How does it actually “winter” in Greece? We would like to find out for ourselves and, after a great time in Bulgaria, head south. The online form for entry into Greece is filled out, and an inexpensive rapid antigen test is sufficient. This can certainly be done shortly before crossing the border. We researched in advance on the internet, but couldn’t find anything solid. Well, that will be cleared up on the spot! After all, when we entered Bulgaria, there was a test tent on the Romanian side with people in full body suits, so the necessary evil was done quickly and without any problems.
At the border crossing between Bulgaria and Greece we find all kinds of cafés, duty free shops and exchange offices. While a lot of water falls from the sky, we ask our way through the various shops and border posts, and are even asked if we need help (I wonder if they already saw our lack of understanding).
None of this helps, there is simply no possibility of carrying out the test there! In the end, we have no choice but to drive back to the next bigger town with a hospital. The day is already a few hours old and it is Sunday. So it comes as it must, the two laboratories in the hospital are already closed for the day and the entry into Greece unfortunately has to be postponed to the following day.
It is still cold and rainy and we actually wanted to be on the Mediterranean coast near Thessaloniki that evening. In addition, we have to extend the Bulgarian toll for the minimum period of 7 days, as this was the last day of validity of our monthly vignette.
Excitingly, this shows once again how a day can develop completely opposite to what one would have expected in the morning 😉 In the end, we make the best of it and enjoy the Bulgarian cuisine again during an evening visit to a mehana.
The next day surprises us with a heavy snowfall, but fortunately everything else goes according to the plan for the previous day.
With the appropriate test result, we are finally allowed to cross the inner-European border after a good 90 minutes of waiting and checking of all documents, and we drive to Thessaloniki that day. There we find a parking space not far from the sea with a view of the city and the harbour.
A national park borders directly on Thessaloniki. From our campsite we take several long walks and discover not only many different water birds but also flamingos! A big surprise, we would have rather expected them in Florida 😉
Thanks to various information boards, we learn that there are several areas in Europe (especially France, Turkey, Greece) where flamingos can be found all year round.
The cold and wet weather soon catches up with us and we continue our journey south. On the first section, we try the toll motorway, but soon realise that it costs a lot of money (100km around 15 euros). The individual sections are charged by various private operators. Most of them draw a height limit at 2.2 metres, which means we have to pay about three times as much as a normal car at the toll stations with our motorhome. So, as we are already used to from the other countries, we continue to toddle along off the motorways for most of the way.
This takes us to unimagined heights and actually gives us another winter walk on Greek soil with about 10cm of fresh snow. Hard to believe that not even 3 days later, thanks to the now warm temperatures, Sophia will take a dip in the Mediterranean Sea before breakfast. 😀
Our destination for this trip south is the Peloponnese, or more precisely the Methana peninsula. There we rented a small flat for the holidays and the turn of the year. Due to the hillside location, in a small village, we enjoy a magnificent view over the bay the whole time and, thanks to the low season, with a lot of peace and tranquillity.
The following gallery invites you to our impressions during the turn of the year. Just click on it:
The flat is equipped with a small kitchenette. What we lack in utensils we simply fetch from our vehicle kitchen. So this time is also a real culinary highlight. Whether stollen, roasted almonds, pan pizzas, vegan roasts, cheese fondue or birthday cake. We want for nothing! 😉 We also put the idea of making orange marmalade into practice and ended up with fourteen jars of this citrus delicacy.
Here we also try our hand at cycling for the first time together with Tenio! At first, the two-wheeled vehicle is eyed sceptically, but it doesn’t take long before our “cheeky bugger” is pulling like an auxiliary motor. From now on, one of us can look forward to an extra 1 DP (dog power), which is a definite advantage, especially on inclines 😉 The new way of getting around also makes it easier for us to cover the daily distance of 10-15 kilometres recommended for Tenio 😀
This way we get around the peninsula and discover many beautiful corners, which invite us to stay longer. How good that we have been at home on four wheels for over half a year now! After almost two weeks in the flat, we park them only 5 minutes away, directly by the sea. Here and at another area in the north of the peninsula, we spend another two weeks in an absolutely relaxing holiday mode! The temperatures rise up to 18 degrees and let us spend a few days in T-shirts.
For more impressions from Methana, click on the following gallery:
We are shaken awake by information from a Swiss couple we met in Bulgaria and with whom we are still in contact by e-mail.
Like us, they have taken in a four-legged companion and want to continue their journey to Turkey. As this means leaving the EU, dogs need a confirmation of the antibodies from the rabies vaccination to re-enter the country.
Until this moment, we thought that the necessary blood test would be done within a week, as in Germany, but we learn that this can take around 4 weeks, sometimes up to 6 weeks, in Greece.
Two initial telephone calls with Greek vets give us the certainty that there is no way around the long processing time. There is only one laboratory for this examination in the whole of Greece!
So the next day we went straight to the nearest vet to have Tenio’s blood taken. We didn’t realise that this would be the beginning of a small odyssey with almost 20 phone calls, countless appointments and several encounters with the Greek bureaucracy…
So we stay in Greece longer than originally planned. Unwillingly, but certainly not to our disadvantage, we therefore get back into holiday mode and head for the coast 😉