We left Scotland on our journey across the EU, on the afternoon of 20th September with the aim of spending some of the winter months in Greece.
After driving through five countries, visiting one parliament and catching two ferries, we reached our favourite country on the morning of Thursday, 13th October, and here we intend to stay until early January – with a short break in Cyprus to catch up with some of our family.
We had no plan for our time in Greece, beyond enjoying what sunshine was left of 2016, drinking some cold retsina and visiting Athens, at least once. We have already been twice, with a third visit on the cards after Christmas.
All our research suggested that the Peloponnese, the large peninsula to the west of Athens, was our best bet in the early winter months, and so it has turned out.
We spent a few nights in the car park at Nafplio’s port, enjoying everything this delightful town has to offer, from the local market to the Venetian castle.
We went further into the Argolis peninsula, which like the rest of Greece is steeped in legend and boasts a stunning coastline.
We explored the Mani, and discovered the perfect wild camping spot at Neo Itylo, a tiny village with a stunning bay, and space to park a motorhome as close to the sea as you can safely get.
We crossed the Rio Bridge to Nafpaktos, and tummy bug aside, had a wonderful weekend in this hidden gem.
The Venetian harbour is still intact five hundred or so years after it was built, and the cafes and tavernas are as good as anywhere in Greece. Well worth a visit.
We ventured to the west coast, and had a lovely time in Aganara Beach, and the tiny village of Glyfa, but decided to move on as the winter rains and wind started to roll in from the Ionian Sea.
And so we headed back to Ancient Corinth and Aphrodite’s Water camperstop.
We spent our first night here on Tuesday 18th October, and had only planned to stay that one night.
But the village captivated us, not least because it is home to the most amazing archaeological site, where the Ancient Greek, Roman and early Christian foundations of modern Europe are laid out in stunning detail.
The village is also where St Paul spent a year spreading the new and revolutionary gospel of Jesus. His letters to the Corinthians on how to live a good life remain a central tenent of Christianity.
There is also a road to Ancient Corinth, from its port at Lechaion. The three kilometre route was built two thousand years ago of limestone, and only abandoned in 1858 after a major earthquake.
Walking on the remnants of a road that is so old can only be described as magical.
And the Aphrodite’s Water camperstop is a magical place. In 2010, Vasilis and his son Spiros converted the family farm steading into a home from home for motorhomes.
The shower isn’t fancy, and there is only one. The pitches are not the flattest we have encountered, and the wifi only reaches as far as the outdoor kitchen.
But we wouldn’t stay anywhere else. Vasilis and his family are as generous with their hospitality as they are with their home-grown vegetables.
There is constant hot, hot water, the communal areas are homely and comfortable, and the views…well, as I write, I can see the blue Corinthian Gulf, surrounded by snow covered mountains, and fringed by pine trees.
The views are simply breath-taking.
We have become friends with Berndt and Annie, a delightful couple from East Frisia, who spend months at a time here, and we are looking forward to our first Christmas in Greece, in a van.
And Nigel is making huge progress planning our 2017 journey.
After Cyprus, we will catch a boat to Trieste, and spend January exploring Italy.
Then to Malta, via Sicily, to catch up with good friends who like us are on an adventure, only their mode of travel is a boat, rather than a van.
After that France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Croatia…and so on until we have done all 28 countries.
Unless of course, we decide to stay in Ancient Corinth, at Aphrodite’s Water…
Nafplio: Modern Greece’s first capital, between 1823 – 1934, and home to its first parliament. Highlight’s include the medieval Old Town, Palamadi Castle, which stands more than 200 metres above sea level and Bourtzi, the small Venetian fortress which sits a few hundred metres from the harbour.
Nafpaxtos: Considered to be one of the most romantic destinations in mainland Greece, and with good reason. Its sandy beaches face the Corinthian Gulf and its centuries old Venetian harbour and castle are beautifully preserved.
Ancient Corinth: One of the major cities of Ancient Greece, and the Roman Empire, where St Paul preached the gospel in 51 AD. The city was protected by a fortress on the Acrocorinth, which can be reached by car, or foot. The excavated site shows clearly all the elements of a Roman city, and the museum has an excellent collection of pottery, mosaics and other artefacts. The modern village has some tasty tavernas.
Aphrodite’s Water: Our favourite camperstop in Europe. It will be impossible to find one better.