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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2016 7:09 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:34 pm
Posts: 38
Sunday Day 1

After a night at the Courtyard Marriot which included the free parking we were at the Thomas Cook Zone at Gatwick well before 7:00am for the checking for the 9:10am to Kalamata, there were two Thomas Cook flights leaving at the same time which caused a very large queue. We joined on the end and after about 5 minutes I could see another queue further along and I realised the queue we had joined was for preferential booking but no Thomas Cook staff at this point to tell us :shock: Others in this queue had also been mislead

Fortunately, we hadn't wasted too much time and joined the even bigger queue which reminded me of queuing for a major ride at Alton Towers

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but in fairness they didn't take too long and just scanned our tickets and gave us two isle seats, as booking through Sunvil we were not given the opportunity to book seats but I understand this is being sorted for future Sunvil clients

After the usual wait we boarded the plane which is really a Smartlynx Latvia plane with the Thomas Cook Colours. However, happy as it was the airbus A321 which is the youngest of their fleet 13 years old and not heard of any horrendous delay problems with this airline.

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I guess from the pilot's accent he was Latvian but the crew were provided by Thomas Cook

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We had brought 'breakfast' sandwiches with us and ate them at the Marriot with a cup of tea before going to the Airport

with no seat near the window and no pictures allowed at Kalamata I just talked to the chap next to me for most of the flight, he will probably now need an extra holiday lol

so in the coach and on our way at 1.55pm (UK time)

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within twenty minutes it had started to rain, there had been a heatwave the previous week of 40+ degrees

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And fortunately for us this was the break of it

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this new motorway has just been built and has cut the time from Kalamata to Tolon down from 3 to 2 hours but the speed limit is unusually slow (around 80kms per hour for most of the way, with odd bits of 50kms and 100kms). There are around 6 toll booths on it but our coach had a pass to go through each one but I will explain more on the way back when I was more awake lol.

Tunnels like this have been blasted out of mountains in the way

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at 3.53pm (uk time) we were weaving our way to the car park where we would arrive at our hotel The Minoa

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It was a lovely hotel but the only downside for us was we had a 7 foot kingsize bed in a queensize room lol

There was only a single track around the bed and Mrs Db often had to wait in the sidings lol

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The bathroom has a super shower fixed on the wall and a sink plug that didn't leak any water

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We could only get one door of the patio open, as the other half seem to be fixed, perhaps because of safety with children. However, Mrs Db and I like Pooh bear, would have to watch what we ate on the balcony for fear we might not get back in for more honey lol

Outside a lovely view, except for good photographs those electric cables would have to go lol

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for the evening meal we went to the Romvi another Sunvil Hotel and named after the island opposite us which has rabbits living on it.

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we shared a cheese pie for a starter but not quite the same as we have experienced before at other resorts

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and we both had chicken souvaliki

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and we were given a free gingery/treacle cake to share, wine from the barrel was 3€s per half litre

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and the evening ended with a coffee on the balcony

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END OF DAY 1

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Monday DAY 2

We came down to breakfast and found there were about 30 Scottish students staying at the hotel but all well behaved I think it was an educational trip for them

one could sit in the dining room or outside on the verandah for breakfast

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There were lots of things laid out on the counter but being our first time we went and sat at a table. A nice lady came up to us and asked if we would like an omelette or bacon and eggs, well you have to for the forum lol, so we had omelettes with coffee and tea

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This is part of the breakfast counter but as the holiday goes on I think I capture on photos just about everything on offer lol

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After breakfast we had a little bit of time to kill as the rep's meeting would be at the Romvi at 11:00am

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At the rep's meeting, Jackie the Sunvil rep gave us a map of Tolo ( the Greeks seem to leave the N off the end of its name)

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There are two Greek Bank atm's in Tolo said Jackie but don't leave it till the weekend if you want money, as they can empty in that period when the Greek people arrive for a weekend. However, I am going to point them out later. Jackie was going to give us bus timetables to Nafplio should we want to make a visit and at the time of writing the bus fare is 1.80€s. Also there are various trips one can do, one that attracted me was a trip from the harbour on the Pegasus boat to Hydra and Spetses islands for 34€ pp but would it be a rough crossing as it takes 3 to 3.5 hours? (Jackie said I would be ok) but I needed to inspect the boat lol

Tolo has some ancient Assini ruins just outside the town which I needed to investigate and Jackie also provided me with some walks in a booklet. However, more on that later as Jackie explained how the recent history of Tolo came about. Apparently people on Crete (not part of Greece in 1913) were ruled and oppressed by the Turks asked to come over to Greece and the Greek Government gave them some land. They rowed over in boats, some became farmers or fisherman. Jackie went on to say the fisherman did better but the majority of the men returned to Crete leaving their families behind to fight for the Creteans. Many of them died and the few that returned lived out the rest of their lives in Tolo.

This intrigued me to ask Jackie more about it, to which Jackie gave me a book on it.

Well on Crete there was well renown family of Sacorraphos and Sacorraphos had a beautiful wife call Catherina and her reputation reached the ears of the Turkish Agha who decided he wanted her for his harem and sent two men to get her. The wise Sacorraphos pretended he was honoured at the thought but told the men she was out. Knowing the men would return he hid her in a closet in the house and built a false wall in the colours of the remaining room. Some days later Sacorraphos managed to get his family a room on a boat carrying fruit and oil to Syra but really was chartered by Sacorraphos.

Another 40 families who knew Sacorraphos asked if he could get them out too and Sacorraphos help them escape by sending a petition to local authorites of the Kingdom of Greece for an audience with the King as a representive of oppressed families. The Greek King Otto consulted his interior minister and offered a place on the Corinthian Gulf but that turned out unsuitable with swamps and malaria. Tolo was intended to become a Greek naval port but was scrapped for a site near Athens. Tolo became free for the forty families of Crete to row across and settle and the piece Jackie mentioned above became the outcome with the children of those families making the Tolo today.

After the meeting there was free food but I wanted to check out the size of the boat on the jetty. At the time of writing it sails on Tuesday and Saturdays only at 8:45am and returns 7:30pm also one other trip to see the sunset over Nafpilo on Saturdays 8:30pm till midnight

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well it looks big enough

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water is very clear here

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lunch time was at the Hotel Dolphin

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They seem to be the only one selling draught Mythos around our area

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I had the tuna salad which was mixed into the lettuce, forcing me to eat more of the lettuce lol

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Mrs Db had a Greek salad

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after lunch Mrs Db was going to sit on the sunbeds outside the hotel which are free to the hotel clients

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meanwhile, I have decided to walk down the town

At the time of writing the sunbeds not attached to bars / hotels tend to be 6€'s a set

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a bit of a promenade to the car park above

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Then this road curves back and goes into town, the road through town is one way and I am heading towards any traffic, a road higher up is the bypass road for traffic to head out of town

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the Dolphin hotel

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eventually coming to the first supermarket for water and fruit

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and a bakery

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the hotel Epidavri on the left and a fish restaurant on the right

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Culture travel, the blue sign is where Jackie the Sunvil rep is based, all the flower trays down the edges of the street have been provided by Sunvil making it easier to walk down from any traffic. Tolon was Sunvil's first resort and have been located there for 46 years but don't think they actually rowed to it lol

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The Amvrosia Taverna on the right

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this road that crosses here has four ice cream parlours one on each corner lol

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The first Atm is that yellow sign on the left down the road a bit

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a 5D cinema but they just show thrill rides or scary scenes and there is a 'projected screen' outside to show the faces of people taking the rides inside lol

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and passed there on the left is the other Atm from Alpha Bank

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the road does a small zigzag here with an amusement arcade on the corner

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with the Panorama and Maria's restaurants

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then the road follows parallel with the beach

The Stella Apartments

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now looking out to sea with the little church on the island of Coronisi

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Opposite the school there is a beach fun set up

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Another supermarket on the left with the Tolo Hotel on the right

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Georgia's Greek kitchen

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several beach bars

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The Hotel Solon

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There is a beach car park at this end of town

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The road into Tolo has a boat that says 'Welcome to Tolo'

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And at the far end of the beach

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Soon it was evening and time for dinner

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tonight we are eating in Steki's

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I had Stifado

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Mrs Db had Kleftiko

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and the little church was lit

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and it was back to the hotel for a coffee

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END OF DAY 2

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Tuesday Day 3

I can see from the balcony that the crew are getting ready for the trip to Hydra

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and we watched them leave whilst having breakfast at 8:45am

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We will try the eggs & bacon for you all today lol

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loads of different jams and honey to pick from

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After breakfast, with Mrs Db happy on the sunbed, I am walking to the end of town to show you the beach

Down at the Barbouna hill end of Tolo, where I was yesterday

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a rocky peninsular at the end

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wider sand at this end and appears to be popular with local people coming in for the day and not using sunbeds

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Watersports here

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Then the first set of sunbeds

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Then more watersports

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and a further stretch of beach without sunbeds

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Then another block of sunbeds

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The beach starts to narrow here

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As the restaurants seem to have built themselves right next to the sea there is very little tide here

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Notice the beach is more gritty sand here

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and even pebbles here

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and no beach at all here just a ledge

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Then starting to turn back to sand and childern's bouncy apparatus in the water ahead

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getting to hotels with small beach fronts with Shirley Valentine almost in the sea lol

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This guy walks the beach with a small whistle to attract your attention to buying a doughnut 1.50€s

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Some restaurants are built higher with access from the road above

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so that is the stretch at the other end of town if you are staying there

these next ones are more in the centre of the town

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a restuarant on a pier a good place to be cool

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and here we are back at the Minoa end

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which for us was the better end of the beach

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Lunchtime was at the Dolphin

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welcome beers lol

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I had the Greek salad

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Mrs Db had the chef's salad

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walking along the piece of promenade beyond our hotel

I spotted a person snorkeling and spear fishing

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a larger fishing boat had come in at the end of the pier

I didn't see any fish but I think they were just sorting out their nets

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I spoke to some fisherman through an interpreter and they said they just about made a living from the fishing. I didn't ask them what sort of bait they were using

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but sounds like this fella does better

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I had walk up to see the King Minoa as it is a sister hotel of ours

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The ferry from Hydra and Spetses returns at 7:21pm

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Soon in was dinner time

and we tried the Gorilla's restaurant which had tables on the pier

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we were recommended a Nicholas salad which had crotons and a walnuty taste

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I chose tandori chicken but that was off the menu then I went for beef hotpot

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not sure how I can describe this but it was upside down with the potatos on the bottom lol but it was really good and got too excited to photograph what Mrs Db picked

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and a free orange cake each to finish

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END OF DAY 3

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Wednesday Day 4

Well sunrise is around 6:30am this time of the year, so made the effort to get up for some photos

However, there was a lot of people on the pier for this time of a morning lol

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they may have been snorkellers but there was about 40 of them trying to fit in 5 boats which only take 6 people and negotiations were going on for more boats lol

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not much luck with a good sunrise picture

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but it's said that flowers come out well this time of a morning

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After breakfast I was off to get good views over the bay and between the main road and the beach there is a small lane that runs parallel with the main road and there is virtually no traffic on it

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one can go up to the main road at this point but there are alleys to the sea or main road every so often along it

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once on the main road most roads the other side lead to the bypass above

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I chose this one, as the further one goes down the main road the steeper the roads become to get up on the bypass

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at the very top of the road, on the left is a model boat maker who has bordered his garden with model boats

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with the boats on our left we are turning right onto the bypass a heading to the brow of the bypass hill

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once over the brow we are looking for the next left turn up into the mountains, at this moment it has an orange sign at the left side of it

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then it's an uphill slog but the views are something else, as I understand it this is the route to Nafphio

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as one turns the corner the egg mountain appears

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There is a church at the top and below is the town of Assini

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at the top there is a row of Cypress trees which give welcome shade

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beyond is the said to be the way to Nafplio but too hot and too far to attempt it but Delboy eye's the top of the hill to see if that is a possiblity another time as one should get some good photographs from up there

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but for now it was time to head back to Mrs Db, I was in the wrong light for scenery over the bay but will definitely return one evening before the end of the holiday once the sun goes behind

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one down at the bypass I took the road more-or-less opposite and found I was walking down about a one in three hill which is the 4 parlour ice cream crossing and one to avoid. There are ruts in the road to stop cars slipping and stairs for pedestrians in one spot

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Lunchtime we tried the Barbaressa

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I had the tuna salad

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Mrs Db had the omelette

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The afternoon was spent on the beach

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going to dinner through the alley a cat had 4 kittens one died and a second here had a limp

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tonight we were eating in Panorama

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part menu

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we had the toasted bread with olive oil which we both liked

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on the wednesday from 8:30pm boats were relaying people to the island and that is the only time we saw this happen

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people had about 30 minutes to climb the stairs

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I had the peppered steak in metaxa brandy sauce

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Mrs Db had the Keftiko

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and we were given a free panna cotta to share

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so a walk back to the hotel

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Ice cream was 1.50€s a scoop so fairly cheap lol

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END OF DAY 4

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Thursday Day 5

up for sunrise

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more of the breakfast on offer

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we decided to sit on the verandah for breakfast this morning

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well I had been armed by Jackie with a book of walks added to by other guests but it wasn't to easy to understand some of the routes. One walk talked of ancient Mycenaean tombs and had a picture of a rock formation on the back of the walk.

Anyway I walked down to where the boat with 'welcome to Tolo' is situated and continued to follow the coast

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A barriered road as it leaves Tolo

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as I followed the bend around I came to another bay the beach looked pebbles

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A very big cactus plant in flower

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at the bay

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wait a minute I remember that rock formation it is the one in the walk book with the ancient tombs

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I had a look but couldn't see anything in the side of the rocks. I spoke to two Greek ladies one who spoke very good English. The lady said she hadn't heard of the tombs but there was an ancient site above the rocks here and that Greece is an open museum. I noticed there was a road off of the main road by this bay which goes to a campsite

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which I took and have now stumbled upon the ancient ruins of Assini

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The site has been turned into a historical place for the tourists. There was a ticket office and security cameras but the office seemed to be closed.

So I had a walk around the outside

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Assini / Tolo has always been a stategic naval site due to it's rock formation and ships were launched from here by the King of Assini to Troy in Turkey. Homer said Helen the daughter of Tyndareos the King of Sparta had accepted the hand of King Agamemnons brother the Prince of Mycenae. It was said all potential suitors had to agreed to protect Helen even if they were not picked

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And when Paris of Troy fell in love with Helen and they sailed to Troy, it was said that the King of Assini having one of the strongest armies started to organise his forces and building many ships. However, the story of Troy has been recently investigated and there was no evidence of Helen being in Troy or of a Wooden Horse. It is said that a siege took place and eventually the Greeks gave up and set sail for home but leaving behind poisoned horses. The Trojans who were starving and seeing the Greeks sail off, ate the horses and many died. There was also an earthquake bringing down part of the walls of Troy and the Greeks experiencing the rough seas returned to capture Troy. So the story may be partly right but who knows lol

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This is the main tower of ancient Assini and is the highest part

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Now at a very long beach I found this structure

I later found out this gun position has been made by the occupying Italian forces in World War 2 using the ancient Assini stones :shock:

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I then walk back to the entrance and a lady attendant was at the ticket office who told me it was free to go in

Some of the walkways are good and provided by the EU

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other parts a bit more dodgy

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The Lady in the office came around and pointed to a room which had inside very smart TV equipment and I was asked if I would like to see the video on the place. Well wearing a long sleeved shirt for walking I nearly melted watching it.

Eighty years after Troy the Dorians invaded but Assini was left untouched but the Dorian influence came in. Four centuries later the barbaric Dryopes invaded and Assini lost it's military might, the invaders settled in new people who mixed with the local people. Peace remained for 100 years when a war involving Nafphio and Assini who both took sides with the Messenians against the City of Argos. The King of Argos alway jealous of the two, invaded and ruined Assini and this is what is left of it.

Later the population with it's allies the Venetians defended the area. Unfortunately the Turks came in and destroyed the Venetian fleet, Tolon was totally destroyed again and ruled by the Turks (not a good times was it). In 1821 a revolution took place and Greece became free but as we now know didn't include Crete

This side of the fortress didn't need much wall to defend it

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There was one other person cutting the grass up top but he didn't speak any English, so I just had plaques to get info from but I think this was a grape press

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Anyway, I have probably changed history yet again with my summing up lol. The mile or so of beach ahead was once said to be a bay but the sea has filedl it in

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Standing on the highest tower

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the land is now used for growing oranges and their oranges are so good, that Mrs Db had to stand over the sink to eat hers lol

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so after a cool beer in the taverna above the small bay

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it was time to head back to Mrs Db

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checking up on the three remaining kittens in the alley

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Lunchtime was at the Dolphin

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I had the club sandwich

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Mrs Db had a ham and cheese toastie with some of my chips

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The afternoon was on the beach followed later with a cup of tea on the balcony

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The evening meal was at Maries

I had chicken in a cheese sauce and it was 12.80€s

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And Mrs Db had salmon fish cakes which costs the same

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END OF DAY 5

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Friday Day 6

Sunrise again, always have odd number of boats they say lol

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after breakfast I was going to see if I could see the bay beyond Drepano which was the place with the long beach I saw yesterday from the ruins.

Our hotel has only the one entrance onto the sand but we are taking our shoes off before entering our room to keep the sand out

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passing the kittens again

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So heading around the small bay again as yesterday

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The ancient site is a side road on the right here but today following the road curving left

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Then turning right at the bottom of the road

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and down this long road

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and an old well apparatus on the right I bet it would be worth something over here

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Eventually taking this right, as I thought I should be near the bay

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and walking down this long road to the coast

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and I came out halfway down the beach I was looking at yesterday with the Assini ruins in the distance lol

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however, I need to get to the next bay at the far end of this promenade

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It was a long walk to the end but stocked up on more water at a campsite shop

and eventually getting to the end and turning the corner and heading to the next village

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eventually arriving at the village/town square of Drepana

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I headed for Vivari

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but took this right turn as I was now the right side of the peninsular

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I decided to take the higher road as my time was running out to get back for lunchtime

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I made my way over the peninsular

after returning down the same road to the Drepana beach

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a view of the little church of Tolo in the distance

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I ended up crossing about half a mile of sand thinking there was a promenade in the distance but it was just a mirage lol

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but ended up on familar ground

have my legs shortened or has the wall got higher lol

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on the way back I called into the Assini centre to ask about the Tombs and the lady I spoke to before at the centre told me that at present they do not belong to Greece :shock:, therefore the grass hasn't been cut and there are snakes roaming about. As it was me she told me if I wish to go wear long trousers and take a stick. You will be able to see the tombs in the hillside.

Not wanting to make the Fifth Indiana Jones Film the Tomb of Doom it put me off a bit

DON'T DO IT Indy it could be dangerous


on the way into Tolo I spotted two girls filling a machine and you can empty any water you have left into the machine and if you put an empty bottle in the slot it will drop some food down for the stray dogs or cats. I gave her a small donation

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Lunchtime at the Dolphin we both had omelettes

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and then an afternoon on the beach

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for the evening meal we went to the Romvi again

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I had the cheese fillet

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Mrs Db had the pork steak

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sorry it was melon for the free sweet lol

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END OF DAY 6

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Saturday Day 7


Just missed sunrise by ten minutes

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the Greek yogurt a favourite of ours

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A beach day today

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Looks like the local school is sending children to clear up the beach

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Lunchtime at the Dolphin

I tried the Bolognese

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Mrs Db had the special of the day of stuffed tomatoes

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around 7:30pm the Pegasus boat returns

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tonight we chose Gorilla's again

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Mrs Db had the pork tenderloin with the feta cheese sauce

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I had the sirloin steak with blue cheese sauce

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and given a free sticky pud to share

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Then back to the hotel for coffee


END OF DAY 7

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Sunday Day 8

up for the sunrise

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The local Bus that goes to Assini and then to Nafplio

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I'm heading to the village of Assini but have packed a torch just in case I fancy the trip to the tombs on the way :affraid:

so down the far end of Tolo again and heading towards Assini

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On the bend we come across a garden tended by Father Ted which overlooks Tolo ( no not craggy island lol)

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so bearing left and going passed the Ancient Assini turning

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We head to the xeni camp

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go straight on and passed the xeni camp

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Villa Lily the marker for the path to the tombs is ahead

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look for the Villa Lily sign hidden behind these electrical posts

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at the villa Lily there is a pathway leading off left from the path up to the Villa the one through the olive trees

follow the path

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scramble up this bit of embankment

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and follow this pathway alongside the fence

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at the end of the fence follow through this scrubland

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and through this long grass, 'remember the snakes Indy', 'quiet junior, you know I hate snakes' lol

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and now up this pathway

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Oh dear, now what was it 'beware of the breath of God' and I know God was spelt with an "I" IEHOVA;

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And would there be a curse if I step inside :affraid:

At first it looks like a half buried skeleton inside but closer inspection it was stones

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It seems I have a shadow in the picture, as the sun is directly shine in at moment in time, Indy had a diamond on a stick to point to the hidden treasure

I dare not risk going to this one without long trousers and a stick lol

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So having visited the tombs I'm off to see the Egg hill in Assini to see if it's doable

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The target hill

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A local seeing me take the above picture invited me in his house and told me a lady painted this picture in one hour

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so it's how I get up there

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I tried all avenues to reach it but gave up in the end

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but could not find the path up

Lunchtime was so busy in Tolo we couldn't get near the Dolphin for day trippers we had lunch in the Neon taverna

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we each decided to have a Greek salad

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an afternoon on the beach and we then got ready to go to dinner and tried the Akroyaila

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I was going to have a mixed grill but was told the lamb chops were all taken with the lunchtime crowd, so i had a burger with cheese

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Mrs Db had chicken a al chef

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and a free cake

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there was Greek dancing show held at the end of the promenade near the harbour which we could view from our balcony and started with the children at 8:30pm

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END OF DAY 8


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