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.
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!
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.
We stayed at same camp as we had on our way up to Corinth. The site was on the beach and really quite lovely.
The following day we left for the little town of Vonitsa, in the south coast of the Ambracian Gulf.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.