From Kato Samiko to Pylos
Monday morning, we supplie in the village of Zacharo where we also meet KGB again who had spent the night at the beach Agios Nikolaos, only 7 kilometers south of Kato Samiko. We visit several beautiful beaches at Zacharo and Neochori but decide to stay overnight at Giannitsochori The next morning we drive early to Paralia Elaia We were a few hours before KGB and when we came to Elea, this beautiful forest area by the sea, with many fine places to stand with the motorhome, we were not happy with our first parking choice. Over there it's fine! So it is often! It was exactly there we got stuck in the sand! Shit happens!
Despite one hour of digging, four tire traction mats, 15m. cargo ratchet straps, many planks and a lot of good advice from a growing crowd of spectators, camper neighbours, I finally started reflecting, I was defeated and took the stressed, but oh-so-wise decision, to take my bike to the nearest farmer, less than ten minutes away. He arrived promptly with his four-wheel-drive tractor and within two minutes our home was on roadworthy ground again. The farmer received 20€ and we had to be content with a slightly worse parking lot. In the meantime KGB had arrived too and they stayed on the gravel next to the road. Here at Elea are a dozen “snowbirds” from Western European countries.
The previous night it had been blowing badly and it rained a lot too, but as so often, it's quiet in the morning and fine weather. The breakers at the beach are still so violent that there will be no swimming today. Besides that Elea is a beautiful natural area, here is not so much trash as in many other places, in addition here are living a number of free dogs, which means we dare to have Bonnie unleashed, outside the camper. When there are free dogs around, there’s much less danger that she might eat something poisened. It's a cynical fact.
The Free Dogs
There are many stray dogs in Greece, they are far from wild, they are quite domesticated and they show very rarely any aggression. The aggressive dogs have been shot long ago so that gene, is hardly anything left of. They are always kind and gentle but usually hungry. They are survival artists and have learned to respond to humans in a rather clever way. I call them the Greek Free Dogs, very unlike many chained dogs. Some are lucky and feel fine, some are doing very bad and live under terrible circumstances. Wherever there is human activity, there’s a lot of garbage and leftovers. At the agricultural farms, in restaurant containers and in household garbage bins.
Despite the threat of prison sentences and exorbitant fines, a few farmers and restaurant owners got the malicious thought that they can solve the problem with "free dogs", by laying out poisoned meat. It is mainly done during non tourist season. The venom is usually strychnine or warfarin (/others). Eating of this meat causes a terrible suffering before death. Survival chance is minimal even if you make it to the vet. Some vets in Greece even sell a "vomit- & antitoxin-kit" which in theory, could be a dogs rescue. Even an unknown number of tourists have lost their dogs every year. We have talked to vets, tourists and Greek people who have been dealing with these devilish acts. We ourselves haven’t seen or noticed any sign of it but we have been warned several times at a few locations: “Keep your dog leached don’t let her eat anything from the ground otherwise,” they let their finger tops cutting the throat,“you have a dead dog!” We are constantly on our guard what Bonnie sniffs at, when we are outside. She is usually leached and we never leave her out of sight! We have control (we think!). But when there’re "free dogs" around us, we can relax, Bonnie walks unleashed around the camper socializing with the "free" who come to visit us. No problems what so ever, as long as they don’t come too near her food bowl, she growls and the “free” stay nicely on a distance.
I didn’t tell these experiences to frighten anyone! Actually it’s not a big problem! But always be aware of it, travelling with your dog in Greece.
Here at Elea are six free dogs. All six have a photo with name posted on a bulletin board, there’s raincover and a feeding place at a water Point. They are given food and water by passing tourists or by overwintering “camper snowbirds”. A dog protection organization looks after them twice a week and leave the food in a container.
Most mobile home owners here are dog owners themselves and they enjoy the freedom of those stray dogs and give them table scraps or dog food from the containers being filled by the organization.They´re vet-checked, sterilized, dewormed and get vermin-treatment in the neck. They're kind, friendly and have no problem to meet the tourists dogs. It´s a "free dog zone". All of them are affectionate and they like to pet and hugg.
After all dog tragedies we have seen in Greece, this is very warming. Six free opportunists in a dog's paradise! Or free survival artists, no matter what we call them, they are a good positive contrast to the tragic animal misery and cruelty we have seen in many places in Greece. For us, the free dogs here and in other places provides some security for our own dog, that she will not suffer poisoning.
A few raindrops, a small gale and cloudy, mostly all day, this first day at Elea! Enough wind to stir up the sea and more bad weather is on its way! Will it rain tomorrow too, we will move further south. Pity, because we like it here, but we need to get to a bath in the Blue Lagoon, Voidokiliabukten, Pylos, before water temperature drops below 20dgr.
After two days we left the dogs at Elea and moved only 40 km away to the south, a journey with many stops. In the village Filiatra we find even the Eiffel Tower in 1:10 scale. It's olive harvest now, on the Peloponnese. In the villages we drive through, they are pressing oil, it smells olive oil everywhere.
Kalo Nero and Agios Kyriaki had been good stopovers with great swimming but the weather puts spokes in the wheels. In the late afternoon black clouds pass in the north, there is lightning in the darkness and it’s getting closer. In Marathópoli starts a light rain but here we are in the lee of the high island Proti which is one mile to the west, the storm winds will not effect us much. After dark, KGB joined us. Outside the lights shine over the fishing boats, peacefully bobbing in the harbour, the rain patters pleasantly on the roof of our motorhome, it looks pleasant out there. Outdoor temperature 15dgr. We’ll have a nice inside evening in the harbour at Marathópolis.
Two days we stay in Marathópolis. KGB stay longer but we have important things to do.
Voidokilia Lagoon, where Odysseus's son, Telemachus went ashore to get news about his father, from king Nestor, who lived here in the castle. Let us hope he had better weather than we had! Even though it is still 23 degrees in the water, the surrounding conditions are not appealing enough for us, to dare to take a bathe in this incredibly beautiful bay. Terrible! Disaster! This will sting a long time!
We have come to the naval battle of Navarino in 1827, when the French, Russian and English forces annihilated the Ottoman fleet, which was the beginning of the Greek independence. We are thus in Pylos (Navarino) After making a brief visit to the fabled
It was blowing and raining so much that we drove to Pylos after a visit at an olive oil facility. It is olive harvest and there are many tank trucks and tractors on the roads. It smells olive oil everywhere around us. Speaking of the end of November, everywhere are roses in all colors blooming.
In Pylos we park together with three other mobile homes (GB, F, and D), in the yacht harbour to await better weather. It comes on Tuesday next week! It's very tempting but I do not think we drive back to Voidokilia. After sigtseeing in Pylos, it says Menthoni written in our script!