Being all European and stuff, we can actually drive to lovely holiday destinations now. So last week we trundled off in Uma the Puma for trip to Greece – one night in Thessaloniki and five nights on the lovely island of Thassos. I’ve been to quite a few Greek islands before, admittedly most of the touristy ones (although I did spend a lovely weekend once on Hydra, an island where no cars are allowed and the only mode of transport is donkey!). Thassos is still quite touristic, but not geared so much to Brits – which was a nice change. In fact, everywhere on the road we saw Bulgarian, Serbian and Romanian number plates, and we were just as likely to hear Bulgarian on the beach as Greek. Most of the waiters have picked up a bit of Bulgarian and even the car ferry men (having seen my Bulgarian plates) were directing me on in Bulgarian (“malko, malko, dobre!”). Apparently, we’ve gone so native we unconsciously picked the destination of choice for holidaying Bulgarians. Spooky!
Or, maybe it’s just that it’s the closest Greek island to Bulgaria (just 300 miles away), so not actually that spooky at all. Whatever.
Anyway, we had a lovely few days lounging around on the beach, the aim being – as my friend Dan would say – “to get fat and brown”. Ended the week quite brown, but not too much fatter thanks to drinking the Greek tap water! I have a cast iron stomach but it turns out you really shouldn’t drink that stuff. We drank lots of carafes of local wine, ate far too much garlic and feta, read a lot, and slept tons. All vital ingredients for a cracking holiday. The only thing missing was fried courgette balls – possibly my most favourite Greek dish, but I’ve been cooking them all summer at home and really couldn’t face them on hols!
It’s very cool being able to drive to Greece. The only downside being the, well, driving. The idea of driving to and from Greece is far nicer than the actual doing it. Three hundred miles on Bulgarian roads feels like 3,000, thanks to the lack of motorways! The journey down was trouble free but the journey back took us an interesting route through the lakes and mountains. All very pretty, and would have been a lovely drive – if it wasn’t for the 30 mile section that was (I’m not even exaggerating here) the worst road I have ever seen. It took us an hour and a half to cover 30 miles. The potholes were so big it was like navigating the surface of the frigging moon. In total, with stopping for a brief lunch and some cat food at Lidl (glam end to the holiday I know!), it took us nine hours to do 300 miles.
It wasn’t quite as bad as the day I drove to Italy. (Remember that? Where I drove for 14 hours, had a nervous breakdown somewhere around Munich, and Rob had to drip-feed me Haribo and Malboro Lights for the WHOLE of Austria?). But it was almost as bad.
Apparently, after childbirth you sort of forget how horrible the pain was because you’re so pleased to have a baby. It’s a bit like that for me every time I finish a big journey. I almost forget that road trips make me cry, swear and smoke, because I’m so pleased with my achievement. And my tan. And my new Greek rug that never would have fitted in a suitcase. It’s, like, totally the same as childbirth amnesia.
Naturally, then, I’m already thinking about where we might go next year. I think I might be up for a drive to Istanbul next! Ahem. Again, sounds a wonderful idea. And after that we’re going to do a proper Balkan road trip: Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia and Slovenia. Why the hell not.
Back to the topic of holidays, and another photo reward for sticking with me. Here’s me dining out one evening with a seemingly naked man in the background. Yep, that’s a man out for dinner in his Speedos. And, yep, I did engineer this photo so it’s mainly the naked dude and a little bit of me in the foreground. Just so it didn’t look like I was obviously taking a picture of him. Which I was.