48 hours of continuous or near continuous heavy rain. But we have been prepared, we knew it was coming and are staying in a house on the edge of a small village. Dogs roam freely and are generally friendly, housewives peer at us out of open windows as we pass through the narrow streets in our bright yellow camper. Everyone is welcoming. Even the orange vendor on the street corner plies gifts on Ben and Jack – a small mandarin each for being just who they are. Greece has a very low fertility rate, under 1.2, and well below the replacement level of 2.1. Children in remote villages are a rare sight – their parents have fled to the towns where they can make more money than they could by selling oranges to a community of orange growers.
Staying in a house makes it easy to drive away. No more winding in the awning, folding up beds and pulling down the roof. Just jump in the van and away we go. Where better on a rainy day than a waterfall!?
It was a wet and windy road to the village above the waterfall, and a rocky and rolley road down to the car park. We had come this far, and we were not to be deterred by this sign.
Well, I’ve seen more dramatic signs than that at waterfalls, at the Ystradfellte falls, for example. The footpath down was really quite good. Once down, however, it was clear that the river was in spate.
We never got as far as the main falls upstream or the lake downstream. After clambering over rocks it became clear that the river was just too high. Still, we all annoyed the walk.
Overnight there was a massive thunderstorm – so close that it seemed that the rumble occurred before the lightning. It terrified Meg but Ben and Jack slept peacefully throughout.
The following morning we took a trip around the peninsular and stumbled upon the fishing harbour of Methoni, the port guarded by a fort.
After hot chocolate and chips in a beachfront cafe, we drove over the mountains to return to our village. I spotted a shortcut on the sat nav, and followed it. The tarmac soon gave way to a narrow gravel trail, and the further we progressed the muddier it became. We were both relieved and alarmed to see three hunters armed with rifles standing by the track. I wonder what they were after?
Yesterday was fine – we went to the local beach, which was empty apart from a British couple from Somerset, searching for their ideal winter retreat in Greece, armed with a 200,000 Euro budget. Winter retreats in Greece are not cheap.
We had a nice email from Lewisham suggesting that our school application for Ben is being processed in the normal manner by Greenwich, and we should hear the result on 16 April. It is a pity that Greenwich, who it seems are our home local authority, have said nothing.