Final Month in Greece
Here is the final
blog of our summer jaunt to the Mediterranean.
a fabulous month with lots of visitors and we had a
good road trip back to Scotland too.
Dad Ken visited us at the beginning of the month for about
10 days and we had a great time hanging around various bays
and quays in Corfu. Fortunately his visit was timed well as
our friends Jimmy,
Glynis were visiting from Edinburgh too and staying with
their pals Margaret and Gordon in the NW of Corfu so we arranged
to hook up a couple of times with too. So Ken had a lovely
time in Petriti, Benitses, Kassiopi and Corfu Town. We had
a great afternoon in Corfu Town with Jimmy and the gang and
we also all hooked up for a pool
day in Kassiopi
too. Too much food and drink was definitely consumed during
Once Ken went home we had a few days before our next visitor
arrived so hung out in one of our favourite little villages,
Petriti. This is good for Smudge for walking, great shelter
for Madison, good tavernas and a great wee pool bar too. There
were quite a few yachties that developed harbour rot alongwith
us, so there was a lovely wee floating community there that
kept popping in and out of there over the last few weeks we
were in Greece and plenty of folk to socialise with.
Our old university friend of 20 years, Philip
arrived on 13th September for a weeks sailing holiday. He
had never sailed before so we had a plan of where we could
take him without going too far and hopefully places with good
shelter just in case the weather came in. We spent a lovely
week with Philip which included an encounter with dolphins
- although they didn't come as close as they have before so
we spent about 30mins sailing after them trying to get closer.
He experienced all kinds of yacht manoeuvring and berthing
- sterns-to, anchoring (so we could dinghy
ashore too), and alongside mooring. On our arrival, sterns-to,
on Paxos we all cracked a beer and smugly watched half a dozen
yachts vying for only a couple of spaces. Tempers flared and
there was lots of shouting, some crazy manoeuvring (thankfully
not too close to Madison), equally crazy speeds and the three
of us sat out on deck enjoying the drama. It's always better
when it's not your drama. Who needs TV, people-watching is
much more fun!
Philip was keen to learn how to sail and tie up. He definitely
earned his competent
crew badge from Yacht Madison! Who knows we might be able
to rope Philip into a bit of crewing when we bring Madison
back to Scotland in the New Year.
We did a bit of sailing, more motoring than we wanted. C'est
la vie, but we visited Gaios, Lakka,
Petriti and Corfu. We had a couple of nights in each place.
Great food in Café
Italiano in Gaios and also in Leonidas Taverna, Petriti.
We managed a special order for an overnight storm with high
winds just for Philip in Lakka so that he could experience
us dragging anchor, forcing us to reset in the dark and it
also meant we stayed an extra night there. However Lakka is
place to be stuck so none of us minded. On our last day in
Corfu town before Philip flew home we went for a fish
spa too which was an unusual and quite pleasant experience.
When Philip went home we had a few days before Margaret,
Laura's mum came so we headed back to Petriti again. This
would be our last visit here as once Margaret arrived we would
head to Lefkas via Gaios so we could organise ourselves for
arrived on 24th September and after a late evening walk around
Corfu Town and a night alongside in the harbour we all departed
for Gaios the next day. We were to have two days passage
making to Lefkada just to make sure we had plenty of time
to winterise and check over the car before heading back home.
In Gaios we had a lovely evening stroll before heading for
another great Italian meal in Café Italiano. Italian
is Margaret's favourite cuisine so we knew she'd love it.
We didn't have a late night as we had to head off early the
next day for an 8 hour trip to Lefkada town. Unfortunately
on both days we didn't get favourable winds and had to motor
but as we were on a deadline we just had to get on with it.
Margaret enjoyed it all the same.
Once in Lefkada we tied up on the town quay ready to organise
ourselves. We had arrived on a Thursday night and had Fri-Wed
to sort car, marina, hopefully squeeze another wee trip with
Margaret and finally lockup Madison for a few months. We had
a lovely long walk
early on the Friday morning with Smudge around the salt lake
and windmills in Lefkada.
Thankfully ensuring the car was ready for the trip home only
took Karl a couple of hours on the Friday so we could relax
a little over the weekend until we went into the Marina. We
took a drive in the car south of Lefkada to Nidri and most
importantly the Seaside
Bar in Vlikho Bay and we also went to the Nidri
Waterfalls, just outside of the town, for a lovely walk
and an obligatory frappe.
On the Sunday we decided we had time to go for a sail into
Nidri itself and explore it a little. There was a nice Italian
here too that we knew that we could go to for dinner. We had
a lovely afternoon with Margaret exploring Nidri and a great
meal out before turning in. The next morning we got up and
the forecast was not good so we thought it best to get away
sharp and a good sail back to Lefkada. It became clear that
the weather was really turning for the worst so we called
up the marina to see if we could come in a day earlier on
the Monday and thankfully they said yes. The only good thing
about this was the wind was behind so Margaret finally got
a good sail in. Getting into the marina a day early turned
out to be a great decision as the weather got much worse,
there were terrible storms for a couple of nights and days
and a lot of boats that were on the town quay got into problems
as they were too exposed. We were so glad this wasn't us.
It's quite good to watch a lightning storm but only when you
know you're tucked in safely somewhere.
We managed two visits to our favourite restaurant, Ey Zhn,
in Lefkada town. The second visit was for Laura's birthday
and there was even a birthday cake as a surprise. There was
also a second visit to a
fish spa. However Margaret wasn't too keen on this and
had to be distracted by games on a smartphone. Margaret
also ate her first gyros meal too!
On Wednesday 2nd October we locked up Madison and drove to
the port of Igoumenitsa for the ferry to Italy. The Italian
ferry going home was much better than the one coming thankfully
and we managed to get a cabin
that was pet friendly which meant Smudge was a lot happier.
The top deck of the ferry was also for dogs so she could get
out and stretch her legs properly with other dogs. She was
a lot more relaxed. Upon arrival in Italy we had a 7 hour
drive to Zofingen, Switzerland where we staying at Aunt Allison's
again. It would seem however that the motorways of Europe
are in a permanent state of road works and we only averaged
50mph and didn't get into Zofingen until about 3am. We were
very tired. Thankfully we didn't have to get up too early
the next day and we didn't have to drive anywhere.
Our day in Zofingen was very relaxing. Smudge was taken to
the vet for her worming treatment that was needed so she could
re-enter the UK and we had a good wander around the Brockie,
which is a charity shop in a huge unit on two floors and is
always worth a mooch. On the evening we had a
family meal where Allison and Thomas fed 13 of us before
turning in with full stomachs. Not only did we have a great
dinner but the following morning before we set off for our
drive to The Netherlands Thomas baked us some fresh bread
to take with us and gave us some homemade jam and juice and
other goodies. We quickly text our friends in The Netherlands
to tell them we had breakfast sorted for the next day.
So off we went for another day's drive across Europe. Again
the road works were terrible and it took much longer than
it should have and we only averaged 50mph. So much for 'no
speed limit' on the autobans, we didn't get a chance to utilise
this facility! We arrived later than planned at Tracy and
Adrian's in Haarlem but thankfully their little girl, Rose
had been allowed to stay up and say hi. Laura was promptly
summoned to read the bedtime story, Cinderella. Jake, who
is only 18 months was already in bed so only one story was
Tracy and Adrian had dinner ready for us which was very welcome.
After a good night sleep and a lovely breakfast of homemade
bread, all 7 of us piled into the cars and went off to a country
park for a walk (bike ride for Rose
and a push
and toddle for Jake) and some lunch. It was a lovely
day out and just what we needed after spending the day before
in the car.
In the afternoon we said our farewells and headed for the
ferry terminal, which is only a 15min drive from Tracy and
Adrian's. This time Smudge had to go in the kennel again so
she wasn't very happy. No matter how many times we visited
her and tried to persuade her to go, she wouldn't use the
sandbox provided and soiled her kennel overnight. The poor
wee thing was stressed but there was nothing we could do short
of sleeping in the actual kennel with her. After an overnight
trip we arrived in Newcastle and drove the final few hours
to Edinburgh. Smudge just knew we were home straight away
and it was like we had never been away.
She has settled straight in and is very glad to be back with
her friends, Milo and Teddy (Aunty Pat's dogs down the road).