Ionian coast and Peloponnese: countless bays, beaches and cozy taverns …

After the wild, mountainous Northern Greece, we are looking forward to the “typical” Greece. For the first time we hit the coast north of the island of Lefkas, and we are very happy about our first overnight space right by the sea… the last one has been in March of this year in Kenya. The scenery of Lefkas is of course completely different, but no less beautiful: Steep mountains, extremely different water colors (from milky light blue to turquoise to dark blue and that over a stretch of only 200 meters), great beaches … and in the south-west also very remote places. In order to get there and to the really lonely and spectacular beaches, we prefer to switch our vehicle to our Quad Shujoo. Overall, the risk of unpleasant, stressful surprises is too great for us and that’s exactly what we have the little one for …

Nowhere on our world tour have we used our quad as intensively as in Greece: that is – also in comparison to the continents of South America and Africa where we have primarily traveled so far – mainly because there is a lot to discover over a very small area and the really lonely but beautiful places are sometimes difficult to reach and you have to work hard to discover them. In Africa, on the other hand, the truck is often the most frequently driven vehicle … accordingly, with Shujaa we managed to get to all the great places almost everywhere. Nevertheless, Karin is always looking forward to great, narrow village crossings, which we have always mastered well so far and which are actually not comparable with our experience in the steep Andes in Peru. Assessing the situation, getting out, maneuvering myself through, discussing with the locals – that is her kind of her adventure. I could live without it.

And we had a little technical repair again. Our freezer, which we had to replace in Zambia only ten months ago, has given up and we don’t really know why. The error code shows “fan defect”, but the technician who was called by quickly said it is the control unit. Well! Bring the 300 euro part to us as quickly as possible… at least we are still in Europe. One day later the part in fact arrives from Athens and gets installed. However, the error code is still in place and the freezer does not work properly. Ahhhhh, the fan must be replaced and then indeed everything works fine. But the control unit was supposedly broken, too.

From the island of Lefkas we continue south to the Peloponnese: the western finger is still quite touristy in places. At the ox belly bay (if you don’t know what an ox belly looks like, you can thing about an “Omega Bay”), we prefer to hike from a neighboring, somewhat quieter bay than to set up our night camp directly on site. It is stacked with rental cars and RVs… welcome in Europe! The middle finger, on the other hand, is much lonelier and we like the landscape extremely well: very mountainous, partly sparse in the vegetation and with the characteristic sometimes up to 20 meter high Mani fortress towers – somehow repellent and defensive, like the Maniotes themselves. At least that way you could avoid the occupation of the Turks…. There we find a great parking space in a bay, at first sight rather unspectacularly on a small parking lot, but surrounded by two tiny sandy bays, crystal clear water, a couple of colorful fishing boats and – for Karin the highlight – a tiny chapel, which in the evening, when it gets dark, has an incredible magic vibe: Lots of wax-scented candles, hundreds of picture frames with saints, a few chairs and that’s it. Again, we are doing great excursions with our quad, discovering secluded bays with nice taverns and exploring great pitches right by the sea with spectacular sunsets.

Greece surprises us very positively with the various wild camping possibilities. Although officially prohibited, it is tolerated almost everywhere … at least if you prefer lonely and remote places anyway and you are not travelling during the high season. Rarely have we found so many great pitches right by the sea on our world tour … and we have to recognize again that also Europe can also offer very worthwhile travel destinations – if you are traveling at the right time of year or season. The range of great taverns with an excellent price / performance ratio also contributes to our well-being. However, this creates more of a holiday feeling than an adventure world tour feeling.

With Shujaa, we sometimes feel a bit oversized: self-sufficiency with 800 liters of diesel and water each is definitely not needed in Europe … also the extreme off-road capability. Shujaa is always happy about the few moments when he is allowed to dig in the deep sand or scramble over hill that winds to a remote beach. We look forward to the challenges of the Arabian Peninsula if we get there!

We also like the easternmost finger of the Peloponnese, and there in particular the medieval town of Monemvasia: located on a giant rock, it enchants with a small, lively lower town and a ruined, rugged upper town. Everything is surrounded by a high fortress wall … a bit like the Greek version of Rothenburg ob der Tauber in Germany.

In addition to all the bays and taverns, the cultural highlights must of course not be neglected and there are many of them on the Peloponnese: We hike through the over 200 meters Lousios Valley with its monasteries Prodromou and Filosofou. For more than 1,000 years, the gorge has served as a place of residence for Orthodox monks, who “glued” their monasteries to the vertical rock walls like swallow nests. Difficult to reach on steep paths, they were secluded from the world and protected from attack. A visit to the world-famous ancient archaeological sites of Olympia, Mycenae and Epidaurus should not be missed either. If Olympia is known for the origin of the sports competitions of the same name, in Mycenae it is the lion gate built from huge stones (which, by the way, Karin had already depicted in her history book at school) and in Epidaurus is famous for the 15,000-seat amphitheater.

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