Chance glimpse results in amazing encounter

Retracing our steps along the coast of the Gulf of Corinth, we drove through shady olive groves, lemon and orange orchards and other fruit trees thick with blossom. It was a wonderful sight.

The blossom was marvellous

During the short time we had in Greece we were also constantly amazed at the prolific wild flowers of many varieties and colours that put on such a dazzling display everywhere we went. Spring had sprung!

We were bowled over by the wild flowers in Greece

So prolific in colour and variety

So beautiful!

Hugging the coast road back towards the Rion-Antirion bridge that crosses the Gulf of Corinth, we enjoyed the sparkling sea and sunshine while in the distance we could see the mountains still covered in snow on the higher slopes and the peaks.

Watching the waves as we drive along the coast
Wonderful to be on the beach and see the snowcapped mountains in the distance

We stayed at same camp as we had on our way up to Corinth. The site was on the beach and really quite lovely.

Such a lovely view from our campervan

The following day we left for the little town of Vonitsa, in the south coast of the Ambracian Gulf.

The Rion-Antirion Bridge which spans the Gulf of Corinth

En route we came across – quite by chance – an amazing ancient archeological site of a town called Kalydon. Jonathan spotted some ruins as we drove past and we decided to turn round and take a look.

Jonathan caught sight of the amphitheatre out of the corner of his eye

There was no one else at the site – even at the entrance kiosk – so we just wandered in. What an amazing experience. First we wandered round the well preserved amphitheatre. This theatre has been in use from the late 4th Century BC until the Roman period when the city started to decline. This theatre is the only one in Greece to have a rectangular stage.

The extent of the Kalydon site was vast but we only had about an hour to explore it as we wanted to get up our destination before night fall. With that in mind, we headed straight for the closest – and as it turns out, the earliest to be explored – excavations, the Hellenistic Heroon (a place dedicated to the worship of a hero).

The Heroon
The tomb underneath the Heroon

There were giant protective “lids” that we were able to lift and explore below the Heroon by going down a small flight of stairs. Underneath the Heroon there was a vaulted tomb that apparently had two stone sarcophagi inside but as it was so dark we couldn’t see them well or photograph them.

Too hard to photograph the sarcophagi

Walking up the hill towards the ruins of temples dedicated to Apollo and Artemis, we found a section that was under current excavation. Unfortunately there were no signs or explanations about what had been found or what the structure once was but it was nevertheless fascinating to see.

More ruins to explore

Exploring the current archeological dig

Back on the road again driving towards Vonitsa we agreed that we were very fortunate that a chance glimpse out of the car window resulted in such a pleasant encounter with a deserted archeological site.

Dominated by a hilltop fortress, Vonitsa is pretty little seaside place with a number of hotels, restaurants and most importantly – a small yacht marina.

The floodlit castle just visible above houses in Vonitsa
Sunset in Vonitsa

It was great to meet some yachties and enjoy a few drinks together – united by our love of the oceans even though our politics were far apart.

We were parked right next to the yachts in the marina

Beautiful old stairs leading to the castle
The entrance to the castle. Sadly it was closed when we visited
An ancient lane in Vonitsa

The day after our arrival in Vonitsa we decided to explore a nearby island called Lefkada in the Ionian Sea which is connected to the mainland by a causeway.

A fort close to the causeway leading to Lefkada
The causeway to the island of Lefkada

We drove right round the island getting lost in tiny villages with narrow streets, gasping at amazing views, stopping at a small chapel on an pine tree topped mountain and relaxing in the small town of Vasiliki, a well known wind surfing spot.

Loved the views as we drove round the island
Had to turn round in this village – the streets were far too narrow!

We came upon this small chapel in the middle of nowhere

The small village of Vonitsa

The views on the other side of the island were lovely too

Crossing over to the mainland on the causeway

The following day was our last in Greece as our next adventure was to explore a bit of Italy. Rather than drive all the way back through Albania, Montenegro, Croatia etc to Italy, we decided to catch the ferry from Igoumenitsa to Brindisi in Southern Italy.

Leaving Vonitsa we came across this chapel which was part of the castle precinct

Back on the road heading for Igoumenitsa

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Salty tales from Bali Hai

In 2015, after a break from cruising of almost 30 years, my husband and I sailed off into the sunset - this time to the wonderful Islands of Indonesia and beyond. Three years passed and we swapped sails for wheels driving through Scandinavia and Europe in a motor home. Now we are on the brink of another adventure - buying a Lagoon 420 Catamaran in Athens. This is our story.

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