Sunday, 20 October 2013

Greece - the road from Achillio to Nafpaktos

We left Achillio shortly after breakfast, having also filled up Fifi's water tank and sorting the waste water. We programmed Snoopy the GPS with Nafpaktos as destination although it was not the intention to go that far in one day. It simply means we can travel in that general direction taking the best roads available without having to resort to motorways on the day.
We loosely hugged the coast to Lamia where the armies of Spartan King Leonidas and Persian King Xerxes clashed in 480BC in what was known as the Battle of Thermopylae. I remember reading about these two armies and their leaders at school in a history class. It was a major clash of arms in its day whereby the Persians sought to invade the whole of Greece and almost succeeded.

Overlooking the area of the Battle of Thermopylae

We crossed the Kallidromo mountain pass (1,400m) leading to the Gulf of Corinth coast. However, before reaching the coast we saw signs indicating a British Military Cemetery soon to be reached. We kept our eyes peeled and soon saw the immaculate walled enclosure and entrance to the Bralo Military Cemetery.
This WW1 cemetery contains the final resting place of 95 souls most of whom succumbed to Influenza in 1918. It is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commision (CWGC).

Of interest were the handful of markers commemorating those from the Russian Labour Corps. I have no idea how they featured in the scheme of things as I cannot find any reference.

Continuing our journey on the E65 going west and after some looking around we came across the delightful village of Spilia, with a suitable parking spot on a quiet road for overnight stopovers. We stayed the night and ventured to Patras from Nafpaktos via the Rio-Antirrio bridge spanning the Gulf of Corinth on its 3km wide western extremity. The cost is 13Euros one way and we did it twice, heading back to our overnight stop in Spilia. No regrets! An architectural masterpiece such as this must be seen properly as we may never come this way again.

Spilia stopover

Rio-Antirrio bridge (Patras-Nafpaktos) Gulf of Corinth

View on the move!

The aim for the day was to cross this bridge spanning the Gulf of Corinth, do some restocking on supplies, draw cash from an autobank and simply enjoy the area. All these were achieved and contented with the day's travels we decided to stay another night in Spilia at our parking spot. The choice was easy - where else can you stay free, with such a view, such ambience, surrounded by sea and mountains? You can in Greece.

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