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In Greece again, the 6th time
Monday, 05 June 2006
We’re in Greece again! It feels like meeting an old friend. We visited Greece the first time in 1990 by car, now 16 years later it’s the 6th time we’re touching Greek soil. The first feel of the country is unchanged and the sun is as bright as in it’s name Hellas.

We started off with the inevitably wrong turns immediately after leaving the Ferry. “Trucks not allowed” on all exits. We ended up on a brand-new stretch of highway – uphill towards inland Ioanina. No exits for miles and miles and when one exit appeared it was closed. Hello Greece, we’re here again!. Anyhow, we found an exit and backtracked – made a tour through Igoumenitsa, done some groceries and lunched at the main port parking. Igoumenitsa is a buzzing seaside town and international seaport packed with young Greeks meeting at the many seaside taverna’s.

Knowing many of the roads around Igoumenitsa we visited two of our favorite locations.
One water tap near Gliki with a nice view over the valley. A new taverna build at this nice spot suddenly stared us in the face. The water tap was still there, however we felt no need to trade water for a cup of coffee. A great business opportunity for sure, the owner made a good deal being there.

Next was Gliki itself, a place built near a mountain river, the source for all agricultural activities in the area. At the bridge – a great spot to sit down and relax was still there.
The Taverna´s obviously do tremendous good business, they have expanded big time.
However we forgot it was Friday, the night out after work. So not a particular good spot to spend the night. Music, cruise & show-off heaven all night long for the young folks.

Later that day we found our sleeping place for the day at the Zalongo monument and the Kassopi archaeological site. The 3rd time for us, a place at 616 meters with an awesome view over the Préveza Valley. Of course not without taking a new found and shorter road thanks to our Microsoft route planner. Hugely steep and narrow – not for the fainthearted. 1st gear & U-turn territory! You gotta love Greece for this, always a surprise round the corner. The main road to the Zalongo monument was on the other side of the mountain. We took the steep route.

The next day we visited Preveza, the town where the Amvrakikos lake meets the sea.
We joined the morning life for some shopping in the many small shops. Small businesses like vegetable & fruits shops, bakeries, butcher still survive here giving the town a nice atmosphere.

We spend the next two nights at Mutikas / Epiros beach. Heaven for those who adore long stretched beaches and everything associated with it. The beach life in the weekend of “pinksteren” at (near Preveza)  is pretty quiet.  Mainly young men cruising on their motorbike’s or 3nd / 4rd hand imported beachride’s looking for non-existing beach prey.

With the fast & luxurious ferries from Venice & Ancona, Greece is more accessible for western Europeans as it has been ever before. With a 24 hrs transit including the 1 hour time difference it’s a whopping fast trip from Venice to Igoumenitsa.
Somehow Greece still looks like a fly& rent holiday destination, with only little opportunistic car travelling. Looking back over 16 years, it just might be the mental hurdle of going so far with your own car. Even when it’s closer to home than the French Riviera or the Spanish Costa’s.


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