Travelled : 80 kilometres from Igoumenitsa to Ioaninna, Northern Greece
Visited : Ioaninna
Stayed : Camping Ioaninna, €24 all services and good wifi, great view a bonus. N39.676975, E20.842332
The crossing from Ancona was smooth and pleasant. We had booked a ‘camping-on-board’ package a couple of months ago. The cost was €620 open return. This ticket has our camper on the open deck, which is not really open but has large openings along the sides and open at the stern. This enabled us to sleep in our own bed, eat our own food and drink etc. Mind you it was still very hot and humid, but as we were connected to the ships power we cranked up the air-conditioning and it was all roses.
It was an 18 hour passage, but the time passed very quickly. The Superfast XI had good wifi internet, so I could work on the blog whilst Pam focused on downloading the Sydney papers. Mind you not everyone had a comfortable bed. Wandering around in the morning there were hundreds of people sleeping or trying to, in lounge chairs. Now if loading the ship in Ancona was chaotic, the disembarkation process in Igoumenitsa was even worse. About 50 cars had to be reversed back off the ship just to allow vehicles to start turning around to drive off. Anyway we finally got off an hour after docking, but in the greater scheme we didn’t let it worry us. After all we don’t have to be anywhere.
On the road again this time winding up through the hills towards Ioaninna. The road was excellent, lots of EU Euros have been invested along this road and lots of signs at every tunnel entrance to reminding the Greeks who paid for the road. As it turned out we helped as well, as it was a tollway and cost us €6.
An hour later we drive in Ioaninna, noting the diesel is cheaper in Greece then Italy by €0.15 litre. Ioaninna was a very pleasant surprise. It overlooks a large fresh water lake, is surrounded by cloud shrouded mountains certainly not what we expected. There is an old citadel situated on the bluff adjacent the lake. An impressive Byzantine museum is situation within its grounds. There is also the old Ottoman quarter with its narrow laneways. All very interesting, although all the shops within the market quarter appeared to sell very similar touristy stuff.
Our first stop is a little cake shop. The proprietor asks where are you from ? Sydney Australian, born under the southern cross Pam answers. He chuckles and tells us he was born in Brisbane, but brought to Greece by his parents 40 years ago. We have a good old chin wag during which time he is giving us free tastings of this and that. We get the feeling we may well enjoy our time in Greece.
We did however find a lovely campsite on the edge of the lake, a bit pricey at €24, but the views spectacular. So we enjoyed an afternoon of wifi good enough to FaceTime the grandchildren, long showers and a short walk to a lovely bar right next door for our first dinner out this trip.
Tomorrow we head for the Northern Pindos National Park and our next adventure.
Michael and Pam