Nice sunset view as we pass over London, England, on our way to Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Shkodra, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Hiking the Peaks of the Balkans, June 13-24!

Monday, January 31, 2022

We had a fantastic day at the ancient city of Miletus

Ruth and I had driven by this area back in November of 2020, and we had seen the massive theater of Miletus from a distance. At the time, we already had a full day planned, and I had read that it takes about three hours to see the whole site so we said "we'll have to return another time".

Well, yesterday was that time. 

Sunday, January 30, 2022

It's been a long time since we wasted half a day at a shopping mall

It was almost 11:00am by the time we got going from our nice beach site. We filled our water tank and said a temporary goodbye (more like a "see you later") to Katja and Yves. They were headed into Kuşadası to do laundry, and we were headed to a big outlet store mall to do some shopping.

The plan was to meet later at the Miletus ruins, but we never made it that far!

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Just an all round nice day!

Or I suppose that's an all around nice day. (I looked it up, and either is correct). The morning was overcast, but around noon hour that blossomed into an all round nice day with blue skies and sunshine. And a high temperature around 10C (50F), and with little wind, it was very pleasant!

We relaxed for the morning, but went out for a couple of hours walk in the afternoon. The small ruins site of Claros is walking distance from where we are parked, so we headed that way.

Friday, January 28, 2022

Driving through the big city, and camped at a nice beach site

We waited for the morning rush hour to end, and then took on the challenge of driving right through the center of the big city of Izmir, Turkiye (pop 3 million). 

The problem is that there is no easy way to avoid Izmir without going far inland. Friends Glen and Steve had taken the wider route going around and had said that it was terrible. Katja and Yves had taken the coastal route through the city and said that it was busy, but moved along quite nicely. 

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Incredibly cheap groceries, and into the city of Izmir

We had learned that the big weekly market for this area took place on a Wednesday, and the location is only a five minute walk from where we are parked. So the first thing we did yesterday morning was to head over to the market to buy a weeks worth of fruits and vegetables.

Because we had been in Tukiye just over a year ago, we knew that the weekly market was the best place to buy fresh produce. Also the cheapest place. But we were still shocked by just how cheap it has become.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

We didn't plan on visiting Izmir

Our original driving plan for Tuesday was to get through and past the city of Izmir, but I had seen a nice looking park on the north shore of the city so we figured we would stop there and take a break.

I hadn't done any research on the city itself because we didn't plan on stopping here. Izmir is a big city of 3 million people, and we had just wanted to get past it all. But once we got to the park, it looked really nice. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

We dodged a bullet

We knew that doing this northern drive around from Greece into Turkey was a bit risky from a weather perspective. But we dodged a bit of a bullet the last couple of days as both Istanbul and Athens got walloped by a blast of winter and we managed to somehow avoid that!

Have a look at these photos from both cities...  

Monday, January 24, 2022

Visit to the ancient city of Troy

We suggested to friends Katja and Yves that we make a quick stop at the ancient city of Troy, and they agreed that was a good idea. It was only about 5 kms (3 miles) off our route. We set off at about 10:00am and arrived there at lunchtime. We had to take the ferry across the Dardanelles Straight, which meant that we would be crossing from the continent of Europe to the continent of Asia. 

We have now RV'd in five different continents!

Sunday, January 23, 2022

"We have a problem".

It was below freezing again when we woke up Saturday morning, so we headed for the border as soon as we got up. Didn't even have a coffee or breakfast. We were on a mission to find out if we could get into Turkiye!

If you missed the post the other day, I'll give you some background. Canadians need a visa to get into Turkiye, but you can apply online in advance. I had done that, and mine was approved but Ruth's wasn't. I cancelled the process, so we arrived at the border without visas, which is okay because Canadians are eligible for visa on arrival.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Ready for the Turkiye border!

Kind of a grey day on Friday, and they were calling for afternoon rain. Sure enough, we got dumped on for about two hours. It kind of made the clean up I did on Max a little bit of a waste of time! Oh well, I needed the exercise!

Got Max ready to go, and Glen and I went to pay our bill at the campground. Nice enough lady, and the property itself was okay, but it's not maintained at all during the off season, and we both thought it was a bit overpriced to begin with at €22 a night even though that was already the off season discounted price. 

Friday, January 21, 2022

A good visit with friends, and a possible glitch in our travel plans

First off, Ruth is getting better very quickly. Still not 100%, but boy that Cipro stuff sure kicks in right away. So, that's good.

Yesterday was a bit of a chores day, so really there's not that much to talk about. Max was in dire need of a bath, so I gave him an exterior wash. Again, it was nice and sunny, but chilly. Ruth went for a walk with Glen and Steve while I did some computer work in the morning.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Fastest doctor visit ever!

Ruth had been complaining of some back pain the last couple of days, and Tuesday night she had a fever and didn't sleep well. So, obviously something was not right, and it was getting worse instead of better.

We aren't the type to go running to the doctor with every ache or pain, however she has experienced these types of symptoms before, so we were pretty confident it was time to see a professional.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

A couple of odd things we saw

Heading east once again, this time to get around Thessaloniki, Greece's second largest city. Apparently it's worth a visit to the central part of the city, but as with Athens we have no ambition to do that at this time. In fact, the only reason we are this far north is to get around to Turkiye so that we can get to the southern coast of Turkiye as soon as reasonably possible.

But that's doesn't mean there aren't some things to see along the way.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Amazing history lesson at the Museum of the Royal Tombs

The small town of Vergina, Macedonia, Greece is not very old. Maybe 100 years or so. However, it was built in an area that has been inhabited for many centuries. In the center of town was a known archeological site that contained ancient tombs, but the tombs that were visible had been looted in antiquity. 

In 1977, a Greek archeologist working at the tombs discovered two more tombs, but these ones had been left undisturbed since 336 BC... almost 2,400 years!

Monday, January 17, 2022

Acrocorinth Fortress, and another shipwreck

We slept fine at the Acrocorinth parking area high above everything else. Only one other van spent the night as well. A police car came up to check on things just as we were getting ready to go explore the fortress. He gave us a friendly wave.

The fortress opens at 8:30am, and surprisingly is free of charge. We were the first ones in, and had the place to ourselves until we saw a single man on the grounds as well. Wouldn't have mattered if there were a hundred other people... the place is huge. 

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Climbing 1,000 steps to Nafplio Castle

We find it a constant problem that there are simply not enough hours in the day to get done the things we want to get done!

We've been getting up at 6:30am and it doesn't even get light until 7:30 or so. Yesterday morning, we wanted to climb the many steps up to Nafplio Castle for the view. It didn't seem like it would take a lot of time, but it was still after 11:30am by the time we got on the road and left town.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

A beautiful coastal drive to Nafplio, Greece

It's still a little cool out, but with the blue sky and sunshine, it really doesn't matter. We don't mind having to wear a sweater, and we're well equipped to deal with the cooler nights... it's the rain that really bothers us.

Hardly a cloud in the sky yesterday, so we had hot morning showers, emptied our holding tanks, filled our fresh water tank, paid for our four nights of holiday camping, and set off on a gorgeous coastline drive heading north to the small port city of Nafplio.

Australian Road Trip Guide For Horseracing Lovers

We all know that Australia is a big country and there’s no denying it, but for the horseracing fan who loves to road trip here are a few suggestions for where you can go to enjoy your favourite sport at multiple venues on the same trip. The key is obviously to pick a few places that aren’t across the country from each other, so here we have picked Queensland and New South Wales. You can go from Brisbane to Melbourne in around 19 hours in light traffic, but why rush? Here are some suggestions for stops on the way!

Friday, January 14, 2022

Bike and hike to a monastery

Thursday late morning we set off on a bike ride. It was only 10 kms (6 miles) to the monastery we wanted to visit, but it was a steady incline that gets steeper the higher we go. It was pretty chilly out, but since we were going uphill it didn't take long to warm up. Still, we were glad to have our hat and mitts on. 

We got past the town of Leonidio and the incline got a little steeper.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Great views above Leonidio, Greece

Sorry to go on about the weather, but that's kind of what is affecting our travels right now. Wednesday was about what they said it would be... chilly and windy and not much in the way of sun. Fortunately the rain was finished and we managed to get out for a couple of hours and do some hiking.

The area around the town of Leonidio isn't really a big tourist area, except for the fact that it's popular with rock climbers. The town is surrounded by some sheer cliff faces, and apparently there are something like 1,400 different climbing routes mapped out if you're into that kind of thing.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Glad to have electric heat!

We're enjoying our mini holiday at the campground. Although, we didn't get outside much yesterday. The temperature peaked at about 10C (50F) and it was raining most of the time. Yuck.

Of course we're paying for the privilege, but it sure makes us glad to have our little electric heater. We see some of the vanlife people camped out at the free spot down the road and we don't know what kind of heating system they have, if any, but I can't imagine they are too comfortable when the weather turns bad like this.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

We're on holiday! Staying at our first official campground in Greece...

It was a bit chilly when we woke up Monday morning! The temperature outside was only 5C (43F) and it wasn't much more inside! We've been following the coast for the past couple of weeks and kind of forgot that it might be a few degrees cooler inland.

So we decided to get up and drive right away to warm things up. We were only going 45 kms (28 miles), yet the GPS suggested it might take an hour and ten minutes to get there!

Monday, January 10, 2022

Shipwreck of the Dimitrios

We were out for a walk before 8:00am Sunday morning! We still wanted to go over to the lighthouse in Gythio, and it wasn't raining at the time so we decided to go for it while the going was good.

After that, we drove to the very cool (and a bit spooky) shipwreck of the Dimitrios just north of Gythio, then we headed inland to a little village that doesn't get many tourists.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

No sunshine, but we still managed to get out for a bit

We woke up to rain Saturday morning, and it really poured down for a couple of hours. Eventually, the rain stopped and we got on the road. 

We're only doing short distances each day because we like the area. If we have to do a few longer driving days as we approach our Turkiye border crossing around the 20th, then hopefully we'll be in an area where we don't like it so much! And if we do happen to miss some things along the way, it will give us reason to return some day.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

This should be listed as one of the world's great scenic coastal drives

Before we left our parking spot on the basketball court, we had to wander down to the historic village of Vathia to have a look around. 

The village of Vathia dates back to the 16th century. It's such a remote area that it has never had a large population, however the population has fluctuated wildly. They say that at one point in the 1800's there may have been as many as 400 people living in the area, and even as recently as 2001 there were almost 200. 

However now, there might be 20 living in the area full time, if that. And even fewer in the actual village itself.

Friday, January 7, 2022

Unfortunately, we got there and someone else had beat us to it.

We're supposed to be getting some rain through the weekend, so we wanted to take advantage of our last really nice day to stay outside as much as possible. 

So we drove to the seaside village of Mezzapos, found somewhere amongst the narrow streets where we figured Max would be safe, and set off to do some exploring.

Thursday, January 6, 2022

We are liking the scenery in this area!

So much so that we're not getting very far each day! Not that we're in a rush... although we've got a loose goal of reaching the Turkey border by the 20th, which is now only two weeks away. 

And the border crossing is 1,400 kms (868 miles) away. I know, that's only 100 kms (67 miles) per day so we've still got quite a bit of time. And as I've said before, if we have to hop on the motorway towards the end to make up some time, then that's what we'll do.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Beautiful drive south of Kalamata

We slept fine parked on the street in front of the cycling path. When we woke up, there were four other vans that had parked there, as well as three more on the other side of the small river separating the two beachfront areas.

Almost all other vans and motorhomes that we see are from Germany. We've seen a couple from France, and one from Slovenia and one from Austria. But nobody from the UK. We think that because of Brexit and the fact that the British now have to deal with Schengen visa rules, the British are staying closer to home, like Spain and Portugal.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

It's illegal, but I'll go ahead and do it for you anyhow!

It's been really nice during the day, but it still gets a bit chilly most nights. So normally, we have to put the heat on for twenty minutes or half an hour when we get up just to take the chill off. 

But Monday morning we were heading into the city of Kalamata (pop 70,000) to do some chores, so we got up at sunrise and drove in right away. Might as well warm up with engine heat.

Monday, January 3, 2022

The ancient city of Messene

On the first Sunday of every month, the ancient sites of Greece are open to the public at no charge. So we took advantage of that by going to the ancient city of Messene. 

We had been parked only a few kms away, and they open at 8:30am. We didn't figure we would need to be there that early though, so first we explored a couple of nearby sites that were not part of the old city itself.

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Well that was a great way to start the new year!

We had spent a quiet New Years Eve in the parking lot of the Polylimnio Waterfalls. There was one other van there, also with a Germany licence plate.

On the first day of 2022, we were on the trail by 10:00am to the waterfalls. I hadn't actually done a lot of research, other than knowing that the trail was about 3 kms (1.9 miles) long, and that there were a series of different waterfalls.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

December Expenses, and 2021 Expenses Review

Well, 2021 was our most expensive year since we set out with this abnormal lifestyle in 2007. In fact, it may well have been our most expensive year ever. We spent a total of $38,665 CAD  ($30,595 USD, more or less).

But before we get into more details on the full year expenses, let's talk about December. We spent a total of $2,494 ($1,973 USD). Overall, it was a decent enough month considering we paid for Ruth's Invisalign dental treatment in full during that month.

Great meal at a rural taverna, then to Voidokilia Beach

When we left the camping spot on Thursday, the rains had pretty much gone. Looks like we are ending the old year and starting the new year with beautiful blue skies and sunshine!

The people there had told us about a taverna in a small village at the base of the mountains. Apparently it's well known to the locals, and the best place for miles around to have great traditional local food in a homelike setting at cheap prices. They said the roads were good enough for Max to get up there, the only thing we weren't sure about was finding an overnight spot. But we always figure something out!