At this moment I have found the right hibertating place. In over 4 weeks time I have visited all corners of the Peloponnese, the big island in the southern part of Greece, and have returned to the village of Ancient Corinth, where my last blog has ended. It turns out to have the nicest climate of the Peloponnese in the winter months. Of course there are also cold and wet days, but these are regularly alternated with beautiful sunny days. In the distance, the snowy peaks of the ski area behind Delphi are visible. The days are flying. Every day there is some maintenance to Piggy. Since yesterday it is shining again in the sun with a new filler and coat of paint because as you get older you have to pay more attention to your make-up.
Here I meet people who have spotted me (or rather Piggy) elsewhere in Europe. At this place I have already met 3 persons who have seen me in Portugal, Albania and Thessaloniki. How small the world is.
The Peloponnese is the most beautiful part of Greece that I have seen so far. It contains a lot of antiquities such as ancient Corinth, Mycenae, Messene, Sparta, Mystras, Olympia. Almost every day I am thrown back far into history. You will be confronted with relics of palaces, forts, castles, temples of Spartans, Mycenaeans, Romans, Ottomans, Byzantines, Venetians and more. I visit most of them, and try to imagine the numerous successive cultures. In the end you get a bit tired of it. It is all very interesting, but for now I have seen enough of all these cultures. When you are interested you can best click on the links for extensive historical information. It is impossible for me to write down all this information myself.
Most campsites in Greece are closed during the winter period. It is not that I always need it, but now and then it’s nice to enjoy an extensive hot shower and the use the internet. Generally I camp in the wild, varying from parking lots to beaches and hidden spots in a forest. Another advantage of campsites is the contact with other people because camping wildly on your own can sometimes be lonely.
Just outside the coast you find yourself between high, wild mountains with snow. Not far from here there are even skiing possibilities. I do not venture on the narrow winding roads along steep precipices in these high-lying areas. They must at least be cleared of snow and I have my doubts about that. If Piggy is going to slip then it can no longer be managed.
The rugged coastline in the south offers beautiful views of both mountains and sea. Here too, there are many old towns with forts, castles and ruins. In the high season it will be teeming with tourists here, but now it is wonderfully quiet.
Nafplio, Monemvasia, Gytheio, Cape Tainaro. Read it. All beauties. One of the most beautiful areas in my opinion is the peninsula called Mani. A rough area in the south of the Peloponnese. The Greeks claim that the population is also rough. They tell you that they are the direct descendants of the Spartans. They have been drawn to this area in order to escape the domination of the “foreigners”. They have retained a strong sense of independence and have resisted external domination over the centuries. They were also notorious for their internal feuds. In the traditional villages each family home has a high stone tower to resist the enemy. The village of Vathia is still a good example of this.
I stay on the quay of the marina of Kalamata for a few days and meet nice people there, such as an older German couple, whom I have already met in Lefkada, who have roamed the world with their old Toyota Landcruiser for 30 years. What they have experienced in those years is often incredible. Like their harsh trip in Kamchatka in the winter. Together with them, a Dutch family and a British couple that spend their winter here with their boat, I celebrate New Year’s Eve in the Marina Club. Very enjoyable.
Pim, whom I met in Montenegro and is traveling with his wife and 2 sons with a gigantic MAN KAT camper truck (www.4birdsoverland.com), appears to have rented a house in Kalamata to spend the winter. I pay them a visit. It was a nice reunion. Maybe we’ll meet again somewhere on the way to Mongolia.
The first days of the new year are spent again on archaeological exploration. I make some bike trips, walks and enjoy. Not always, because sometimes the heaven gates open up rigorously and I am the only one who wanders around between the old culture relics, wearing poncho and rubber boots. Via Pylos (on the Bay of Navarino) and Dimitsana in the center of the island (with its impressive monasteries) I return to the motorhome stop in Ancient Corinth. Here I will stay in the coming weeks. In the meantime, Piggy got a new paint treatment and I have time to research all the ins and outs for the coming months.
There is now also time to get some clarity in my plans. My provisional final goal this year will be Mongolia for the time being. I want to arrive there somewhere in September. I want to leave the country at the end of October due to the harsh winters there.
As I now think about it, the route will be as follows:
Turkey, Caucasus countries, Russia, North of Kazakhstan, Russia (Lake Baikal), Mongolia.
Then from Mongolia, via a piece of Russia to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran and then cross over to Dubai.
We will see how far I get. And when it is winter, I probably have to park Piggy somewhere and look for a warmer place on earth for myself
All this means that I expect to start implementing this plan within a month. It also means that I expect to arrive in Georgia at the beginning of March
Are there any fanciers to accompany me?