A “quacking” end to the season
24 October 2017 | Kalamata - 6,606 NM
Sunny and Hot
Kalamata is a very pleasant city. It's bigger than anywhere else we've been to so far in Greece and is a proper working university city and not built around tourism. There are some nice shops, very smart bars and the supermarket has the same variety of products we'd expect at home. Couldn't believe we could be so excited in a supermarket!
We've started putting Freya to bed and cycled along the coast road which is lined with bars and restaurants and we've been into the centre which is quite modern and has a nice feel. Trains no longer run here but they've turned the old station into a really nice park and left the old trains sitting on their tracks. We found a hairdressers which was a relief and also happened to pass an upholsterer and popped in as we would love to have the cushions in the salon covered. Paul's Greek came in very handy as the shop owner spoke no English but he was very helpful and came to the boat to have a look. The next morning we went back to his shop to look at material. Paul's Greek was really tested when he had to explain that the material needed to be treated for damp but it was all sorted and we were amazed when his quote was only €400 - deal done!
Our berth is next to the marinaros hut and so can be quite interesting as we get to monitor the comings and goings in the marina as well as join in their banter. They had been out scrumping chestnuts one day and had filled a large crate. We were asked if wanted a few, and in true Greek style "a few" meant a large carrier bag full and lots of conflicting advice on how best to cook them.
We were a little concerned as there are 2 ducks kept in a shopping trolley with a lid opposite the boat. Our first thought was that they were for the pot - this is Greece after all! But we couldn't have been more wrong - the ducks living in the marina had laid eggs on the end of our pontoon, which duly hatched and then became of great interest to the local cats. So the marineros put them in protective custody. The parents visit regularly and its all very entertaining as well as noisy. They're getting quite big now and so we're hoping they will be released before we leave.
Not so entertaining was our night visitor - We were asleep in the middle of the night when Paul heard a loud thud. A cat had been exploring the boat and tried to walk across the mossy net on the open hatch. He'd fallen through - hence the thud - but was then franticly trying to get out. By the time Paul got up to investigate it was jumping around the walls, terrified, with everything on shelves flying everywhere. It tried to climb up Paul, presumably as a means of escape, leaving scratches all over his legs and arms. Paul eventually caught the intruder in a towel and it was unceremoniously removed!
The next day we cycled along the coast in the other direction discovering that in 5 minutes we were out of town and cycling along a nice beach to a village with a taverna - a thought for another day. We've also been exploring the old town of Kalamata. There isn't much left as there was an earthquake in 1986 which destroyed a lot of it but it was interesting and has a very different feel to the modern part. The castle has suffered a very turbulent history as well as damage from the earthquakes but has now been turned into a park and was a pleasant wander.
We've hired a car so that we can explore further afield but our first adventure was into the depths of Kalamata as we tried to find an o-ring to fit our water filler cap. We had vague directions and after driving up and down very narrow one-way streets we found ourselves in a bustling, busy street with lots of hardware shops where, clearly, tourists rarely visited. Each shop helpfully directed us to another until we eventually found what we were looking for - we bought 4 just in case!
In the afternoon we drove back along the coast to Koroni. We'd passed it in the boat but hadn't stopped. It was really pretty and hasn't been affected by the earthquakes leaving lovely old winding streets as well as the usual waterfront lined with tavernas. As seems to be the norm in this part of Greece, there was also a huge spectacular castle. This was our first taste of the Peloponnese - narrow, windy roads where everywhere takes much longer to get to than the map suggests!
The link to our map seems to be stopping people leaving comments on the blog, so I've removed it from these posts for now. I will be keeping it up to date so simply go to one of the special map only posts and click the link there to see it