Monthly Archives: December 2016

Rain in west coast Peloppnese- Greece.

I think I’ve just seen Noah!
Having had a great morning visit of the Museum at Olympia, it was time to get back to the coast. The weather forecast didn’t look good, lightning storms laden with heavy rain for the western side of Greece. We’d been lucky so far in Ancient Olympia, 28/10 ish, but the forecast looked like bad news for a week. As we pootled down the coast, the dark clouds built and flashes of lightning started creeping closer. Holed up at Kalon Neron for a full day, listening to the rain pounding on the roof, watching the lightning storms play out at sea and planning how we could get out of all the squall, perhaps to escape the plastic box for a while.

Storm clouds rolling in

Storm clouds rolling in and waves bashing.

There was nothing for it, let’s go for a drive in-land. A circular route of about 100 miles was planned, to see the Old Bridge over Lousios River and back, taking in the castle at Karitania and the Temple of Apollo on-route, hoping we could dodge some of the bad weather… but, even inland It pretty much rained the whole 3 days. Photos were taken in the briefest of moments in-between downpours. It was raining so hard at Karitania castle (there was also no where to park) I only briefly got out of the cab. The ‘Old bridge’ was very cute but I couldn’t find out much about it at the time.

The 'Old Bridge' just orth of Karitania

The ‘Old Bridge’ just orth of Karitania, the swelled river.

The Temple of Apollo, still under wraps from 1989, still being ‘worked on’, but does give you an indication of what these huge buildings and Temples would have looked like when they were first built. The forecast had predicted snow the following day, but ‘Apollo gate man’ assured us he’d only ever seen once in twenty years! …Ahem…make that twice mate! It snowed the next day, all over this area, so hard in places they had to get the rusty snow ploughs out. We were well out of it by that point, heading east and at the same time dropping 1000 feet.

The Temple of Apollo.

The Temple of Apollo.

Back at the coast the evidence of all that rain was clear, rivers of mud had worked their way down rivers and back to the sea down, through slips of valleys and over roads, washing them out in places, it seemed as if Greece hadn’t experienced this much rain in a while, lucky us! Now having completed a full loop back at Kalon Neron, the rain at least stopped, just long enough for us to do a bit of shopping at Lidl again. It’d been raining now for 4 days solid, day and night, with only a few short moments of reprieve. Back to the coast to see one of the beautiful beaches Greece boasts about.

Parked up outside Temple of Apollo

Parked up outside Temple of Apollo

Voidokilia beach is well-known as one of Greece’s nicest beach’s. If it wasn’t rumbling thunder with occasional make-your-head-bleed rain, squelchy mud under-foot and the sea, (instead of clean blue) a watery muddy uninviting soup…I may agree it deserves the fame. Perhaps we hadn’t caught it on a good day, I can see the potential, but not at the end of November following a 96 hour storm.

Brown soup?

Brown soup?

It was however a very peaceful area to be in and the lagoon had loads of pink Flamingos. The whole area was teaming with wildlife, countless different species of birds we couldn’t identify, some we could, Heron, Coot, Little Egret, Kingfisher and loads of ‘hawk-Buzzard-types’ swooping about.  The volume of Grass-Hoppers and Frogs calling all night was very soothing as you nod off to sleep. It sounded a bit like a soundtrack to a film made in Africa, …just add wildebeest. (and Sunshine…Pleeeeze!)

Flamingo's at one O'clock!!

Flamingo’s at one O’clock!!

Don't have any fun here!

Don’t have any fun here! No MoHo’s too!

The steep pointy lump of land on the opposite end of the beach contains an old ruined castle up-top and halfway up, ‘Nestor’s cave’ an old but not very deep hole in the side of the hill. The trek up a steep sandy incline to the cave entrance wasn’t too difficult, but to clamber over the slippery muddy rocks to the very top looked just too dangerous on a day like today. A shame, because on a nicer day, it looked to be a great do-able scramble, we will have to settle with a view from the cave entrance back across the bay.

In 24 hours we’d seen only 4 other vehicles in the (our) beach car park. As we descended the hill neared the Charliebus, a fairly embarrassed looking Greek began to explain how he’d got his little VW Golf stuck in the mud and ‘would I mind helping him shove it out?’. As if by magic, also at this moment, another car pulled into the car park (parked in a more sensible spot) and out popped another willing helper. Ten minuets of shoving and heaving had his little Golf was out of the mud, pushing a bit of local shrubbery under his front tyres also helped. The fella stuck in the mud has no idea how lucky he was to have another willing helper turn up at that moment, I wouldn’t have got him out on my own and no other cars turned up the rest of the day. Now don’t get me wrong, we can ALL get stuck from time to time, I’ve been stuck a couple of times, (both times on a campsite, both times on grass) but some people choose to park in the most ridiculous of spots and deserve to stay there for a bit, if just to contemplate the error of their ways.

Looking out of Nestor's cave.

Looking out of Nestor’s cave.

Veiw of the bay from the cave.

Veiw of the bay from the cave.

A couple of nights at Voidokilia beach, the weather forecast was still insisting on more rain to come for the whole Western edge of this Peloponnese lump, but this time it did look favourable (and colder) in the central Peloponnese area. After an overnight at Methoni, (more rain) a course was set for ‘UNESCO listed Mystras’, not forgetting Sparta, via Kalamata for a night in a hotel, out of the elements, a bit of a morale booster was long over-due and in order! This new route also means I get to drive the Langada pass, through the deep Langada Gorge, all the way to Sparta. Whoopeee!

Parked up at 'Mystras'

Parked up at ‘Mystras’. Can you spot a sliver of blue sky?

n37.45690 e21.63900 Beach car park. Water from showers. Quiet. Remote. Nice beach.

n37.30135 e21.69535 Kalo Nero (Kalon Neron) Not the regular spot for MoHo’s, but a lay by just to the north. No services. Pebble beach. Quiet. Except for the rain & thunder!

n37.42960 e21.90020 Temple of Apollo car park. No services. Very Quiet.

n36,96666 e21.66130 Gialova lagoon, Great spot. Quiet. No services. Great beach.

Horizon Blu Hotel –Kalamata. €80. Very nice!

Got over the mid-week hump. As I type this, our Charliebus is still being pounded with rain & the wind is rocking us from side to side, it looks like it’s in for the night. “Come to Greece for the winter” they said! “You’ll have a great time” they said! Pffff! I’m beginning to rust!

Cheers Wayne X