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Alexandroupolis - 2 months in Greece.
Sunday, 30 July 2006
It's now almost 2 months since we set foot on Greek soil, starting our tour in Igoumenitsa. To be honest we didn't plan for a longer stay than 1 months but looking back the extra month sure was worth it!.

We're now set up camp in Alexandroupolis close to the Turkish border. A seaside town with lots of activity - a pass through point for all traffic from and to Turkey. The life for the Greeks seems pretty good here, the main street has a lot to offer, the long main seaside boulevard has a huge selection of cafe's, taverna's, restaurants upto posh lounge style bars. We decided to wait here for a postal package with spare parts for the truck and few other things hard to get in Greece and Turkey.

The road to Alexandroupolis went south through Preveza, then east through Nafpaktos and Itea and north again towards Lamias.

There we stayed for nearly a month with good friends - a remarkable time enjoying Greek country life to the max. Also we changed the rear crashbar into a one that can swivel 90 degrees front and backwards to allow more ground clearance and less weight at the rear end of the truck.

From Lamias we stayed shortly at Vergina and Philipi both big archaeological digs with a big parking to spend the night at. We took the small and very steep roads (15 -20 %) along the coast upto Mount Olympus avoiding the highway as much as we can. A good test to check the engine, brakes and general behaviour of the truck in though conditions.

Greece is practically the first country where we spend the night at busy public places - parking the truck in the centre of the harbour of Kavala and Preveza. People sure do notice our house on wheels but don't think too much of it. Some dare to approach more close but don't really check us out. With our previous mobile home (see the front at we're used to a lot of close attention - mainly through the slide-in unit in a popular 4x4 pickup truck. With the truck it seems less and that's in general better - it's more quiet.

Our dog - Indra - sure does attract the eyes of the Greeks. Our "Skilaki Aspro" (white dog) is like a magnet for kids - sometimes to the shock of their parents. Till now there hasn't been any negative experience. Some people do stare - or make a disapproving look but most are just amazed by this white dog with the big ears. And Indra's used to a lot of a attention, strangers suddenly reaching out doesn't do her much. A wiggle of her tail or just her wet nose making marks on everyone's pants.

In Alexandroupolis we also made good use of the WIFI internet connection of Cafe @proorto near the main boulevard. An excellent ADSL Internet connection for using Skype, mail and big downloads. The FORTHnet NetKey Wifi access card of € 20,- for 2 months access has been worth all it. Calling for 1,7 cents / minute worldwide using Skype doesn't hurt the wallet either.

The international tension caused by the war between Israel and the Hezbollah in Lebanon does make us take a close look at our future travel plans. Basically Iran is our main route to and from India. Taking Indra through China is impossible (no entry) or taking the Afghan route is simply to dangerous at this moment. An escalation of the conflict towards Iran will make our route difficult. Not to talk about the instant rise of the cost of diesel fuel.

Nonetheless the new escalation conflict itself seems pretty much staged to us.
A war plan carefully prepared in the past years - now being rolled out on Lebanon - as if it's some kind of (de)construction plan suddenly given a go because the conditions are met. One thing's clear to us - the hate generated by this new escalation is huge. The recruiting effect on both sides has created a whole new army. Good news for the arms industry. More budget - more equipment. Good news for the oil industry - higher prices with growing demand. Very very bad news for the people on the receiving end of all this weaponry. Precision bombardments or not - in the end it's people dying. To us all the weaponry unleashed on either side doesn't solve a thing – even more a sensible dialog seems as far away as it ever could be.

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