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Planning a Greek winter

When we started sketching out our journey across the European Union, we toyed with the idea of spending the winter months in Spain.

We are not skiers, so the prospect of snow covered mountains held no appeal. We wanted a mild climate, with the prospect of the occasional sunny day.

All our research suggested that Spain, or even Morocco, was the place to be, but our heart lies in Greece.

So that is where we are, and where we will stay until after Christmas.

Greece doesn’t have the same infrastructure as Spain for winter camping. Many of the campsites closed today, 31 October and won’t open again until 1 April.

Wild camping is not legal here, but a trawl of motorhome forums suggest that this will not be a problem, which is just as well because tonight we are parked up on the beach at Neo Itylo, a tiny village in the Mani peninsula.

We are not alone. There is a French motorhome in front of us, with two from the Czech Republic at the back.

Directly behind us there are two blokes in a battered VW estate car with Bulgarian plates who look as if they are set to stay the night too.

Living off grid in our van is very straightforward. The leisure battery, which is charged up as we drive, and by the solar panels on our roof, provides enough electricity for several days.

We have LED lights and the fridge is powered by gas when we are not on a campsite.

Our freshwater tank holds 100 litres, so we can wash dishes, and ourselves, with ease. And we always carry a six-pack of water for drinking. It is very cheap in Greece, between 25 and 30 cents for 1.5 litres.

And thanks to our new WIND pre-loaded data sim card for our router, we have great wifi. It wasn’t cheap – 25 euros for 6GB, but essential for happy van life.

Our sea view is incredible, and the crashing of the waves will lull us to sleep tonight. And tomorrow, well the Black Pirate tavern looks tempting for a long lunch.

We will spend November touring the Peloponnese with the occasional foray to Athens, and we will go over the Rio-Antirrio bridge, the world’s longest multi-span cable bridge, to explore West Greece.

In December we will find a bolt hole for a month. We want a site that is good value for money, has wifi, access to a laundry and is within walking distance of a village or town.

We have a couple in mind, and will check out a few more over the coming weeks.

And at some point we will head to Cyprus for a couple of days.

There is no direct ferry from Greece to Cyprus, so our original plan was to drive through Turkey to catch a boat, but we are not so keen now.

We may get a cheap flight from Athens instead, as we can park the van at Camping Athens for a reasonable daily fee, and splash out on a hotel.

Nigel has promised me a bath for Christmas, so perhaps I will get to wallow in a Korres Japanese Rose scented hot-tub in Paphos.

A girl can but dream.

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