Mon. April 16 Vranji to Yefira
Sunshine at last! The run to Skopje (capitol of Macedonia) was very enjoyable. Clouds rolled away & sun came out. Off went sweaters & on went sunglasses. Hit a calf in Titov Veles - its fault. Got chased by an irate soldier for photographing a bridge in a gorge, a no-no that close to a frontier.
Just to be on the safe side, I squandered the remaining 6 shots on the roll & took the film out and set the counter to 16. So that if they confiscated the film, all they would get would be blank film.
|Figure 1.24a: Titov Vales. Photo: John Ireland|
At the frontier, just down the road, we were waved through, but a car with German plates that had passed the bridge at the same time as us was being dismantled by the roadside.
Greece was just as I had imagined it to be, bright sun, rolling hills & snow-covered hills in the background. Tonight we are camping about 15 miles outside Salonika. The sky is clear.
Weather - warm & sunny.
|Figure 1.25: Macedonia|
|Figure 1.26: Macedonia|
|Figure 1.27: Macedonia. Photo by John Ireland.|
Drove in leisurely fashion to Salonika and spent the morning wandering around the town. It is really good to be in the sun. Decided to load up with fuel & food, and find somewhere to camp for a couple of days.
Drove for about 50 miles until we hit the coast & then turned off the main road to a little village called Stavros.
Found what must be one of the best camp-sites in the world. Not far from the road but out of sight from it and right on the shore with a small clearing for the tents and a fast flowing stream of fresh water. We will be here for at least one day.
Did all our washing, had a swim in the Aegean - our first swim this trip. Had a first-rate meal this evening. Went into shorts today. We like Greece. Yugoslavia already seems like a bad dream!!
Put our watches one hour forward today.
Weather - hot & sunny.
|Figure 1.26: Salonika|
|Figure 1.27: Salonika|
|Figure 1.28: Chaos at Stavros|
Wed. April 18 Stavros
A day of lotus eating in the best tradition. Up early & down to the sea for a swim, then lay on our camp stretchers for the rest of the morning, just reading and absorbing ultra violet rays.
John & Dereck worked on the land rover; adjusted brakes, reset tappets, checked tyre pressures, topped up the battery and cleaned out the front & back of the vehicle.
|Figure 1.29: Maintenance|
Spent the early afternoon washing and sorting kit. About 4pm, John & I went into the village for food. People were very friendly. Took pics of a group of kids splitting mussels. A man brought us a couple, split them, cut the flesh from the shell, squeezed lemon juice over them and bade us eat. They were very nice, too.
We are getting a bit sick of being taken for Germans. The people are much more friendly once they know we are English.
|Figure 1.30: Washing|
|Figure 1.31: Shellfish lesson, Stavros|
Watched some of the fishermen at work today. They set their nets between 2 or 3 oil drums & then drive the fish into them from a boat. One man rows while the other stands in the stern flailing the water with a long pole. Greece is all that I had heard + a bit more besides. The beauty of the coastline has to be seen to be believed. The sea is not too hot at this time of the year, just cold enough to make getting in a bit of a struggle but once in it is lovely.
We are having difficulty making ourselves understood because they even use a different alphabet. We got a police escort out of Salonika yesterday as the officer thought it would be easier to show us the right road than to try to tell us!! We made a curry tonight; everything was going perfectly until we got to the part about putting in the curry powder. We had no curry powder.
|Figure 1.31: Stavros. Photo: John Ireland|
|Figure 1.32: Camp at Stavros|
|Figure 1.33: Stavros. Photo: John Ireland|
|Figure 1.34: Stavros. Photo: John Ireland|
Weather - hot & sunny.