Checked out of our nice studio opposite the main square on Arahova and set out on a long day’s drive to somewhere on the NW coast of the mainland. There was the option of a seaside town (Parga) described in the Lonely Planet guide as beautiful, but now very touristy, although we thought it may not be too bad given we are ahead of the summer tourist season. But we’d try to find another quieter seaside village on the way of we could.
Tom, our pedantic navigator, said the trip would take us in excess of 6.5 hrs to drive a bit over 300 km – typical average speeds for Greece, even though we’d mainly be on “major” roads. We drove back along the coast of the Corinth Gulf and had an amazingly clear trip with little hold ups in terms of trucks, buses or slow local traffic. Dave has fitted into Greek style driving quite comfortably, so there are times when Jan doesn’t see a lot of what’s happening when overtaking buses, trucks or slow cars on the invariably double lined roads – and all in the powerful Hyundai Getz we’re familiar with from Oz! We made a brief am coffee stop, a petrol stop (Dave’s now pretty good at asking for either 20€ or 30€ of petrol), a strawberry buying stop (2€ for 500 gm) and spinach filos for lunch at a seaside town.
Eventually got close to our target destination and started to look for suitable seaside villages with a nice beach – drove off to one, but it was pretty flat and boring and spread out, so kept going. A few km after the turn off the main road towards Parga we noticed a possible smaller village, so headed down hill (the coast was now steeper and more dramatic) to the village. It was a beautiful small bay surrounded by high hills with cliffs at the ends and the normal beautiful blue/green sea. It was mainly just accommodation places, most of which were not yet open (many were being cleaned up and were getting ready), but the camping ground was. So we wandered in and asked if they had any self-contained accommodation – they did, they showed us the room which was a bit of a climb back up the hill, it was well equipped with stunning views, so we booked in for two nights. And the staff were ever so friendly and helpful, something we haven’t found very common. They ordered us fresh wholemeal bread for the next day (Dave asked for it while Jan was checking in – the woman then went and checked with Jan that Dave was ordering the right bread!). Lichnos was one of those special finds.
As we were unsure of where we going to be staying we hadn’t done any shopping, so asked if there was anywhere open for dinner - the only place was the restaurant at the hotel next door. So had to endure sitting out just above the beach looking out at the bay and eating locally caught fish (again). Nice local wine too. The waitress was charming and friendly (and so positive about Dave’s two words of Greek!). Through our chats with her we got to know the names of the fish we ate – had been meaning to eat “bigger” local fish, so we had our first (sea bream) grilled beautifully and more gavros (fresh anchovies) which they fry in the amazingly crisp and fresh way – and these were by far the best we had eaten.
But the highlight of the day was the walk after dinner back through the camping ground up to our unit – there were fireflies everywhere! Dave had never seen them, and Jan had only seen some in Bali. They were amazing – lots of them especially in the low lying tent area where there was no-one camping. They seemed to be synchronized and blinking all together about every second. Have to add it to our “to be researched” list, which now includes at least:
• Why the seas in Greece (and the Mediterranean?) don’t have waves – everywhere we have been the sea gently laps the shore.
• Saint George (that’s a long story)
• Chameleons (not sure if we’ve seen them or not?)