[Part I]: Tequila is bad, no seafood by the sea and the seemingly endless drive north
[Part II]: Disrespectful pensioners, ancient sites and frogs legs on the island
We left Ioannina and drove north to Zagori
, a collection of villages on either side of the Vikos Gorge
, not too far from the Albanian border. Many of the villages don't allow cars within them, and even if they did, driving on the steeply inclined cobbles wouldn't be much good for your car, though it's a damn good work out for you!
We planned to stay at Aghios Nikolas, as The Boyfriend and I camped there on our previous visit. It's up a long muddied road, far from traffic (well traffic on four wheels, there's plenty of animal life around there - including the giant cow-belled goat
). We checked it was still a viable option and found it had been built up since our visit in May, there was stone work around the tree
(thankfully now sans
giant spiders). All looking good we went off in search of tea. Our first choice in Dilofo was shut, so we drove around the villages until we found a small café/taverna in Kipi, complete with open fire and a bunch of curious locals. We sipped our coffees and had some rather tasty marrow pie for dinner before heading back to set up camp. The sun had long been set, so our source of light was the Bird Magnet MkII's headlights. Unfortunately we left them on too long and they drained the battery. There was nothing we could do, so we lit a fire and opened a bottle of wine.
The night was really, really f*cking cold. Despite sleeping in good tents, with correctly graded sleeping bags, matts and all that malarky, I spent a good few hours physically shivering from the cold. Brrr. Not nice. When The Boyfriend got up to light a fire in the morning, he wrapped his sleeping bag around me and I nodded off to sleep.
Upon waking we found that the car still wouldn't turn over, so we were stuck. Coffee and breakfast was had before The Boyfriend set off in search of help. Funny how the people who went out of their way to help couldn't (as they didn't have a 4x4, which was needed to get up the steep, winding, muddy slope) and those who could, couldn't be bothered. Finally the car started, but only after The Boyfriend has spent a good few hours running around, poor chap. All the while finding_bleu
and I sat watching the
world go by
cows and drinking tea.
As it was getting late and we weren't in much of a mood for a six hour hike (not to mention, we didn't have enough daylight time), we opted for the touristy approach. We stopped at some of the bridges the area is famed for. That's finding_bleu
and I on one in the first photo. Next it was onto Sterna
, a lovely café in Kapesovo, where every last little nook and cranny is used to store their wares - dried teas, herbs and mushrooms, local honey, jar upon jar of spoon sweets, handmade jewellery and various handicrafts. It hadn't been open, but a local man saw us walk past and opened it for us, calling the actual shop keeper to come and tend us. As there was no fire inside, we sat basking in the sun, sipping our mountain tea with honey. ( Mountain views, food comas and being tourists )