Scenery at the town of Uelzen, Germany .
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Hamburg, Germany.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? North to Denmark!

Friday, December 10, 2021

Welcome to Greece. Country #50 for us!

Max's fuel tank was down to about 1/4 so the first thing we did was to top it up. We hadn't put any fuel in since November 2nd. Max gets really good fuel mileage, but it's even better when he's not being driven!

And then it was off to Greece. In the pouring rain.

We had done this road back in May, so we knew that it was slow going. But, with beautiful scenery, and hardly any traffic.

Goodbye Permet.

Scenery along the way.

The road follows the Vjosa River.
One of the last remaining wild rivers in Europe.

Another narrow bridge.



Nice new road.

We knew they were doing some road repairs, but we were surprised how much had been completed since we were there in the spring. In fact, they've only got about 6 kms to go. That last 6 kms is a bit rough, but still not that bad.



Here's a short two minute video of when the new part of the road became the old part of the road. Turn up your volume... 




We would like to spend more time in this area doing some hiking.

The only people we saw were a couple of shepherds.

Oh, and a guy on a bicycle. With his sleeping roll and backpack. In the rain. We must be getting older because that didn't look like much fun!

On the bridge crossing to Greece.

Greece.
It's all Greek to us!

On the Albanian side, we had to stop and get checked out of Albania. Simple procedure, and the guy spoke decent English. We said how much we enjoyed Albania, and we were quickly on our way across the bridge.

On the Greek side, we were the only ones there. 

We pulled up to a booth on the right where there were three women. One spoke English and said she needed our passports, vaccination certificates or negative PCR tests, and the Greek Passenger Locater Form that I had previously filled in online. 

Then one of the other women came to each of our side windows and did an antigen rapid test. It took about five minutes to get the results, and of course we were both negative.

Then we had to go to the border police window where he checked us into Greece. No questions asked.

Then a lady from customs came out and checked our vehicle paperwork and insurance.

In total, from the time we stopped at the Albania check out to the time we drove away from the Greece check in was a total of 23 minutes.

Our first look at the Greek scenery in these parts.


Max, parked at the side of the road.

A village along the way.

Farm fields full of water.

We stopped at the village of Perama where there are some caves. But our priority was to get some cellular access, so we continued on a little further to the small city of Ioannina (pop 65,000). We will go back to the caves this morning.

We found a free parking lot close to downtown. Most shops are closed between 2:30pm and 5:30pm, and they re-open again until 9:00pm.

We went through a time change at the border, so at least it is light out until about 5:30pm.

Walking to the cell store.

We got a SIM card, so we are back online. Not the package I wanted, but that's my fault for not asking enough questions. Anyhow, we paid €12 ($17.25 CAD, $13.50 USD) for 14 GB of data. Apparently you can buy 50 GB packages for €25, but we'll try for that next time.

Xmas.

A rainy evening in Ioannina.

It poured with rain all night. I know you're getting tired of hearing about the rain, and of course we are getting tired of dealing with it. But, there is nothing you can do about the weather except change your attitude towards it!

So, we are headed off to the caves, where it doesn't matter what the weather is outside. And then this afternoon we will do some more driving south. We may not get out of the rain, but it will be warmer. Calling for a high of 6C (43F) here in Ioannina today!

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14 comments:

  1. Because I live in the desert, I always welcome rain. But when it rains when we're traveling, I'm always thankful to be in a RV instead of a tent!

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    1. Yes, we can understand the rain being welcome in the desert but now it isn't fun when you are traveling especially when it is constant. We are very thankful to be in a motorhome and not a tent! If we were in a tent, we would be looking at hotel and Airbnb options right now. :-)

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  2. Why not drive less than two hours east (103k) to Kalabaka and visit the ancient monasteries at Meteora. It cost nothing to view them from outside. There are about eight left on the rock mountain tops outside of the town. Look it up. There is nothing like it else where in the world.

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    1. The weather is horrible at the moment and doesn't look good in that area as either, plus it is even colder there, we really want to get to some warmer and sunnier weather. It is so wet out that we won't see a thing and it looks to me like the scenery there is beautiful but it will have to wait for another visit to Greece.

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  3. Hmmm I tried following you out of Permet via google maps. The road from Permet doesn't cross the border into Greece via SH80. Next thing you know, you're on 20 or E853. I was wondering which highway you took to show a video. You say you were on that highway in spring of last year but don't say which highway. I follow on google so I check out the little villages not mentioned or items of interest along the way.

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    1. I think you need to look at your map again, the road leading south out of Permet is the SH75 and then at Çarshovë it switches over to the SH80 and at the tiny intersection of the SH80/SH65 is the crossing that leads over the river and into Greece. It is the Konitsa (GR) - Leskovik (AL) border crossing. I don't think you had your map zoomed in enough to see the crossing and the road that leads up to Highway #20 in Greece. Here is the post from when we did this road back in May on our way to Korçë https://www.travelwithkevinandruth.com/2021/05/4-hours-to-drive-135-kms-84-miles-but.html

      The highway where we took the video was on the SH75 going through the twisty winding part of the road north of Çarshovë.

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    2. Thank you so much. I see a faint line but the highway isn't marked & I also see the bridge :-)

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    3. Glad that you can see it now, sometimes you have to zoom in more on Google maps, and no the highway/road is not marked with a name or number on the Greek side.

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  4. Do both of you have a phone or do you hotspot of the one sim card if you are both online at the same time? To bad about the weather, but it is that time of year, at least no snow

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    1. We only have one phone between the two of us and yes, we use the phone as a hotspot so that we can both access the internet from our computers at the same time.

      It is a real shame about the weather because we know that we are missing out on seeing some neat things but you can't do anything about it and hopefully we will be back to Greece on another visit. Yes, we are very happy it isn't snow or we would be buried in it at the moment!

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  5. I don't think anyone thinks riding a bike in the rain is fun, but sounds like the guy was touring, and just like when traveling by RV, sometimes you have to do that on a bike tour. We did a nine-day self-supported tour in upstate NY many years ago, and I remember having to ride a couple of times with all our gear in the rain. Not fun even though I was much younger! In the motel room, we had to hang our wet gear and clothing all over the place. Ick.

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    1. He wasn't dressed like a guy touring though, he looked more like an Albanian just trying to get from one place to another. His bike wasn't a real good bike for touring on, his clothing wasn't the type of biking clothes that we have seen other long distance bicyclists wear and neither was his equipment. We sure did feel bad for him, it was wet, cold and windy, definitely not fun biking weather. :-(

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  6. Hi Guys, I have been following you since your trip to Colombia . Love your blogs . Question. Do you drive on your Canadian drivers license only, or do you have an International Drivers License as well ? You mentioned having to show a PCR test entering Greece. Does that have to be done so many hours before Greece or do you only need to to have a negative result ? Thanks .

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    1. Wow, you have been following us for a long time now. We are happy that you are enjoying our blog posts. :-)

      Up until last year we have always just had our Canadian driver's license but last year because we knew we would be renting a car and some of the European countries require an international license to rent a car and you can only get the international driver's license issued in your own country. It ended up that we never needed it but we went ahead and got another one for this year as well, again we have never had to used it in all this time.

      The negative PCR test is only required if you don't have proof of vaccination which we had so we didn't have to have a PCR test done ahead of time and we don't know what the requirements are for that. We did have to have a rapid test at the border though and they do that at no charge.

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