I was having to pay €590 to have it cleaned! But positive thinking put that to one side to be dealt with at a later date.

Surprisingly by 10.30 we slowly exited the lifting dock noting CGIV was already moving faster on tick-over than previously. We carried on, motoring out of the marina to do a short sea trial; a bit OTT but ever the cautious me. As soon as the throttle was opened up, huge vibration was felt; we were going nowhere but back to the travel hoist for a further lift. A guess on what had happened was soon proved correct. Roussos had stopped the lift after a foot or two and moved the stern most strop back a bit more; he had placed it on the saildrive and in lifting CG's 11.5 tonnes, had bent something. Depending on exactly what, we could stuck here for weeks waiting for spare parts.

It took an hour to persuade Roussos's son, whose English is a lot better than his Father's, that the problem was most probably theirs. Once accepted we were again lifted and the prop spun on its shaft; the prop was fine but oscillating, the shaft was clearly bent and that could mean the seals were breached and seawater could have entered the saildrive. If it has, it is a good two day job to disconnect the saildrive from the engine, drop it, strip it down, clean it out and reassemble it. The next few minutes were tense for all. His Son undid the oil drain plug and the oil flowed into his can; NO SEAWATER! What a relief. Now it was just a matter of locating a spare drive shaft, not exactly a part in regular or high demand. The three of them departed in separate vehicles to try all sources before resorting to ordering one from Athens. Thoughts of spending a night or two suspended in the strops did not appeal but Smith's luck held and Roussos returned half an hour later with a new shaft. Jan and I went to lunch and on our return all was back together and looking good. Roussos, a shy and introvert individual at the best of times, smiled sheepishly at me and said just one word; “sorry”. I smiled and shook his hand; after all, we all make mistakes and if had wanted to be difficult he could have made it so, as such matters are covered in your marina contract which clearly says it is a matter for our insurers, not the marina. A strange convention.

And so we returned to our berth on pontoon B and started the process of leaving afresh; very afresh as the forecast winds had adversely changed.
Supper that day was taken with Tessa and Tony after dwinkie poos at their apartment; boy was it hot both there at in the marina; 33°C and little if any breeze. The supper was taken in a tree lined courtyard and was mezze based; a varied selection of typical Greek dishes and thoroughly enjoyable.

Tuesday September 12th to Thursday September 14th

Our delayed departure had been discussed over supper and Tony had suggested trying for Astypalea rather than Khalki, a lesser distance but due north requiring a westerly rather than north-westerly wind. On checking the forecast over coffee, what do we find for Wednesday, a westerly wind at F4-5. Perfect. So on Tuesday afternoon we departed under motor for a night at anchor in Spinalongha and a lovely evening and night it was too.

Rising at 04.30 the anchor was up and us under way by 04.50, motoring in flat calm, north, out of Ormos Mirambellou. As we approached the cape Jan asked if it was OK to go below and catch up on her sleep; I unthinkingly said yes. A few minutes later the wind came in just behind the mast so out went the Genoa and we started spanking along at 7-8 knots. With it came some huge seas, not unusual around Crete, disproportionate in height to the wind strength and turning CG's progress into that of a bucking bronco. Jan was soon back on deck and almost immediately sick after which she was clearly shaken and shocked. Despite the 27°C temperature we bedded her down in the cockpit on the leeward side wrapped up in her jumper and a fleecy jacket. Yours truly was soon soaked to the skin as one of the 3-4 metre waves broke over the port quarter. This was not the hoped for trip and there were still eleven hours to go.

We pressed on as there was little point in doing otherwise and the stiff breeze steadily increased, first to the F5 forecast and then beyond that to a steady F6 regularly gusting F7, a near gale. The forecasts had indicated the wind would drop about two thirds of the way across to Astypalea and sure enough, and thankfully, it did; so much so that the engine was employed for nearly an hour before a more gentle F4 breeze came in allowing deployment of both sails and restoring the speed made to well over 7 knots with a maximum of 11.3 knots being recorded. Jan by then was much better and able to take in the surroundings as the island grew in size and detail as we steadily approached in a much reduced sea. In a little over 12 hours we had covered the 85nms and were moored up, stern-to, in the newly constructed harbour in Plaka, the island's capital. Crete's seas had done it again!

Plaka is a pretty little place if a little cut off from the real world despite its new yacht attracting harbour and the invasion of the Internet (see photo). It is fifteen years since I was here last in CGI and it and its people have otherwise changed little and their economy seems as weak as it did in 2001. We had a simple supper in a taverna used in 2001 and which we (then Charlie & I) vowed we would never again use as the two gay's who owned and ran it had fallen out big time that night and ruined Paul and Jackie's lobster they had so being looking forward to and did not do any better with C and my simpler fare. The service was appalling! But Jan and I could see nowhere better so in we went. Fortunately all went well but the meal was uninspiring.

After a hearty breakfast the following morning and a check on the winds we might expect over the next few days, I suggested we push on, more or less due East, to Nisyros and lay up there for a couple of days. Despite her experience the previous day Jan was up for it so off we went, immediately under sail and skipping along in the stiff F5 breeze at 7 knots and more. The first 5-6nms were in the lee of the island and so the sea was flat but that changed as we cleared its protection and we were soon riding 2-3 metre waves but slightly more on the port quarter in this NNW'ly wind which gave CG a chance to lift her skirts and plane down the face of the waves increasing her speed accordingly. Thus we sailed 37 of the 40nms at another good average speed of just under 7 knots. Jan was fine if nervous all day.

Friday September 15th & Saturday September 16th

Nisyros is a relatively young and still active volcano sitting over a huge store of magma a mere 1.5kms below the surface. It last erupted seriously in 1880 and even then that was confined to the main caldera. Its activity is regularly monitored and in fact a team of geologists and volcanologists were in the the active inner crater whilst we were there, checking on changes in its formation. It is the youngest volcano in this region and is thus considered more likely to seriously erupt in the future than most of its compatriots. That, of course, is what attracts so many visitors both in yachts like us and in daily tripper boats from Kos just 25 miles away. Palos, the little harbour we use, has been developed since our first visit back in 2001 and is now regularly full to capacity with more than 30 yachts; in 2001 ten was a lot.

A car was hired and a load of washing left with a lady in the taverna opposite whilst we drove up to Emborios, a village on the southern rim of the caldera where we stopped for a drink (see photo) and prepare Jan for the descent into the crater. Emborios had been largely abandoned a century ago but is now being reoccupied courtesy of some EU and UN funding. Its sauna cave was shown to Jan but not entered as it was full of wasps. It is a natural phenomenon, fed as it is by one of the volcano's many gaseous vents; this one being non-toxic.

After that we drove the steeply inclined and windy road down the inside of the caldera to its centre of activity where we now have to pay €3.00 each to enter. Jan was game for the clamber down into the 60 metre deep active crater (see photo) to walk its sulphurous, sand and mud pool base, something I had not done previously. Gases gush from various vents (see photo) and the potentially dangerous soft and active areas are fenced off where bubbling mud pools are currently relatively dormant; it was adjacent to these we caught a whiff of the more noxious gases that the geologists were wearing protective masks against.

By now it was exceedingly hot; a mixture of the midday heat and the ambient heat of the crater. Time to clamber back out and drive up to the quaint little village of Nikea, precariously perched as it is on the narrow rim of the caldera (see photo). There, after a walk through its narrow windy paths squeezed between its higgledy piggledy, beautifully maintained and colourfully painted houses we settled down for an ice cold beer each and shared a freshly made and delicious bruschetta. Even at this height the temperature was over 30°C.

Later in the day we drove 4 kms along the coast to the main town and port of Mandraki, squeezing the car through its equally narrow streets as far as we could before parking up and walking the rest of its quaint and windy streets, wide enough only to take mopeds, certainly not cars. We finally settled in one of several waterside bars to watch the approaching sunset (see photo) before returning to Aphroditi taverna in Platos for our supper and renewing an old friendship with its owners.

Saturday saw us clearing some of the outstanding jobs of the list; cleaning the stainless steel, fixing the mosquito nets, fitting a new bilge pump and such like before finishing the day with an home-made chilli con carne and Basmati rice.

Sunday September 17th to Tuesday September 19th

It was time to make some progress north in anticipation of then progressing west through the Cyclades to the Saronic. But first one must get round Kos which effectively sits east and west across the way north with its eastern end just a couple of miles off the Turkish coast near Bodrum. The forecast winds suggested going round its western end and up to Kalimnos would be hours of bumpy and unpleasant motoring whereas to head north-east round its eastern end might just give us a half-decent sail for some of the 22nms. So it was and by 14.30 we were snugly tucked up in Kos Old Town harbour.
What a shock we got when walking into the town square for internet access and a coffee. The reported earthquake of July 22nd had slipped from the mind but the walk brought it sharply back into focus as the photos will show. The promenades between the road and the quayside has sunk by a foot severing most of the power and water supplies within it. Elsewhere most buildings seem to have suffered little damage but some the exact opposite as the 'before and after' photo of the old mosque in the town square clearly shows. It has always been a striking reminder of Greece's past under Turkish rule; their fierce national pride in no way dims their tolerance of other faiths and nationalities. The Mosque operated as a taverna but never served alcohol in deference to its past usage (see photos).

Our next serious target was to be Amorgos some 60nms west of Kalymnos so it was Kalymnos we motored round to on Monday and restocked on basic supplies. The intention was to use the forecast light southerly winds on Tuesday to sail the 25nms to a new port of call, the island of Levitha but the wind never materialised so after a quick peek at its bare facilities we motored on in an usually windless day; as Jan said the oily appearance of an almost flat sea was eerie as was the misty appearance of the horizon and junctions between the islands' shorelines and the sea where the high humidity showed itself.

Wednesday September 20th & Thursday September 21st

Wednesday was largely spent doing chores and minor jobs on the boat with Jan almost completing the cleaning and polishing of all the stainless steel which had been severely tarnished by the unusually windy weather in Aghios Nikolaos this summer, that bringing a sticky mixture of salt air and sand that sticks to almost everything. Whilst this also happens over the winter, then it also rains which helps to keep it down.

A gourmet festival started the day we arrived which was largely to support and promote the island's five year old wine industry which seems unbelievably vast in range as there seem to be no organised vineyards anywhere on the island. The range covers the usual red, rose and white varieties as well as a raki based liqueur available in two strengths and flavours in a range of different attractive bottles. Your truly was purchased one of these for the boat but I think it is going to be taken home and enjoyed there with friends and, when finished, the decanter it came in used to hold Metaxa. The music played all evening and whilst canned, was well chosen and a mixture of modern light jazz and blues numbers; all orchestral.

A car was hired on Thursday and after driving 10kms a return effected to collect my wallet carelessly left on their office desk. With some trepidation we then drove up over the top of this mountainous island and halfway down the very steep southern side to a small car park where we disembarked to make the climb over several hundred feet up the narrow pathway cut into the cliff side to reach the Panagia Hozoviotissa monastery perched as it is it 300m (1,000ft) up the 900m (3,000ft) cliff face. The trepidation was about Jan's ability to overcome her inherent fear of heights. But climb it we did and entered the monastery through its 1.2m (4ft) high entrance door at which point Jan had had enough as the next task was to climb the exceptionally steep stone staircase to the next floor some 10m (35ft) further up. The photos hopefully give some idea of the challenge.

After a further half-hour's drive we stopped at the island's other port, Aegiali, a considerably less attractive place save for two minor stone paved streets with neatly white painted joints, one full of gifty type shops and the other make its way gently up the slope away from the harbour and overlooking Ormos Aegiali, the bay and here the enterprising locals have converted the original houses into bars and tavernas with tree-lined patios on the seaward side of the street many with colourful parasols, tables and chairs. At one visited before we had a superb 'tono salata', (tuna salad) before returning to the car I had fortunately been able to park under the only bit of shade under a palm tree.

We then drove the 40kms back up and over the mountains before descending to the other much less hilly western end of the island where, right at its extremity, is a lovely silver sand land-locked bay full of local fishing boats and occasionally the odd visiting yacht. There is a generator powered makeshift timber structure on the beach very effectively serving folk with cold drinks, beers and ice creams and presumably supplying the timber-posted palm frond parasols dotted along the water's edge and the sunbeds to lie on beneath them. There is also a loo of experience comprising of a shed and a sort of toilet pan that has no base; your deposits disappear into the dark depths of the cavern beneath your seat, never to be seen again.

That evening we revisited the Chora (town on the hill) to again walk its twisting stone clad streets, rising and falling as they do, up and down the contours of the mountain it was built upon (see photo). We had stopped there for coffee that morning that actually ended up being two glasses of freshly pressed lemon juice; it was then I realised that I was wallet-less!

After spending nearly an hour exploring all the other tavernas we returned to the same bar for our supper. It was to be an amusing if disappointing experience. Service was slow and the young waitress who we suspect was the owning couple's daughter quickly explained in near perfect English, that the chef (probably a local housewife or the owner's wife rather than what we would describe as a chef) had pulled a sicky and taken the evening off so they were a little pressed. I suspected the chef was in fact the owner, her Mother, as we did not see her all evening and her husband looked disconsolate and harassed. We ordered marinated goat and chick pea balls with the usual carafe of white wine. “Sorry Sir, we have not got any chick pea balls” we are told 15 minutes later, that being after she had dropped a carafe and glasses in the entrance that discharged glass and wine across the narrow street. The order was amended to zuccini balls and the wait continued whilst we supped the wine. We noted that several couples came, ordered a drink, studied the menu, drank up and left, presumably because they had noted the chaos. The goat was disappointing in that there was little else in the clay pot, certainly no sauce and very little juice; it thus seemed very odd to serve with a small bowl of very plain dry rice. The zuccini balls were burnt. But we laughed it off and enjoyed the sight of the reflected sunset we could see down the windy street before us.

Friday September 22nd to Friday September 29th

We had been motoring far too much and as I do not like the fuel level to drop much below half full; it had: we were in need of diesel. Strangely none was available in Katapola. That influenced where we would head next. The choice was between Ios and Naoussa on Paros; whilst Ios was the nearest and sailable in the forecast northerly winds, it meant drifting further south whereas Paros inevitably meant more motoring into the northerly winds but in the right direction for our intended itinerary. As the breeze was still north-easterly as we left, both sails were deployed and a spirited sail enjoyed making more towards Paros than Ios with the thinking being when it went northerly we could bear away and head down to Ios. But Aeolus had other ideas and after 7nms, roughly an hour, turned the wind off completely. On went the engine and it stayed on until we reached Naoussa some six hours later. Not the most enjoyable trip but once we got into the channel between Naxos and Paros the sea reduced considerably making it boring rather than challenging.

Naoussa is a quite posh and expensive resort set as it is in a large picturesque bay on the north side of the island of Paros and with its Venetian history and harbour entrance fort, it attracts crowds of the better off Greeks, particularly at weekends.
Its small but adequate marina style harbour is managed by Molly Motor-Mouth and she was there to 'greet' us in her own inimitable style. “I not take your lines. I did not tell you to come in here. I have no lazy line here. You will have to go out again and come in on anchor!” The huge sign in the harbour entrance says in huge capital letters “NO ANCHOR”. Fortunately she was wrong as her colleague picked up the shore end of a lazy line, checked it was attached and passed it to us. Unfortunately by then the wind had blown us at an angle across the space I had chosen so we bumped the yacht next door which would not have happened had she taken our lines as asked. No damage was done at all and five minutes later we were safely moored up albeit in a bit of a Heath Robinson way if you look at the photo of the starboard warp attached to a bit of reinforcing rod (see photo). Quite soon, more of the locals came to greet us and ask for any free handouts that might be going. Jan duly obliged them (see photo). There are about fifty geese and ducks that live on the river outlet where it drains into the harbour over which a very attractive artistic bridge has been built in recent years.

Being a posh place we showered and dressed – poshly; then walked along to the posh bars and posh tavernas around the old harbour where we plonked ourselves down in a posh bar on a posh settee with posh cushions and ordered a posh glass of wine; there were no cheaper options so French Sauvignon blanc it was at €5.00 a glass, no more expensive than a British pub though and probably a good bit larger.

Reality soon returned and after a walk round the back streets of this charming and beautifully maintained town we returned to the boat to consume some of the chicken curry I had thrown together on the way up.


It would seem there are two themes to this trip, thus far at least. The first is the lack of strong winds, the first two days excepted that is. The second, partly as a result of that; my intended itinerary changes by the day. No sooner have I laid out a plan for the next few days than the forecast winds, or lack of them, change the plan.

The intention for the next day did not change though as we had shore power available included in the surprisingly cheap nightly fee of €10 and the tooth brushes needed a good charge up. The other thing we cannot do without shore power is iron!

It is worth noting if only for my own benefit that the new batteries recommended by Udo are easily holding their charge every day even when we have sailed all day or just sat in port; no mean achievement for one little photovoltaic panel battling against the drain the fridge puts on the batteries before you switch anything else on.

That evening we ate in town, well away from the front to avoid their ridiculously loaded prices. We chose a taverna I had used several times before, Piatso. Jan had a seriously good Caesar salad with added chicken and myself, a spaghetti carbonara made with really chunky fresh local mushrooms and thickly cut Parian (Paros is the island) pancetta with a cream sauce that did both ingredients justice.

On Sunday the intention had been to slip slightly south and visit one of my all time favourites, Vathi on Sifnos and perhaps spend two or three days there at anchor. But a study of the forecast winds for the next week suggested that would then give us two uncomfortable days heading North before being able to continue West towards the Ionian. So in a good stiff northerly breeze we sailed more or less due West to Serifos where we spent just the one night.

The Chora (town on the hill) is considered one of the most picturesque in Greece and certainly in the Cyclades. It is easily accessed by the only bus route on the island, which for €1.80 trudges you up the steep windy road with its numerous hairpin bends to reach its peak some 2,000' above the harbour in what must be an historic relic of an early Mercedes bus; going up or down, the only gears it uses are first, second and reverse: the remainder have probably never been engaged.

Jan was less than sure about the views from the paths around the Chora, perched as they are close to the sheer drops that facilitated its security against pirates and other invaders. Finding your way round is difficult as the paths (streets) were deliberately designed to lead nowhere or somewhere, again making it difficult for invaders to find the residents; dead end paths abound! But after rising close to the summit we did mange to find our way back to the tiny central square where we had a very enjoyable mezze plate for two and a carafe of local wine before catching the 20.30 bus back down to the harbour. Jan was much relieved to be back at sea level and we had a very second rate crepe to celebrate that.

Monday morning was again bright an clear as we set off to motor North round the east side of Serifos then across the channel between it and Kithnos and up the west side of Kithnos to Ormos Apokriosis where we spent an enjoyable evening at anchor in its peace and tranquillity also being enjoyed and respected by half a dozen other yachts. No noisy 'bloke boats' this time.

Tuesday morning we were up sharp at dawn and off more or less due West heading for Poros in the Saronic and the harbour where CGIV was seriously damaged in the hurricane force squall last October. We managed to sail a third of the 45nm distance before the wind died away to nothing.
It would be no understatement to say I felt extremely nervous mooring up almost exactly where I thought my life was coming to an end, not that I can remember anything of the dramatic part of the incident other than that thought when CGIV was struck and dragged out of her mooring, though I do remember the 100mph winds, the resultant huge seas and 20 plus wrecked yachts we fought for the next half an hour. If you wish to read the whole story, buy a copy of December 2017's Yachting Monthly.

The stay was just one night as the weather, despite the continuing high pressure, was looking decidedly unpleasant and thunderstorms were forecast and that thought horrified me. Thus we set off reasonably early on a 30nm motor to the Corinth canal where we paid the exorbitant €246.37 charge to pass along its 5kms and out into the Gulf of Corinth where we had a gentle sail the 10nms to Kiato and moored up alongside for the night.
After supper taken on board we walked into the town where Jan was introduced to Metaxa. Two huge glasses were served up for €3.00 each; Greek local prices and half what we would have paid in Poros for half the quantity; just like to the good old days before tourism spoilt the price structure and the dramas of 2008 caused the Greek government to heavily tax alcohol.

The forecast winds were still benign but thunder, lightning and rain was forecast and we received a smattering of the latter with a F6 wind on the nose for 10nms as we approached Galaxidhi the following day. At one time I seriously wondered if Galaxidhi would be tenable but all calmed down an hour before we got there and mooring up was completed with ease.

Galaxidhi is a gorgeous little harbour with a charming street containing some really old and unchanged shops which could easily fool you into thinking you had been transported back in time by 50 or 100 years. We dined in a charming, characterful and very unusual taverna with its log fire and teak furnishings; it might be more appropriate to say restaurant. The owner is slightly bohemian in his approach but by golly he can cook and serves up an interesting and different meal. We both ordered Moussaka which defied the recipe books almost completely, particularly as it was served accompanied by a good portion of home cut chips that had an unbelievably good flavour; the Bechamel topping was so light it would have floated away were it not for its finely grated cheese topping holding it down. Before that appeared, complimentary dips were served with bread and olives, not in itself so unusual but the TWO separate complimentary desserts certainly where as was the wine tasting before you ordered and the Raki served afterwards. Before we could order anything, two small carafes of wine, one red, one white, were delivered to the table for us to try and choose which we would like. We chose the red and further carafe was added. The whole meal cost a mere €30.00 for effectively four courses, wine and a liqueur; how they do it and make the good living they evidently do is quite amazing. And, as I told Jan, they shut in the busy tourist months of July and August!

The plan changed again. A trip to Delphi high up in the mountains was why we came here but Jan is not keen on heights and certainly not Delphi though she had been persuaded to at least give it a try. However, it seemed irrelevant as it looked as if Delphi would have been swathed in cloud which would have made for a very unpleasant, cold and wet environment. We decided to push on towards the Ionian, leaving the delights of The Oracle's history and Delphi for another day.

There were to be a few more unexpected and not entirely positive changes to come.

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