Isthmus of Corinth

There are about half a dozen bridges spanning the Isthmus of Corinth. This is one of the two which can be submersed to let ships pass.

submersible bridgeThe views to both west and east are spectacular. We were very glad to have had an hour to wait for a connecting bus service at the Isthmus bus station, so there was some time to revel in the scenery and history of the place.gulf of corinthisthmus and canal of corinth

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Surprises

Venturing on a bus through the Greek countryside is a rather pleasant enterprise. At this point, you will already have been able to decipher the schedule:

bus scheduleYou can also be sure, at least in winter, that any connecting services are in no way related to the one you’re on. All in all, very comfy nonetheless, lean back and enjoy the beautiful scenery passing by. At arrival, somebody will surely direct you to wherever you need to be, if necessary, by shouting GO GO GO at you, and then you jump on the next bus waiting in some obscure sidelane.

This is how we arrived at Olympia. All was indeed very well until … ‘No open today. We strike.’

Bloody hell! So this is what the fence of Olympia looks like, and then we move on to the much nicer events of that day.

fenced in olympiaShowing my enormous disappointment by turning on the waterworks, a Swiss uncle and his niece, Herbi and Sandra, took pity on me/us and offered a lift. And what a ride we got!

First stop was at the theatre of Olympia. Fab acoustics and great views.

teatro olympiaThen we took to the country roads. The next stop was at a sulphur spring, where we saw snakes, fish and turtles.

turtleLunch was had near a dilapidated railway station. The trains stopped several years ago, which I find a shame. The food, however, was excellent, including the home-made grape schnaps.railway station Unfortunately, I don’t know its proper Greek name.

Near Kyparissia, we had another little excursion into an old, but still working water mill. old millbaking equipment

The grounds also included a lovely garden with apiary equipment, fruit trees and a little creek running through. Thanks again to our two Swiss rescuers who made that a wonderful day!oranges

Gialova

Gialova is a place where I’d like to spend at least a handful of days, at some point in the future. Hiking, swimming, birding and more can be done there and around the nearby lagoon. gialova beach

But due to a holiday-bus-schedule, we only had about an hour instead of the hoped-for half a day. Anyway, the traditional Greek coffee in the place near the bus stop was great and the bus driver extremely helpful in pointing out that he’d be back in no time to whisk us away again … gialova navarino bay

Wildlife and Wild Life

As we usually do, we kept an eye open for the local wildlife during our time on the Peloponnese. I was surprised and happy to see significant numbers of corvids and raptors, but never had the right lens ready when there was one around. So here is a wee wagtail on the apartment roof.

wagtailInsect life included different kinds of bees, and, fabulously, a praying mantis: praying mantis

praying mantis 2On the beach, there were exciting rock pools:

crabAbout five kilometres south of Kyparissia, we found somebodys idea of history and (mythological) wildlife:   castlepegasusowl door dragon horse

Between the Mountains and the Deep Blue Sea

For the first time, I’ve been to Greece. It was, for the most part, absolutely brilliant! To get the not so brilliant parts out of the way right here: people on strike at archaeological sites, people smoking everywhere (the ubiquitous non-smoking signs making for useless decoration), people complaining about having to pay taxes.

The first and last night we spent in Athens. More on that later.

The remainder of our holiday we stayed on the Peloponnese. The first half we were based close to Kyparissia, in a place called Terpsi Apartements. The views were amazing:

view from Terpsi 2view from terpsiOur apartment also had a kitchen and all necessary equipment. Which was good, because over the Christmas days everything was closed, so we had to do a bit of self-catering. The hosts were really helpful, and we also got some home-made cookies and cake, yummy! I can really recommend the place. It would be ideal, however, for someone with their own transport. You can get bikes on site for free.

It is a quite rural area, but the beach is only a short walk away:beachon the beach