Friday, March 19, 2010

Farewell to Finikounda, Greece

By Claire
All good things must come to an end and our wonderful time here ends tomorrow. We went to dinner in town Tuesday night with Derek and Katie and Pat and Brian. Pat and Brian drove but didn't have any room in their car due to packing up for their departure the next day, so Derek, Katie, Chuck and I biked in as a convoy in the dark. We did have flashlights duct taped to the handle bars and Katie and Derek even had bike lights. I think one car went by and we made it just fine.

Not much happens in this little town but we did manage to find a place that served dinner. No menu, just walk into the kitchen and choose what you want. The food and wine was good and we stayed and talked for a long time. Riding back was fun, even if it was pitch dark. Not a single car came along. Once we were back, Derek, Katie, Chuck and I walked to the beach to watch the stars and enjoy a glass of port. I saw 3 shooting stars!

The four of us have mostly been sitting in the sunshine reading; talking occasionally too. However, some people just insist on keeping a tidy area.

Hans cleaning again

I spent some time with Erika and Hans in their immaculate caravan and extension room. It was warm and inviting with classical music playing softly in the background. He was drinking a small glass of beer while she pointed out some places on the map that we must see in Germany. Their cat wandered in and I found out she adopted them last year at the campground so they took her home. She loves to travel and has now spent 6 months in her old stomping grounds.

We canvassed the neighborhood to get opinions about which route to take for the next leg of our trip and generally, just relaxed and enjoyed ourselves. No one was in favor of the Bulgaria/Romania route. I met a British couple on the beach one day--I thought she was unconscious when I saw her face down on a lounge--and talked to them for about an hour. They've been to the U.S. and thought it was wonderful and the people were very friendly. That was nice to hear. They bought a massive camper and shipped it over here. They were quite surprised by the size of the food portions. We're so used to it we were surprised by how tiny the portions are over here. Hmmm. I wonder if it makes a difference? Mostly, people around our neighborhood are sprawled in their chairs and lounges either sleeping in the sun or reading. Others are gathered in small groups laughing and talking. Or working on travel plans or drinking beer. It's very quiet with just the birds singing and the bees buzzing around all the fresh new flowers sprouting up.

Katie making future travel plans

Our view

Time for a beer

Tonight the four of us are going out for a goodbye meal in town. It really is hard to leave.

One on-going problem we've had has been our refrigerator. It hasn't been cooling adequately so we moved everything over to the communal fridge (we're lucky there is one!). We dragged our feet about figuring out what to do, asked around a bit, did some internet searching, emailed the camper repair place in Thessaloniki, until finally, I asked the campground owner, Spiros--He is so wonderful. He listened attentively to our problem then called a guy who does some work for him on his heating and air conditioning. Two guys came out and spent some time on the frig, determining that a heating element is out (or at least that's what we think he said). We had Spiros call Zampetas Camper Repair in Thessaloniki who then talked to the repair guy. They directed us to a place in Athens that has the part and can fix it. We will meet with them and have it fixed on our return from Paros. It's always something!

So here is a little history about our trip to the island of Paros. Back in October, I received an email from an American woman named Karin living on the Paros with her husband, Michael. She had found our blog and a regular correspondence began. She sent photos and gave me an executive summary of her very interesting life from the U.S. to Ireland to Greece. I was beginning to feel as if I really knew her when she threw out the idea of meeting and suggested the idea of us coming to Paros. It didn't take long for us to say yes. After all, it's just another adventure!

We wrote back and forth about this and that and how best to arrange our visit. It was decided that Homer would have to stay behind since none of the campgrounds are open on Paros in March. She worked hard at finding us a small apartment, gave me advice about buying ferry tickets and, voilĂ , we are off to Paros on Monday.

Meanwhile, we've decided to take the ferry to Italy on April 1 when on-deck camping is allowed. We'll arrive in Ancona, Italy, about half way up the back of the boot. From there we will drive to Vienna, Budapest, Krakow and Prague with stops along the way. The input we received was great! Here's a breakdown:

Italy, Nanci
Road less traveled, Kim
Croatia, Elisabetta
Hungary, Jennifer
Budapest and Prague are amazing, watch out for theft in Poland, Jamie
Formula 1 European events, Tai
Italy, Karin
Free camp or hotels in Eastern Europe, Cathe
Go with the heart, Penny

We'll keep you updated!

A day without sunshine is like, you know, night. ~ Steve Martin

1 comment:

Karin said...

You have indeed, found life to be Finikounda! (I looked it up on my map, so know right where you are!). Anyway, it is hard to say goodbye to special places and special people when you enjoy them so much and become friends. How nice of the German couple to adopt the little cat! (I hear Germans take a lot of strays to their country - which is very kind of them). Anyway, Paros awaits you and we hope we can show you a great time here on our little island! We are keeping the sun in the sky for you!

See you soon,
Drive carefully,
Enjoy the scenary along the way,
Karin (and Michael)