Hear my confession. It is 8 days since my last blog post. I, Fiona Lindsay, sitting here in Iggy, the Hymer motorhome, at the idyllic location of Stomio beach, have sinned mightily as a travel writer. ( N37.185233 E21.575415)
Personally, I blame the dog.
It’s easy to blame the dog for not getting stuff done. She’s a full time job in herself this little/big handful of independent, adventurous Greek of ours. Her enormous capacity for energy is easily equaled only by her enormous capacity for getting bored. Me sitting at a keyboard for five hours a day does not fit into her plans at all.
While all this is true it is no excuse, and as I sit to write today I find my commitment to this blog caper hugely reaffirmed. Finding it difficult to find the time has shown me that I really, definitely, want to do this. Other things will have to shift to accommodate. The main ones being procrastination and excuses. I can blame the dog as much as I like, but that won’t write a blog post. Giving myself a slap for being lazy and cracking on with it might just see results!
And so to work! What have we been doing in all that time since I last wrote? Where have we been? What have we seen? Where are we going next? And has DM been behaving himself?
Ooft! That’s a lot of questions to answer! Especially as I thought my last update was the day we arrived back in Kyllini. Looking at the blog however I see I left you all on Zakynthos with three days to go until we got the ferry. It seems so long ago now! The thing I remember most was the rain…
We’ve been very lucky with the weather so far on this trip. Sicily especially was lovely, and when we arrived in Greece we’d only seen about 2 days of rain the whole tour. And even that had been fairly light stuff that mostly came at night. Greece has been a whole different ball game however with an average two days a week of torrential downpours since we got here. And once the calendar clicked over into February someone, somewhere, seemed to throw a switch. The one marked “Third day of rain required. Heavy squalls with sunny intervals.”
We’re not complaining. Although the sunshine is lovely it’s not what we travel for. We travel, just to travel. To go. To see for ourselves. To step outside our idea of “everyday”, and experience the realities of other people on this ball of thinly crusted lava we call home. Or as much as is possible while just passing through. I would rather get soaked in a February storm on a Greek island than sit in an Edinburgh park on a sunny day in June.
And so we spent two of our last three days in Zakynthos sitting in Iggy while the rain and wind hammered and rocked him from the Alikanas coast. Marley sulked as we dragged her outside for the toilet, throwing us “I hate you!” looks to rival any teenager. Her boredom levels rocketed and Jay had to save DM from the “Jaws of Death”, literally, when she jumped up and snatched him off his seat on the table.
Jay was traumatised and I hear DM is plotting a suitable revenge. Something about..
“I’ll be getting a sharp set of riding spurs to go with the saddle now you know! Oh yes! And maybe a whip too. Look at the state of my kilt! Covered in dog slobbers! Good grief!”
Our final day dawned with grey skies and drizzle, but the forecast promised sun later so we headed back to Kalimaki for one last day walking on Turtle Beach with Marley. It was a bit strange to be leaving after spending two weeks on the island. We’d settled in a bit. Started to get to know our way around. And there was the definite feeling that once we left the island we would be heading home.
We wouldn’t have even been thinking of home yet if we hadn’t found Marley. We’d most likely still have another week ahead of us before we reached Athens. And then I would begin to plot our long journey back through Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Germany, Netherlands and home. But everything had changed with adding Marley to our merry troupe. Our resources were dwindling faster, and we worried about what would happen if there was a veterinary emergency. Reluctantly we had decided the best course of action was to head back a bit quicker than planned. We needed a fatter purse than we had needed before.
Back at Kalimaki the sun broke through as promised and Zakynthos gleamed and sparkled for our last day. We walked the beaches where the turtles nest in summer, wondering if we would ever come back to see them swimming in the summer seas. The sun set spectacularly and rose strong again the next day, burning away the night and morning mist in a Greek flash of fire. Iggy was once more prepared for travel and off we set to see Spyros the vet.
It’s our fourth visit now and it’s good to be dealing with people we have come to know, like and respect. We are greeted warmly and a great fuss is made of Marley and how much she has grown. The lovely assistant (whose name we never learned) helps us pick out the best food for our hollow legged Greek. After her time without food and water, especially at such a crucial stage in her development, we want to make sure she has the nourishment to recover fully. We also want to repay Spyros for his kindness and helpfulness and very reasonable prices, and stock up on everything Marley will need for the journey home.
Counter piled high with 15 kg of premier German dog food, calcium tablets, healthy treats, a ham bone and some new toys, Spyros comes out of the surgery and waves us inside. Everyone exclaims when Marley is weighed and found to be a whopping 9.4 kg! It is only 17 days since we found her and our skinny pup has put on 3.8 kg. Thanks to the good food she is physically back to her full potential. A fine, fit, healthy pup who’s going to be a big strong dog in just a few short months. Everyone is delighted!
Marley gets her first puppy vaccinations and another worming tablet. The next treatment will be just before we get the ferry to England. Booster puppy shots will be done somewhere on the way back. Her Greek passport is finalised. “i”s are dotted and “t”s are crossed. Spyros and his assistant come to the door to wave us on our way.
“Come back and visit!” they call after us.
“We will! We will!” we call back, as with tears in our eyes we turn Iggy towards the town. The ferry. The next step.
We arrived at the terminal just in time to miss a ferry, and with a three hour wait until the next one. Hardly a chore at the ferry terminal in Zakynthos town. One of the loveliest spots you could ever hope to be in on our glorious planet. We easily passed the time strolling around the harbour with Marley and having a spot of lunch in Iggy once we’d bought some farewell Zakynthian oranges and olives in the fruit market.
When the ticket office re-opened after siesta we took our return tickets over and exchanged them for boarding tickets for the ferry approaching from the mainland. With the rapid fire chaos we have become accustomed too from Greek ferries we were loaded in no time and the sleek yellow lines of the Mare di Levante slid effortlessly away from the dock.
Our unexpected adventure in Zakynthos was at an end. We didn’t know if we would ever return. We didn’t know what was ahead. But it was going to be a lot of fun to find out.