The Sahara and Us Morocco 2011

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Lefkada, Parga and Ignoumenitsa (IG – NEW – MEN- NEAT- SA)

Porto Fico at breakfast, you can feel the heat
Monday we awoke to another gorgeous morning over Lefkada Island, and our preparations to leave. It’s hard to believe the change in the hotel, and village in 10 days. Jane had said to us when we arrived “ Tell us what time you’d like breakfast, since you are our only customers”, to now being almost full with at least 4-5 families of 2-3 children each, plus a number of couples. The breakfast buffet was now being provided by hired staff, brought on to handle the load. June 15th seems to be a threshold for Vassiliki and Porto Fico alike.

We left after saying our goodbyes to Valentino as well, though Vicky and Florien, from Human Sport  Surfstation were a little late arriving that day,( part of Greek time and surfing) . Jim, Stasis’ brother arrived and told us again how much he loved and respected Canadian people from his visit to Vancouver for 6 mths. a few years back. Something we will have to live up to. We shook hands and we could tell how much he had been positively impressed with Canada, and I think wishing he could be there.

The morning was perfect for the ride, warm enough that I rode in a T shirt, underwear and my Air jacket and Air pants only, (too much info?) winding up the east side of the island past many of the places we had seen and been into before, they stood out in a blue foggy mist of the already warm morning that would later get to 33C. The road was devoid of traffic save a few vehicles and the next hour was taken on driving to Lefkis, savoring every corner and view that it presented. As I said to Sandra later at the Shell Station near Pervaza  some 73 kms away, “ That’s probably the prettiest 1 hr. drive that I have ever done.” It certainly ranks up there anyway. I have been blessed with doing more than most people for sure. Actually, another of the best was many years ago with my son Blair on the back of my Wes Cooley replica 750cc Suzuki. We had been camping in Montana as part of a Hiway to the Sun ride we did when he was I think about 15. And then there was a magic ride with daughter Shannon at about 8 yrs of age riding in front of me as I rode a Honda XL250 from Barkerville back into Quesnel. It was about an hr in duration as well.

Off the island and heading north, we had been told about Parga, a coastal village about 60 kms north of Pervaza, on the way to Ignoumenitsa so we made our way over some of the better roads we’d driven in Greece to the cut-off for Parga and the 10 kms in. On arrival we found a coastal village, stacked into 2 bays surrounding some very small outer islets. It was clear this was as well a Venetian village with an old castle ruins on the outer point. Unfortunately it is now overrun with tourism, which while charming on the waterfront is a collection of shops and restaurants geared to the tourist, and boy have they arrived!

After an hour in the village, we continue to head north, enduring some of Greece’s road construction oddities along the way. The first being a freshly paved stretch of roadway divided by pylons down the centre and facing us the typical blue arrow indicating our side of the highway. As I came around the next corner I was met head on by a tour bus, in my lane heading the opposite direction. Now this is a slightly wider single lane and I am able to avoid a head-on collision. I immediately wonder if I have, or he has, missed a traffic control signal controlling one way traffic in one direction then the other. Nope, I have vehicles on my tail, and so does he, in fact large dump trucks and delivery vans. Always something new to watch for.

On arrival to Ignoumenitsa we search out our booked accommodations in the now 33C heat. The town, a typical port town from another era is suffering badly now that the operation of the port has changed and no longer do people need to live here as much. It’s almost like in Ensenada Mexico where you can rent rooms by the hour.

Our hotel, back up in the hills behind the main street area is actually quite decent with a great shower, balcony, and air conditioner, which we hug as long as we are in the room, it gets to 36C. For lunch and later dinner we eat at a little Giros place in the town called “Kikkitirra”.very good giros and excellent cold draft beer for incredibly cheap prices. I leave them a big tip since I would otherwise feel like I was stealing.

We pre-embark at the main terminal, meaning telling them “We are here” and getting our tickets stamped, then we buy a few things to make sandwiches with the next day while on the ferry. Finally, after supper, we buy our last Baklavas at a bakery, dripping with Greek honey, and sit on the small beach in town and watch the fiery orange sunset over Corfu. We expect the trees to ignite as the sun sets on the outline of the mountains there. Absolutely a perfect day! Well except for the near head on collision, and the rush of tourists.

What a Difference a Day Makes

Waiting for the ferry, us and Austrians
After having such a great day yesterday we have resigned ourselves to the fact that we have to catch a ferry that will take us back up the Adriatic coast re-tracing on sea the 2500 kms we have ridden south since leaving. The Anek people tell us to be at the docks at 0700 hrs, one hr before the ferry is supposed to arrive, but I check the Marine traffic website at 0600 hrs and can see the Ferry has just rounded the point off Lefkada and gives an ETA of 0830 hrs so we set that as our show-up time, 1 hr before the ETA. It actually arrives another 15 mins late, hey this is Greece and we’re lucky it showed up at all I guess. After boarding and being shown our cabin, we walk the ferry to see how it’s laid out, and we begin to feel like prisoners again, trapped in a controlled environment for the next 24 hours (and outrageous food prices), surrounded by fellow travelers  many of whom like the Morocco ferry and Venice ferries of 2011 have already laid claim to wind protected areas outside where they create their shanty town of temporary accommodation. We have taken a cabin as usual.

One benefit of the ferry travel is an almost instantaneous comparison allowed, since you board a time capsule (ferry) and 24 hrs later are delivered into another country, and you can immediately contrast the culture, architecture, language, roads etc.

Since I took such extensive photos on our 2011 trip to Venice I have for the most part parked the camera only allowing myself to take a moving video of the Venice canal area where I had taken a neat still shot before, and it will allow me to use both when I create our travel video on Italy. Since it is early in the day and mid-week we know our friends are all at work  and have put themselves out so much for us, we take advantage of our early arrival, and being 1st off the ferry, and head by autostrada to Flero and the GIVI factory.

I encountered a bit of an issue with one combo lock on the new bags and wanted to pick up another. When we arrived we walked into their R&D area where they were developing GIVI racks for the new BMW R1200GS (water cooled version). A spotlessly clean lab, with special jig tools for constructing the proto type. The technician called for someone who could speak English, I mentioned my problem and within 2 mins he came back with two new lock combo sets  (free) and then came out to the bike, showed me how to remove the old one ( since it was locked) and then checked fitment on our other GIVI luggage to make sure we didn’t need anything else, then wished us a great journey. What a fabulous company and service! When installed I could tell the combos were much better.

Next dealing with the heat. As we headed to Levanto the temp. signage in various places kept flashing, 33C 36C and 39C. Yep it was that hot. Maybe not 39, I suspect that one was in the sun, but definitely 36C in the shade was valid. 33 was earlier.


 we head out for our favorite supper here, mussels in wine sauce, and a thin crust pizza. And then top it off we get gelato. As good as ever!

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Book on in Lefkada said...
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