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Easter in Greece

Before we can celebrate Easter in Greece, we first drive from Ouranoupoli to Kato Gatzea on the Pelion Peninsula. Two campsites are next to each other here and we choose camping Sikia because of the slightly better reviews. Later it will turn out that camping Hellas has a new sanitary building and perhaps a little better wifi. Both campsites are lovely and are right by the sea. But first our departure from Ouranoupoli.



Departure Ouranoupoli

The caravan is on a small elevation. Driving on it was very easy with the car in front, but getting off with the caravan behind the car is not possible because of all kinds of poles and the electricity cupboard that is there. So that literally became manoeuvring with the mover. The caravan hung crookedly when a wheel was down the threshold and I had my hands before my eyes. Fortunately, the other wheel also quickly got off.



Then the caravan had to be behind the car. This didn't go smoothly. The nose wheel was a bit crooked, which meant Rudolf had to drive back and forth with the mover. Because the road was also slightly crooked up, this was a bit more difficult, but after a lot of pulling and pushing it had succeeded. We thought.............


We had put the handbrake on for sure and with that we made an attempt to drive off the campsite. Not so. Already at the reception, or luckily already at the reception, the caravan fell off the towbar. So pats on the ground! You shouldn't imagine if this had happened on the highway, then the damage could have been much bigger.


We immediately got help from the campsite owner and a fellow holidaymaker. Because the caravan is too heavy to lift at the nose wheel, we first had to turn the nose wheel up. Fortunately, this went well, only he didn't get high enough to hitch. So beton-blocks had to be under it, to get the nose wheel a little higher. After a lot of hassle, that eventually succeeded. The safety cord was also torn loose, so we were able to fasten again with a lobster. In the end we were 45 minutes further when the caravan was back on the towbar. We could hit the road, we thought. We drove away and then the caravan still made a weird noise. If we still had the mover on it, we would have put it back on to make it easier to get the caravan on the towbar.


How do you think of it? Anyway because of all the crowds, adrenaline, tension you stack error on error and then this happens. End well already good? Yes, we arrived safely at camping Sikia on the Pelion peninsula. And no, we didn't argue, didn't scold or swear and didn't reproach each other. Afterwards I gave each other a big hug that it went well.


Pilion

Pelion is a beautiful peninsula. Partly touristy, partly authentic. The main road runs from North to South and if you want to cross the island, you have to take a moment. In 30 kilometres you will do 50 minutes and the roads are slightly less good in some parts than on the main road.



We visited Agios Ionannis. A village where only one road runs, it winds and is narrow. It is definitely worth it, as the village has beautiful blue beaches. Then we continued to Tsagkarada, a mountain village on a slope. In this village is the largest and oldest (1000 years) plane tree in Greece in the main square. What a magnificent tree! Under the tree you can enjoy the tree and a cup of coffee/tea on a terrace. Finally we visited the mountain village of Milies. This is the end station of a train ride through the mountains. It is a narrow gauge train and takes you up from the valley. In addition, it is a starting point of beautiful walks along the narrow gauge railway.


On Easter Saturday (April 15 in Greece) we want to visit Makrynitsa. This is a village east of Volos high in the mountains. No cars are allowed in this village due to the steep boulder streets and it has a protected status. Google maps leads us through the shortest route. However, this route is a bit challenging. Regularly without guardrail, so I even think ‘as long as this goes well’.


Arriving upstairs, it turns out that all Greeks came up with the same thing. It's mega busy and finding a parking space is impossible. The nearest car park was 5 km walk away. Fortunately, there is a friendly traffic controller who tells us that the other side down the mountain is a much better road. That's right indeed. We stop along the way to take a few view photos of Volos, but the road is nice and wide and we are quickly back down in the valley.


Easter in Greece

Greek Orthodox Easter does not always coincide with the Catholic Passover. The Greek Orthodox Church is based on the old Byzantine calendar and therefore Easter may fall earlier in the Netherlands or later than in Greece. The week before Easter is called big every day, so big Monday, big Tuesday, etc. And every day is all about something and all kinds of preparations are made.


They also have Easter bread, but with a red egg in it. Almost all eggs are red, sign of blood and life. On Saturday evening there is a mass in the church. A little before midnight, the lights go out and then the priest illuminates the church with a candle lit by the Holy Light. All people therefore have a candle with them that is lit. At midnight the church bells ring and fireworks are set off.


At campsite Ouranoupoli we had met a Romanian couple, who also happened to be in Kato Gatzea again. At least at the campsite next to us. We had nice contact and on Easter Saturday we had dinner together and heard a lot about the traditions. For example, they told us that Romania is the only country in the Balkans that does not have the Slavic language, but the Germanic one. It looks a bit like Italian


Because of their stories, I decided to walk to church just before midnight on Saturday night. The service started as early as 23:00, we could hear at the campsite. On top of the church are loudspeakers during this period. Arriving at the church, the square in front of the church was full, the street was full and everyone had long candles with them. I had a little light with me.


How special this was to experience. At 00:00 the church bells rang, everyone shakes hands and wishes each other something, fireworks were set off. It was beautiful to see, it even made you emotional. Then everyone goes home through the village with the burning candle. It was wonderful to see all those lights in a row. It got late that night, but it was more than worth it.


Fortunately, camping Sikia is a wonderful place to relax and that is exactly what we did the Greek Easter.


Chairetismous apo camping Sikia - Kato Gatzea






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