We packed our overnight bag once again, & left our little Pansyion early next morning, topping up with fuel & coffee to go before we left town. The light is wonderful at that time, & a lovely warmth in the air that is so pleasant, before turning into the searing heat of the day. It’s funny how you settle into your seat. Accepting the fact you’re there for the next 8-9 hours, & looking forward to what the road ahead will bring. Checking all the essentials. All bags present & correct. Passports & money still in place. Phones plugged in & charging, Water & tissues in the door pocket. Spectacles testicles wallet & watch. Yep all there.
We start off quietly at first, no music. Just gently taking in the views & the early movements of farmers & animals. watching as the day changes & becomes hotter & busier. We enter Greece around mid-day, & in spite of air con, the heat through the side window is burning my legs. I’ve stripped down to bikini, & strung a sarong across the window like a blind. We drove through forested mountains & flat plains. ( as the name implies. ) I’ve run out of superlatives to describe the scenery. Everywhere has it’s individuality, but all beautiful, stunning, awesome in it’s own way. We were on the coast road & could see ‘lovely’ beaches below us. It was time for a pit stop, so turned off road near Palamos & drove through a charming village to the beach. We parked up & sat ourselves in a very nice beach bar, with a typical Zorba type in budgie smugglers who chatted to us & was amazed at our journey. ( I’d have taken a picture of the budgies but he would have noticed). We felt really off the beaten track, & when we went in for a swim, commented that we wouldn’t find many Brits out here. The very next person in the water who opened his mouth was an Essex geeser.! So much for that theory. We get everywhere! After a quick swim , a drink, & a shower in a beach cabin we hit the road again, heading for Kozani for the night. We drove through one of the many underground tunnels & came out into cloud! It was the first absence of cloudless blue sky in over a month!
We had seen a large lake on the map & as always we’re ( well Rick is) convinced we will find somewhere lovely to stay nearby. Out first impressions of Kozani as we drove through are unrepeatable. Dirty, industrialised & just nothing going for it. As usual, once out of town we come into countryside & feel more hopeful. Only problem now there is NOTHING around. No little villages or hotels by the roadside. We come upon the Aliakmonas Bridge which crosses the lake we were looking for, & is absolutely stunning, but we could see from the road ahead we were heading out to even more barren land & no sign of civilisation. Evening was falling. We had seen one & only one, lone hotel a few kilometres back so turned around & headed there. It was closed! A young lady came out to tell us so, & pointed back to where we had just come from & seemed to be indicating a road up the mountain on our left. She was telling us ‘Neraida’.
Its’s a steep road, but we can now see buildings high up the mountain & clearly there is a small village up there we would never have spotted from the main highway. As we round a corner we come upon a pink painted hotel. It looks lovely & we go inside to enquire. The gentleman owner spoke Greek & German, & we never decided which was his original nationality. He was asking 30 Euros a night for B&B which was perfectly acceptable. What a place! Immaculately clean. Old fashioned highly polished furniture, & some really unusual artifacts. Ancient radiogram, photos & memorabilia. It wasn’t as stuffy as a museum but you could have spent hours checking out the lounge & bar area. It was quite large downstairs & you could imagine it filled with people. How tragic there was no-one there. We were the only guests., & as he showed us to our room he took the dust sheets off the bed. The room was again immaculate. The crispest white sheets I have ever seen & such a polish on the walnut furniture. En suite, & balcony over looking the bridge & Polyfytos Lake.
We asked if he served food, which he did not, but he pointed to further up the mountain & was saying we could get food there. Neraida! My god. Eureka!! never could we have expected to find such an enchanting village . The most beautiful little Greek Orthodox church, stunning stunning views, plus a spattering of places to eat. I read somewhere that the village t was instrumental during the war & was all but destroyed, & about 20 families still live there. It was obviously well known & visited judging by the number of cars parked in the street. I cannot imagine where everyone had come from given the distance from the next town. We chose a place over looking the lake & ordered their speciality. Pizza! Not forgetting a fine mojito or two. As the sun went down over the lake it was the most wonderful panoramic sunset I’ve seen.
We toddled back to our hotel full, comfortable, & looking forward to a good nights sleep in the comfy crispy bed. As we locked the door I had a funny turn. We were completely alone in this strange place. Empty rooms all around, not even knowing where the owner was staying. A bit of a Norman Bates moment. ( Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho) . As we turned out the light I said to Rick ‘ do you think he has a CCTV camera in here? Wouldn’t blame him if he had, it must be so bloomin boring’. We laughed. Until I spotted a light up in a corner on the ceiling. Oh god he has got CCTV in here- turn the light on turn the light on! it was the light from the air-con unit. haha. Night night.
Apologies for any repeat pics!