November 15, 2022 Portland OR

The trip home was uneventful which is always great. We arrived at the airport 4 hours early as Delta requested and were thru security and immigration in 30 minutes. The flight home left on time and we arrived in Portland 45 minutes early as did our bags. It doesn’t get better than that.

On this trip we visited 8 countries and 5 of them were new for us. We really enjoyed Greece because we found the people to be charming and fun to talk to. They were quick to engage with you, and did not let language barriers get in the way of a fun time. Meteora was probably the most beautiful place we visited on the trip. We enjoyed our long stay with our friends in Missolonghi, nine days in one place is a record for us, so thanks Cory and Ovi for showing us how to slow down and smell the roses.

Croatia was very beautiful, but surprisingly expensive. Campgrounds were significantly higher than we have paid anywhere else in Europe which caught us by surprise. The coast line was stunning and the food was good. Plitvice Lakes National Park was beautiful and worth the trip in and of itself.

Montenegro and Albania were both very interesting to visit as they are not as developed as the rest of Europe. We enjoyed both countries quite a lot and the infrastructure for camping is good enough to make it not a real adventure.

The last new countries were Austria and Slovenia. Our visits there were short and wet so we did not see as much as we would have liked. I can see visits again to both countries in the future.

We covered more ground than I think we have on any other trip. I was startled that the plane ride from Athens to Amsterdam was 3 and a half hours. We had gone further than I thought.

The weather was fantastic given the time of year, and we did not run our heater even one day. Costs for this trip were in line with what we have spent on other trips. The strong dollar off set some of the inflation that has been happening.

We are looking forward to returning to Greece in the spring for some more exploration. After Greece we are planning on heading into Turkey in the spring.

November 14, 2022 Amstredam NE

Today we left Athens for Amsterdam. Everything worked exactly as it was supposed to. The highlight of the day was our taxi ride to the airport. The driver was fascinating as he had played in the highest division of the Greek basketball league for over 10 years. He had some very interesting stories about his travels and strong opinions about the difference between American basketball philosophy and European basketball philosophy. He much preferred American. He may have been biased though as he was half American. His mother had come to Greece on holiday, where she met his father and never left. Despite having a degree in economics from a good Greek University he drove a taxi because he could make twice as much doing that as working for a big company with his economics degree. He also had very strong views on American politics that we didn’t agree with, but he presented them in a charming way. It was probably the most interesting taxi ride we have ever taken.

November 13, 2022 Athens GR

Today we took in the highlight of every tourists trip to Athens the Acropolis. There are historical sites, but besides the Pyramids and Machu Pichu none match the Acropolis in significance in my opinion. We woke up early, had our breakfast and were in the grounds by 8:30.

Standing in front of the Parthenon, we were there early so the crowds were pretty light.

We were happy that we arrived early because the Acropolis was pretty quiet. The walk up the hill to the top is full of very interesting relics and sites of temples, but does not prepare you for the experience at the top of the hill where the actual Acropolis site is.

Climbing up the hill to the Acropolis you pass the Theater of Dionysus.

There are 4 ancient buildings standing today The Propylea which is the entry gate to the Acropolis, the Temple of Nike, the Erectheum, and of course the most famous building the Parthenon.

The gate of the Propylea, where you enter the grounds of the Acropolis.

Once you are up there you cannot help to be awed by the history of this site. There have buildings here since around 500 AD, and some of the great figures of ancient history such as Socrates and Aristotle walked the same ground.

The Temple of Nike, the goddess of victory.

The two other temples at the site are also impressive and quite beautiful. We were particularly taken with the Erectheum and the six female figurines that hold up the Porch of the Maidens. Most ancient Greek buildings are symmetrical, but the Erectheum is not, besides the Porch of the Maidens there is another wing on the other wall of the building.

The Porch of the Maidens, these maidens are replicas as the originals have been moved into the Acropolis Museum for preservation.

The building that is the center piece of the Acropolis is the Parthenon. It is strikingly large and impressive despite the damage that has occurred due to man made and natural causes. There is an extensive repair project going on to preserve the building hopefully for another 2500 years.

The Parthenon is one of the true wonders of the world.

After a couple of hours on top of the Acropolis we noticed the crowds were building and decided to head to the museum to look at the collection of artifacts from the Acropolis.

A sculpture of Alexander the great recovered from the Acropolis.

The museum is massive and has an incredible display of different types of relics that have been recovered from excavations in the Acropolis. There was an interesting display showing statues that had been damaged when the Acropolis was pillaged by the Persians around 400 AD. Apparently a lot of the statues that had been wrecked were piled into a garbage heap and buried. They were discovered in the 1800’s and allowed modern archaeologists to learn more about that period of Athenian history. Five of the original maidens from the Erectheum were on display in the museum also.

Five of the original maidens from the Erectheum, the sixth is in the British Museum in London.

Today is the Athens Marathon, which the Athenians like to point out is the original Marathon. As we were walking to the Acropolis, we saw a lot of people heading out to the marathon course in their running gear. As we were walking around the Acropolis we could hear the music and the hype guy at the marathon site the entire time. After we finished with the museum we decided to head over to the stadium to see the end of the marathon.

Walking to the finish line for the marathon we saw all of these bags with peoples gear for their post marathon recovery. Ton told me she had read that there were 48000 participants today between the 5k, 10k and the marathon races.

The finish was in the Olympic Stadium from the first modern Olympics which were held in 1896. The stadium is said to be the largest marble stadium in the world. When we got to the stadium the time since the start was 3 hours 15 minutes so the good non-professional runners were finishing and there was a steady stream of them.

The finish line for the marathon in the Olympic Stadium.

We hung around for about an hour and it was fun to watch the reaction of the runners as they crossed the finish line. Finishing a marathon is quite an accomplishment and to be able to do it at the site of an Olympic Stadium must be extra special.

The Olympic Stadium was very full and the support for the runners as they finished was enthusiastic.

At this point we were getting hungry and decided to go for lunch. We didn’t have anywhere in particular in mind but thought we would find something that looked interesting and give it a shot. As we wandered thru Athens looking for the perfect interesting restaurant we found a couple that we thought about but always decided it wasn’t quite perfect. Finally we got into the section of town that was packed with post race crowds and suddenly nothing was close to perfect, so in the end we headed back to the hotel and had some snacks.

Between it being Sunday and the post race crowds the hip areas of Athens were packed today.

November 12, 2022 Athens GR

Yesterday we were a little disappointed in Athens, today she redeemed herself. We decided to spend one of our two days doing the Parthenon and Acropolis tour, and the other day exploring the city including the market and a couple of districts that are supposed to have interesting stores and restaurants. Since today is pretty grey and Sunday is supposed to be better we decided to do the city exploration today.

Our first stop for the day was the Fotsi spice store which has been in business since the 1930’s.

After breakfast we punched in the location of a spice store Ton wanted to visit and headed out on foot. Our route took us down the same wide boulevard as yesterday. Since it was Saturday it was a little less busy and loud than yesterday. After we passed by the turn to the Acropolis we found ourselves in a nice part of town full of interesting shops and tourist oriented stores. This area made a much nicer impression than yesterday.

This area is the remnants of Hadrians library, a Roman era structure. We passed it on the way to Fotsi.

Ton was in her element as there was an eclectic mix of specialized food stores, spice stores, bakeries, and cafes. I had to walk behind her so I wouldn’t lose her when something interesting got her attention. It took us about 2 hours to cover 1 km of shops before we arrived at Fotsi spice store.

A street paved in marble, which is a first for us.

The streets were busy but not overwhelming with Greeks slightly outnumbering the tourists. We also found the people watching interesting as there were an exceptional amount of very fit people walking around because of the Athens Marathon tomorrow.

For November the streets were pretty busy, but were a nice mixture of Greeks and tourists.

The highlight of the day turned out to be the central market. These are always one of Tons favorite places, and the Athens market is one of the best ones we have visited. There were endless meat stalls with each stall specializing in a certain type of meat. The fish part of the market was also impressive. The market is not an architectural marvel or at all posh, it is a working market that local people come to for their meat, fish and vegetables.

Endless fresh fish in the Athens Central Market.

Ton told me a fun story from her last trip to Athens. She was traveling with a Thai classmate when they went into a meat market and saw sheep heads on display along with the rest of the sheep. They were a little grossed out, until they remembered that in the markets in Thailand pigs were displayed exactly the same way as the Greeks displayed sheep, including the heads.

One of the meat stalls in the market, the heads are not in the picture.

We ended the visit to the market with a great meal at a seafood restaurant, we ordered a fish soup and a small mixed plate of fish. We could not begin to finish our small mixed plate, and could only wonder what the large plate looked like.

Our small mixed plate of fish included prawns, anchovies, sardines, octopus, and squid, with a mayonnaise dip.

Our last stop of the day was a tourist shop to get Ton a hoodie she had been thinking about all day. She rarely buys anything in these shops but we had stopped earlier in the day and after mulling it over decided to splurge. While we were in the shop three American women came in to buy a sweatshirt they were featuring for the Athens Marathon tomorrow that said “Finisher” on it. One of the American women was Greek-American and fluent in Greek. One of the other women asked if they could embroider “Finisher” in Greek on the sweatshirt. This started a conversation between the Greek-American and the two Greeks in the shop, it went on for a while and the Greek-American women finally confessed that the three of them could not come up with a direct translation of “Finisher” in Greek, the closest they could come up with in Greek was “I finished it”. The American friend said that was not quite the same thing, when her Greek-American friend pointed out to her that no one but her was going to be able to read it anyway so she could translate it any way she wanted. I enjoyed this lesson in linguistic nuance and couldn’t help but smile as Ton walked out with her sweatshirt that also said “Finisher” on it.

We liked these quotes from the most famous Greek philosophers.

November 11, 2022 Athens GR

Today was our last day with François on this trip. We were both up early and did the final clean up and draining of all of the water on François on the off chance it freezes in Athens. We were ready to go about 9:30 so we decided to head out, Ton wouldn’t let me leave until she got out and made sure that all of our cat Pride were clear of François before I could move.

These two were Tons favorites, they loved sitting on our step stool.

The trip over to the storage was quick and easy, and the folks running Clio storage were prepared to take us in. They ran us over to the taxi stand at a near by subway station and arranged a taxi to take us to our hotel in downtown. Driving to the hotel thru the center of Athens convinced me I made a good decision leaving François out by the airport.

The view from our hotel room is not too impressive.

After settling in at the hotel and having a light lunch we decided to head down towards the Acropolis for a quick recon of the sites before spending the next couple of days exploring the city in depth. Our initial impression was based on a very busy and loud 6 lane avenue we followed most of the way to the Parthenon area. It lacked charm and the building outside of the historical center were mostly 5 and 6 story concrete blocks that are totally uninspiring.

The stage of the theater near the Acropolis. One of the areas we will explore in depth later.

After poking around for a while and getting oriented on the sites we headed back to the hotel. The boulevard was even busier than earlier as it was now rush hour. We were even less charmed, Ton remarked that when she visited Athens in college she remembered it being a lot more intimate than now. She may have been more disappointed than me.

A cool bakery near the hotel. This is the kind of place we were expecting not the busy commercial road we found.

November 10, 2022 Nea Makri GR

While tonight is not our last night on the trip, it is our last night in François so today was spent preparing to put him away for the winter. While Ton was packing our bags and cleaning up the interior I set off to try to find a car wash that could handle François. The manager of the campground told me that there was a car wash 2 or 3 km’s down the road, but he was not sure if it could handle François. I decided to walk down there to find out and they could not, but I did get my walk in for the day. François will have to go to storage a little dirty, but the storage site said they would wash him when we pick him up.

Looking down the coast to Marathon, the setting for the first marathon run in history.

Nea Makri is located next to the town of Marathon which is famous for being the inspiration for marathon races. The story is that when the Persians were trying to invade Athens they landed at Marathon where the Greeks beat them in a major battle. A messenger was dispatched the 26 miles to Athens to tell the king that they had won, he ran the whole way at full speed to deliver his message and then collapsed and died. The Marathon of Marathon is scheduled to be run on Sunday and will use the road I walked down today but unfortunately we will be in Athens so will not be able to enjoy seeing the runners.

This gull posed patiently for Ton while she lined him up for the best shot.

Today we were cleaning out the refrigerator so we had a little extra meat that we could feed to the campground cats. We have become quite popular and have an attentive pride of cats waiting outside François at all times now. Two cute white kittens have taken over the stool that we use to step on, and occasionally jump up on to François to see if Ton has prepared any more treats. If they weren’t so cute we would run them off as they are a little too persistent.

Sibling kittens who have adopted us because we are a good food source.

In the evening we took a walk down to the waterfront, and were surprised at how extensive it was and how many good looking restaurants there were. At the beach they had an interesting machine that is designed to allow a paraplegic or other wheel chair bound people to enter the ocean. It consists of a chair on a cable that goes down into the water to a pair of handles that allows the person to exit the chair and enter the water. This is the second one we saw, the first was at Missolonghi. It was designed and built by the engineering department at a Greek University and was very impressive.

This device allows a wheel chair bound person to enter the water. It is very well done.

November 9, 2022 Nea Makri GR

Today is going to be a short entry. We are on the outskirts of Athens in a very “interesting” campground as it is made up of a lot of permanent residents. The manager seems like a nice guy and gave us a warm welcome once we tracked him down. We are at the point in the trip where we are preparing François for storage, and packing. Usually it is the couple of days before we leave, but we decided to do Athens by hotel, so Friday we will be parking François and heading into Athens.

The moon was setting as the sun was rising. This picture is from the front seat of François and taken by the non-photographer in the family.

Our plan in the morning was to spend the day in the campground in Delphi as it is really beautiful and quiet, but we wanted to give François a good bath. Usually we use a self service pressure washer like you see in the US, but apparently these do not exist in Greece. In Greece you hire someone to hand wash your car. The owners of the campground gave us two options for manual washes. When we arrived they both said we were too big. One recommended a place that does large vehicles but we could not find it. Finally we decided to fill François up with expensive Greek diesel, while we were filling I mentioned our desire to wash François to the attendant and he told me that the business next store washed cars and even walked me out to the road to show us where it was. Unfortunately he was too busy, on the way back to the campground I proposed we head towards Athens as it was still early and there was not much we could accomplish in Delphi except to enjoy the magnificent view and take care of our pride of cats. So that is how we ended up in Nea Makri tonight.

Our pride of cats feasting on leftovers from breakfast.

November 8, 2022 Delphi GR

Ton had specifically requested we stop at Delphi as she had visited it many years ago on a trip when she was in school. She remembered it has the highlight of her trip to Greece then.

Delphi was Ton’s favorite place in Greece when she visited in college.

We were up bright and early as we had to take François to the site as the local bus service is on hiatus until spring. Our early arrival was rewarded with a primo parking space close to the entrance.

You begin to get a feel for the immense size of the site when you enter.

Delphi was the major religious site for the ancient Greeks. It was maintained as a religious site by the Romans after they conquered Greece, so it was used for religious purposes for around 800 years.

Some of the building sites and relics go back to 500 BC.

Originally it was the site of the Oracle of Delphi which features heavily in Greek mythology. Some of the stories of the founding of the site at Delphi attribute the selection of the location to Greek gods. Because of natural disasters and war it underwent at least three major rebuilds so it includes examples of buildings from multiple eras of Greek and Roman architecture and art.

These figures are said to represent examples of statuary from early Greek art.

There are three major building complexes on the site, the Temple of Apollo, the theater and the stadium. In addition to the major buildings there are many smaller buildings built by different cities in Greece to celebrate great victories over rivals. These are called treasuries and would be stocked with statues commemorating heroes as well as art work to celebrate the victory. Greek communities as far away as Marseille in modern day France built treasuries on site here. Right as you enter the site there are 5 small buildings which acted as the gift shops for travelers. Some things never change.

The remains of one of the treasuries.

The site is very large and it is easy to get around now as modern walkways have been added. Ton said that was the biggest change since her visit in college.

Part of the temple of Apollo, one of the three main buildings on site.

The theater is quite large and relatively intact. Greek theater design heavily influenced how the Romans designed their theaters so it looked familiar to us.

Another view of the theater giving a sense of the ruggedness of the mountains that the site is set in.

The highest point of the site is the stadium. It is the first Greek stadium I have visited and the stadium at Delphi was the second most important in Greece after the Olympic stadium. The grounds were used primarily for racing and the decathlon. The stadium is in really good shape and you get a good feel for how the events must have looked.

The stadium at Delphi looking like it is ready to be used today.

We next visited the museum on site which houses the statues and other artifacts that have been found on site. It is a modern looking building but has been around since 1903.

Greek phoenixes were adapted from the Egyptians but substituted a womens head for the lions head in Egypt.

There are 12 halls and all are filled with different statues and small bronze works. Many of the statues in the treasuries were bronzes but almost all were lost to scavengers who melted them down for the metal.

A statue of a fellow who was considered the most beautiful man in Greece during his day.

We were lucky because while the day was beautiful and warm the crowds were relatively small and we often had the whole gallery to ourselves in the museum which allowed us to take our time going thru.

One of the few intact pieces of pottery recovered from the site, the figure is Apollo and his lute, playing a song with a crow.

After a short break for a snack in François, we visited two secondary sites. The Gymnasium (a kind of school) was closed today, but we were able to see the Tholos of Athena which was a secondary site for the original Delphi. It had an unusual round domed temple that was famous.

Part of the Tholos of Athena a round temple located near Delphi.

Delphi did not disappoint Ton on her second trip. We returned to the campground where Ton began cooking up all of the food in François as our time in him is winding down. We have acquired a pride of about 5 cats because we have both been feeding them bits and pieces of things from the fridge. Now whenever either one of us leave François we have a parade of cats following us around like we are the Pied Piper.

November 7, 2022 Delphi GR

I am giving serious consideration to firing Greta our Garmin after today. The details on why will be below.

Our last morning in the marina at Missolonghi was much calmer than the past two days.

After 9 days in Missolonghi with our dear friends Cori and Ovi it was time to move on as we are near the end of our time for this trip. In the 12 years we have been traveling in a RV we have never spent 9 days in one place. But our time in Misolonghi went by quickly. Good company does that. Last night we were sharing our plans for the spring and since we both are including Turkey in those plans we are hoping we can arrange to cross paths again.

Leaving Missolonghi we saw these Flamingos in front of the salt works on the lagoon.

Our trip today was a relatively short 140 kilometers. Some was on a toll way and some on a good national road. It should have been a piece of cake. As a little background we have a US based Garmin with a European sim card produced by Garmin inserted in it. We bought the card about 10 months ago from Garmin so it should be up to date. Since we have entered the Balkans the quality of the maps has been so/so to poor. The speed limits on the Garmin differ so frequently and substantially from the posted speed limits that at this point I ignore what is on the Garmin. I suspect that they have not been checked at all and are instead going off some kind of formula based on the type of road and the location. Whatever they are using it is extremely inaccurate often varying from the actual speed limit by 30kph. A few times it has tried to send us down roads that appear to have been abandoned for years. In the past when traveling in France and Spain we have had minor issues with the Garmin, but since entering Croatia thru to Greece we have enough issues where I sometimes doubt the accuracy of the route I am being told to take.

The campground we are staying at in Delphi also produces award winning olive oil.

Today was infuriating as we were on a major toll way heading towards Patras. To get to Patras you have to cross a large bridge that connects the Peloponesus region with the mainland of Greece. I knew we would have to exit before crossing the bridge as Dephi is on the mainland. With the bridge in sight Greta told us to exit in 1 km, the road signs indicated an exit in .5km which was visible on Greta as well, but did not indicate Greta’s exit. Something didn’t feel right but I decided to follow Greta. When we got to her exit it was blocked and appeared to have been closed for a substantial period of time.

The problem was there was no other exit before the Patras Bridge, and while it is a beautiful bridge and an impressive feat of engineering it costs €21 each way to use. Because of the inaccurate information on Greta Garmin we had to do a €42 turn around on the bridge. This is a major route and there is no excuse for the Garmin to not reflect the current routing of the roads on the toll way. €42 will buy a very nice dinner for two here in Greece and we had to throw it away because of Garmin.

The rest of the trip down the coast to our campground near Delphi was beautiful and uneventful (though the speed limits on the Garmin were completely inaccurate) and I would have really enjoyed the drive if I was not stewing the whole time over our expensive U turn. As we were approaching the campground Greta told us to turn down a road that was fenced and overgrown with bushes to enter the campground. The road had clearly been abandoned for years.

Sunset taken from the passenger seat of François.

By the way the campground is stunning, one of the most beautiful we have stayed in.

November 6, 2022 Missolonghi GR

We woke up to heavy rain on the roof of François so we both settled in for a lazy morning. Finally about 11 am the rain quit and we began moving about slowly.

These look like sausages, but are actually deserts. When a customer wants some they cut a piece off.

Around noon Cory and Ovi showed up at the door and asked if we wanted to go for a walk. Ton was still in her pajamas but got dressed quickly and we headed into town for a Sunday stroll. Sunday is family day, and the restaurants in town were full of multi-generation gatherings. After walking around for a while we headed back to the marina for a break before heading over to Silver Cloud for dinner and a bottle of wine.

All in all a quiet day spent with friends.

November 5, 2022 Missolonghi GR

We have extended our stay at Missolonghi because the weather forecast has taken a temporary turn for the worst. The first week we were here was pretty bad, but since then the weather has been nearly perfect. Overall the weather on this trip has been some of the best we have ever had. Today a front came thru in the late afternoon and treated us to a pretty spectacular thunderstorm and high winds. The severe weather only lasted an hour or so, but then it just drizzled steadily after that.

On the way to the farmers market the fishermen were displaying the days catch right next to the boats.

We were able to take advantage of good weather in the morning to head over to the farmers market in town. Ton shares a love of farmers markets with Cory and Ovi so we walked out of the market with a bunch of delicious olives, and fruit. A lot of the fruit trees seem to be at their peak so the selection was exceptional.

Ton posing on Silver Cloud, Ovi and Cory’s boat, before our departure for the market.

We used the rest of the day to take care of laundry, and to do a little prep for our departure. I even went out once the storm calmed down a bit and gave François a little bath using mother natures natural car wash. All in all a pretty quiet day.

François in the marina hiding among the boats.

November 4, 2022 Missolonghi GR

The Greeks are really starting to win us over. We had very little planned for the day except for a walk to town. We spent some time in the morning working with Delta airlines fixing our flights as the leg from Athens to Amsterdam was canceled by KLM airlines. This is the second time KLM has done this on the trip, when we were coming they canceled the flight from Amsterdam to Paris, so we will be avoiding KLM in the future.

Cory and Ton had set up a brunch date for 11am so we were off to Cory and Ovi’s boat for omelets. After brunch was done we headed into town for an afternoon stroll. Ovi has an incredible sweet tooth so he took us on a tour of the bakeries of Missolonghi. At the second bakery Cory took Ton in to show her something. I was hanging around in the street when 4 Greek gentlemen sitting in front of the bakery asked me where I was from. Before we knew what hit us we were sitting down with them exchanging shots of Ouzo and telling our life stories. None of them were at all fluent in English, but that was not going to stop them from getting to know us. It took all of our willpower to break away from them before the shots of Ouzo got out of control.

Around the corner from the bakery was a Greek Orthodox church that Cory says has always been closed. Today it was open so we were tentatively peeking in when a very young Priest waved us in. Ton and I have noticed that many Orthodox churches don’t allow photos. When we went inside there was an older lady who greeted us with a big smile and a warm welcome in Greek. We pantomimed as best we could about whether we could take pictures, she ran out for a minute or two and then came back and told us it was ok.

The interior of the church in Missolonghi, much more beautiful than we expected.

The church was quite striking inside which we did not expect as Missolonghi is not a large town. We were really enjoying exploring the inside when we noticed that a crowd of people were coming in for a memorial service so we decided to take off. As we were leaving the priest came up and gave us icons from the church and thanked us for visiting.

After sitting down and eating a couple of pastries from our tour of the bakeries of Missolonghi we headed over to the grocery store to get a bottle of red wine that we had really enjoyed a couple of nights ago. As we were walking in the manager who had set up the delivery of our groceries greeted us like we were regulars, Stavros the delivery guy came up and gave Ovi a fist bump and continued to tutor him on Greek cuss words. George the cheese guy greeted us by name, and gave us a run down on what cheeses were good today. We made a new friend at the cashier, for some reason this store is the first one we have seen in Europe with Sriricha hot sauce from Thailand. It is the good stuff too. When we went to pay for it the cashier was checking it out and Ton and Ovi launched into a sales pitch on the merits of Sriricha, by the end everyone was laughing and she said she would buy some.

Most people are reticent about trying to communicate with foreigners if they are not fluent, the Greeks seem to thrive on it. It is incredibly charming and impressive.

November 3, 2022 Missolonghi GR

Today was a quiet day in Missolonghi. The highlight of the day was Ovi helping me repair a broken shelf in François, and by helping I mean Ovi did 98% of the work while I stood by offering encouragement. The result is a much improved shelf with more carrying capacity than the old one.

After that we spent the afternoon in Cory and Ovi’s boat chatting away. In the evening we moved the conversation to the marina bar. The owner of the bar came over and joined in the conversation. We are learning that the Greek’s are great conversationalists and are quick to embrace strangers into their circle. We are really enjoying meeting complete strangers who are quick to strike up a conversation even when the language barrier is high, everyone seems to work thru it, and before long everyone is laughing and acting like old friends. It is incredibly charming.

November 2, 2022 Missolonghi GR

Today we completed our mission from yesterday to visit the Missolonghi Salt Museum. Yesterday we walked the 2.5 miles out to the Salt Museum only to discover that it was closed on Tuesdays. The day ended well as we found a comfortable ocean front bar and relaxed and chatted for hours. But as we were walking back we decided we would head out to the museum again today.

Looking across the lagoon from the salt flats to the causeway that leads out to the ocean front islands that created the conditions for salt production in Missolonghi.

So at 10:30 we were heading out on the causeway thru the lagoons that make up the Missolonghi water front to the ocean front museum. When we did get to the museum we were not disappointed with our decision. Though small the museum is really well done. Great care has been taken in selecting the displays with a mixture of technical descriptions of the many salts in the world and the manufacturing process for salt, with more light displays showing all the products that contain salt and a collection of over 1500 salt shakers from around the world. There is a very touching video display highlighting three workers in the local salt mines describing their time working in the mines. These men were instrumental in the campaign to found the museum. At the end there was a note saying that none of them survived to see the opening of the museum. All four of us really enjoyed the museum, but what I think speaks to the quality of the museum, we each enjoyed a different display as our highlight from the visit. Though quite small this is one of the most memorable museums I have visited in a while. The museum was worth the 10 miles of walking it took to visit it.

These salt flats have ceased production and are now part of the museum.

After our long walk to the museum we decided we would return to our favorite bar in Missolonghi. We enjoyed the fried anchovies and french fries but reduced our beer consumption to one round. Finally after a couple of hours we headed back down the causeway to the marina to enjoy a couple of hours on board their boat chatting with Ovi and Cory.

These flamingos were just off the causeway. The lagoons here are homes to over thirty bird species including flamingos and pelicans.

November 1, 2022 Missolonghi GR

Today we planned to visit the salt museum near town. Missolonghi has been a center of salt production for centuries, and the salt museum is very highly recommended. The four of us planned to meet up and walk out to the museum which is located on a spit of land connected by a two mile long causeway to the mainland. It was going to be about a 5 mile roundtrip, but there is a wide sidewalk and bike path along the causeway so we decided it would be worth it.

This small Orthodox church was located in a small fishing village near the entrance to the lagoon that Missolonghi is situated on.

The walk was long but Ovi and I were engrossed in our conversation so it did not seem that bad. At about the half way point we looked back and Cory and Ton had lagged about a quarter mile behind but we could here them laughing as they talked so we carried on without waiting.

The fishing fleet docked at the entrance to the Missolonghi Lagoon.

At the end of the causeway there is a small fishing village with a church and two pretty modern restaurants. We were quite a ways ahead of Cory and Ton so we popped into one of the restaurants to plan our lunch. Inside one of the staff told us the museum was closed on Tuesday. We both looked at each other and debated who was going to tell the wives that we had just walked 2.5 miles to a museum that was closed. When they arrived we dropped the news and they just laughed and said let’s have lunch. Three hours later we had finished our lunch and enjoyed a nice 2.5 mile stroll back to our homes in the marina.

We are going to head out to the salt museum again tomorrow. Hopefully the walk will be just as enjoyable as today.

October 31, 2022 Missolonghi GR

Ovi and Cory had been raving about a wonderful bakery they had discovered in town, so our plans for the day involved a trip to the bakery, and a visit to the grocery store to stock up on some essentials. Missolonghi is not a tourist town, but it does have some things to offer for visitors including interesting salt flats, a winter nesting site for flamingos, and a national park. It looks like at some point there was hope of attracting tourism as the town has some of the widest roads and sidewalks we have seen in any city in Europe. It gives the town a puzzling look as you have these very broad boulevards with very few cars, and oversized sidewalks with only a couple of people walking down them. It looks like a town that missed its opportunity, and the overbuilt infrastructure acts as an exclamation point to the miss.

The French inspired deserts. The traditional deserts are at the top of the page.

We met up with Ovi and Cory and strolled into town with our first destination being Lyros Bakery. The bakery has been in business for 18 years, but recently moved into a modern building that is well appointed and sparkling. The original owner operates the bakery with his son. The father is responsible for traditional Greek pastries, and the son who studied in Paris is responsible for modern French inspired deserts. It seems to be a winning combination as the customers were steady and diverse from grandmas and grandpas coming in to get cookies and honey based Greek deserts, to young professionals who were after Tirimasu’s and eclairs. We had a hard time picking, but Ton finally settled on a couple of French inspired deserts and I went for an assortment of Greek cookies.

The four of us enjoying our mid-day coffee break.

Armed with our assortment of sweets we crossed the road to a cafe and ordered Greek Coffee to pair with our cookies. We then relaxed and chatted for the next couple of hours. We are starting to understand the appeal of the Mediterranean rhythm to life.

The last stop for the day was at a local grocery to stock up our pantries for the next few days. Ton enjoyed browsing in her first big Greek grocery and we walked out of there with more food than we planned on. Ovi told us we could have the groceries delivered to the marina, so we arranged for that and the lady said they would be there in 30 minutes.

The main orthodox church in town. One of the distractions that almost caused us to miss our grocery delivery.

On the way back we were enjoying meandering thru town, and a couple of places caught our attention. Eventually I realized that we had left the store more than 30 minutes ago and we were not close to the marina. Ovi sprinted ahead when we saw the delivery truck crossing an intersection ahead of us. He eventually caught up with Stavros the delivery guy at a restaurant. Ovi was rewarded for his efforts to run down Stavros by getting a lift to the marina while Cory, Ton and I walked the rest of the way.

October 30, 2022 Missolonghi GR

We spent the day taking care of chores, including washing a huge load of laundry. After that was taken care of Cory and Ovi came over and we gave them a tour of François. As he is only 19 feet long that never takes much time.

Enjoying lunch on board Ovi and Cory’s boat.

Cory had us over for pumpkin soup for lunch. It was absolutely delicious and a favorite of Tons. We then chatted for an hour or so before heading into town with the thought of getting a beer.

We settled in at the busiest restaurant on the waterfront. Right after we sat down an absolutely spectacular sunset happened which we had the perfect seats to enjoy. It was one of the prettiest I have seen in a while, with a series of different red skies like I have only seen in the tropics.

Another sunset image. This one was the best of the trip with incredible reds.

We had a couple of pizzas and a really good artesinal beer. The walk back to the marina was good spirited with Cory and Ton lagging behind to chat while Ovi and I led the way also enjoying our conversation.