After a late afternoon departure from Athens (because I dawdled around the streets not wanting to leave), we arrive at Isthmia just in time for sunset. A small beach location a few miles from the Peloponnese. A quick bite to eat before head down and sleep. Sorry no photo guys, we forgot.
Wild Camping GPS position Piraeus N037.915025, E023.008655
The next day, we wake bright and early and set off to Ancient Corinth and our first stop on the Peloponnese, we were excited. As we drive along the coast we cross over a bridge and notice a huge gorge looking thing to our right. We pull over at the next lay-by and walk back. It was the Corinth Canal and mighty impressive. If we are honest, we had read about the canal but it didn’t sound that great, so we thought we’d give it a miss. How wrong we were.
The Peloponnese is ‘nearly’ an island but for a small stretch of rock that attaches it to the main land. This small piece of land now has a canal running threw it, so I guess the Peloponnese are no long connection by land? Or should I say land above sea level. Before they built the canal the ships would stop at one side, hurl their good on shore, drag then across a paved slipway and then back on to another ship at the other side. All this to avoid the Matapan Cape. In 1882, they commenced the canal, which is still used by small ships.
We jumped back in Vin and tootled down shore to Ancient Corinth. In the middle, of the small village we pulled in to a family run campsite (named Camperstop) and placed down our choc’s for a few days. The campsite is run by an old chap in his 80’s and what an absolute cracking guy. He is adorable and if you visit in winter you will also find Bernard, a great, friendly chap from Germany. The site has everything you need including a welcoming coffee, aniseed bread and homemade honey. Located in the grounds of their home, it truly feels like home from home.
Every time we saw him we received a big beaming smile and huge hug. We never could remember his name so we called him Phil, short for Philhellene the lover of Greeks, who rebuilt the fountain house that is just down the road. We thought it quite apt and I am sure it would make him smile. Each day, Phil would have a Greek chat and bring us little gifts like washed grapes from his garden. The family touches that make the place feel so special.
Despite his age, he still works the land and keeps busy. One day, as we sat in the reception area we watched him prepare a homemade olive cutting tool. Apparently his olives are falling too soon, so he needs to find a solution for cutting before they fall and ruin. Phil connected his electric hedge trimmers to an inverter which connected to a car battery…hardly lightweight and portable but who cares, its Greece, off he went with his homemade olive tool.
Ancient Corinth, is a small village regarded as a sacred site, rich in history and is connected with various milestones of the ancient past. Rewind to around 7th century BC and this is the place that ruled much of the mediterranean trade. Controlling all goods that either went around the Peloponnese or up and over the Isthmus. From here they set up various colonies including Syracuse in Sicily, which we travelled through in June 2014.
Archaeological finds in the region link back to Roman period when Ancient Corinth established itself as the largest Roman township in Greece. Here, you’ll also find Roman Forum, Temple of Apollo, Temple of Octavia and other edifices dating back to the time of the Julius Caesar. Entrance fee to the site €8 pp.
The unique culture of Corinth has been constructed over a period of 10,000 years, during which it has traded with ports as far away as Africa, the Middle East and India. This glorious past still makes its impact felt in this fascinating village.
The Archaeological museum has plenty for those who enjoy pottery collections, but also has plenty other finds from the area covering statues, mosaics and sculpture. Red and black figured pottery decorated with animal motifs are unique to Corinth and became the main export trade. The village has a small selection of bars and souvenir shops, which make for a pleasant stroll especially early evening.
From Ancient Corinth, you can walk or ride up the windy road to the Acrocorinth. This is a massive natural acropolis and you can see how and why Ancient Corinth became so powerful. The ancient Greeks built the first fort and overtime every era has added to it, so now it is one rather large fortress 3 layers think with gates, towers and ruins galore. On top of the limestone mountain you find superb views of the plains and coastline below. The best time to visit is at sunset when mountains and hills of the Peloponnese look mighty and challenging but extremely inviting.
In between, visiting the sites and the surrounding areas we had a mega wash and clean. in fact, we had 2 cleans, one of which was not by choice. The motorhome next to us is parked up for a long stay, as the guy slowly restores it. Well, one day he retuned with a mechanic and decided to fire the thing up and you’ve never seen anything like it. Plumes of black smoke bellowed out the exhaust and the whole area was just covered in diesel particles. They rev’d the spuds off the engine and each time more plumes of black smoke engulfed Vin. An hour later, Vin looked like a sooty van, he was black. And that’s not all, inside was covered too. We were none too happy and whilst the owner apologised, it didn’t make the cleaning any easier. Needless to say, we moved to another spot.
If you love following travel blogs then you might want to take a look at a few of sites we’ve started following the last few weeks. All very different but all very informative and loads of travel stories, which we just love. Wandering Stars with Paul & Lynda. Travelbunyip, Jenny & Ewout’s have just returned home to Sydney but I am sure it won’t be long before they set off, again. Motorhome Travels in Europe with Dave & Wendy.
Our Bumble Verdict: Exploring the site and the limestone mountains is well worth it but add on the little campsite and it is a must for anyone wanting a taste of Greek local hospitality.
Our sleepy spot: A small family run campsite just a couple of minutes walk from the centre of Ancient Corinth. Cost of €10 per day for everything.