The third year

Winter in Messolonghi 30 sep 2019- 3 jun 2020

And so we arrived in Messolonghi( or Missolonghi) our home for the winter! And our first glimpse was very promising!

Until 1700 Messolonghi was under Venetian rule and the name is a combination of two Italian words, mezzo and langhi, which means “in the middle of lakes”.
That is a very accurate description since this is a place of rivers, lagoons, shallow salt marshes and swamplands.
At that time most of the inhabitants were living in cabins made of straw and reef standing on stilts in the sea, and sailing along the narrow canal towards the town you can still see these cabins called “Pelades”.

The city is located between the rivers Achelous and Evinos in the north part of the Gulf of Patras. The area is part of the Missolonghi-Aitoliko Lagoon Complex. It is a shallow area about 150 square km consisting of six distinct lagoons separated by narrow channels and eight small islands. Needless to say, fishing is an important occupation in this area. The lagoons are the richest waters in Greece as far as fish are concerned and about 170 species of birds can be found here! It will be very exciting to explore this place!

When you are sailing from the Ionian Sea, heading for to the Corinth Channel you will come this way. Some of our friends from the sailing community in Licata came by for a visit, travelling the other way around-from Corinth to Preveza😀

Cris and Clint passed by in October and Andrew and Angela on Millie came a little bit later. Unfortunately we have no pictures from their visit, but we know now that we were going meet them again in the summer and spend quite a lot of time with them so pictures of them will show up later ❤

The very nice Marina is situated a bit outside of the town which makes it a quiet and peaceful place. It is owned by  Jo Mannen, who has recently reopened after a long period of serious legal problems between him and a former co-owner.

A room with a view-Marina Messolonghi-

The surroundings are beautiful, flat and very bicycle friendly, reminding us a bit about Holland!😊

We like the town very much! Not too small and not too big, about 13 thousand people. It’s mostly visited by Greek tourists, the international ones doesn’t seem to have discovered it yet! And the town is quite lively with a lot of students, small bars and resurants everywhere!

Messolonghi has it’s own brand of caviar, Bottarga Messolonghi, also known as Avgotaraho. It is made from the eggs of the grey flathead mullet.

The process is done in the old traditional way and takes several months. And the caviar is now a Protected Design of Origin(PDO)

Messolonghi is also known for a dramatic siege during the “Greek war of Independence” against the Ottoman Empire between 1821-1830. It’s a gruesome and horrible tale but if you feel up to hearing about it here’s the story:

The third siege and Exodus of Messolonghi 1825-1826

The ottomans had tried and failed to capture the city twice before in 1822 and 1823.
But in April 1825 Reshid Mehmed Pasha, a prominent Ottoman general, arrived together with 30 000 men for a new try. The army consisted of Turks, Egyptians and Albanians commanded by French officers and they all settled down outside the city on both land and at sea.
In the city there lived about 9 000-10 000 people at the time, half of them women and children.
The people held out for a long while,with the help of food smuggled in to them from the seaside, but in March 1826 the islands in the bay had to surrender to the Egyptian fleet and supplies from the sea could no longer reach the city.
After a year of relentless attacks the starving people where desperate. It is said that the city had no more cats, dogs, donkeys, or horses as the people had eaten them all, and to stay alive they were eating seaweed. So what choice did they have? They just had to try to escape.
The plan was to create a distraction by charging one section of the wall while the women and children escaped through another gate. Those who were wounded or too sick to move would remain behind in houses packed with gunpowder so that they could blow themselves up when the Ottomans came to kill them. And hopefully they would also take some of their enemies with them in death.
So on a cloudy, moonless night, the 10 april 1826, they made their move…
But deserters from the city had told the Ottomans about their plans and the soldiers were waiting for them outside the wall. Of the 7 000 people that tried to escape only 1 000 of them made it to safety. The rest were killed or sold into slavery!
The Ottomans displayed 3 000 severed heads on the walls and put fire to the city which was totally destroyed😥
It is a horrendous and very sad story but, though a military disaster, the siege and its aftermath proved to help the Greek in the end. The Ottomans harsh treatment of Messolonghi made Britain, France and Russia to intervene militarily in the war and secure Greece’s independence – with the result that within four years Messolonghi were back into Greek hands again!
The city also received the honorary title of Hiera Polis, The Sacred City, making it unique among Greek cities.
Interesting fact
The English poet Lord Byron, who was a supporter of Messolonghi and the Greek struggle (he also loved the local caviar) died here 1824 of a fever. Since then he’s a national hero with a statue and a  Cenotaph, a monument containing his heart! in the city.
By Joseph Denis Odevaere – Web Gallery of Art
The Marina has it’s own guarding animals, the dog Anouk and the cat Berlusconi! They are cared for and fed by the liveaboards
It took a few days for Anouk to accept us as part of the tribe, but one morning we were woken up by a lot of thunder, lightning and a strange crying sound, and there was a very scared Anouk standing in the cockpit.
She had managed to climb up on our steep passerel and she immediately came in and stayed with us until the  storm died down. Since then she and the beautiful cat Berlusconi were constant guests on Hoppetossa😺🐈
Berlusconi is a stray cat that one of our neighbours in the Marina has been taking care of for quite a while, but they recently sold their boat and left so we promised that we would look after him while we’re here!
Trix and Peter also left their bikes for us to use, the lovely people, so now we can move around more easily and explore this wonderful place.
The Flamingos have arrived

A bustrip to Kastoria and other places late Oct 2019

Before she left Messolonghi, Trix introduced me (Jill) to a lovely local group of women and their instructor Nikos-doing work-outs together two-three times a week. Perfect for me to jump into since living on a boat is not exactly making you thinner!😏
One day they invited us to take a trip together with them to Kastoria, a town in Western Macedonia in the northern part of Greece.
We didn’t know that it is about 240 km to go one way and that was probably good 😏 otherwise we might have said no and missed out on a fantastic day out.
The local Association that were arranging the trip have a lot of different activities going on in the town.
Apart from us “athletes” there are people who are doing traditional Greek dancing, Oriental dancing (belly dancing) painting, knitting, theatre and many other things.
All together we were about 50 people that went onboard the bus at 6,30 in the morning to be back at 22,30!
The president of the Association, Leonidas, is very interested in history and had a lot of stories and information about the places we were passing by and visiting.
Since Rein and I were the only foreigners on the bus we didn’t expect to understand much, but he really wanted us to know what was going on and was so kind to insist that everything he said should be translated for us, which was also done by a very nice lady in excellent English.
Nikos and Mirofora
The handsome Pavlos Melas! By Georgios Jakobides – Athens, National Historical Museum.
After about two hours we had breakfast at a restaurant along the road and then we visited the house of Pavlos Melas, one of the most famous heroes of modern Greek history. He is considered a symbol for the Greek struggle for Macedonia and died only 34 years old in a clash with the Bulgarian militia 1904 in the village of Statoria. The village was later renamed Melas in his honour!
Did you know that Greece had been fighting with Bulgaria? The Bulgarians wanted to have a “corridor” through Greece down to the Mediterrenean Sea. Also a reason to start a war!
Melas’s house was built about 1870 and the outlay of it is actually quite similar to Kvarnen, our little house outside of Skärblacka in Sweden.
We felt at home in there 😀

After this we went to an outdoor museum park, Dispillo ,that has a reconstructed prehistoric lakeside settlement with clay huts on stilts, dated about 5 500 BC!
The settlement was discovered during the dry winter of 1932, which lowered the lake level and revealed traces of it.
Interesting to see how they (probably) lived so far back in time.
Then it was time to go to Kastoria, first to a beautiful monastery just outside of the town and then for a tasty lunch in the town itself.
The city is spreading out around the big and unbelievably beautiful Lake Orestiada, said to be formed about 10 million years ago! It looks like a painting!
28 square km big and approximately 9 m deep it is the home of ducks, coot (sothöna in Swedish), pelicans, eagles, nine species of herons, mute swans (which are not really mute just less vocal than other swans) and about 200 other species.
Mute swan By Yerpo – Own work

Apart from all the amphibians and turtles there are also some otters in the lake and wolves can still be seen in the surronding hills. There are bears, wild cats, foxes, weasels, martens, badgers, squirrels, forest dormouses, wild boars, hedgehogs and hares. Just WOW!🥰 In the winter this lake is quite often frozen over. I think it would be wonderful to see!

Lunch in Kastoria
After strolling around the city we finally settled down for the 4 hour bus drive back to Messolonghi, with one stop for a snack at an enormous candy store.
We thought everybody would be sleepy after the long day (we were) but maybe they all got a sugar rush because the last two hours it was singing, dancing and blinking disco lights in the bus🤣😂
Wonderful!
We have decided that we will definitely travel with these lovely people again if we are allowed!
Now it is the end of October and it is still summer here!
Having the bikes makes it much more easy to get around and we are using them a lot.
Most days we go out for a walk or a bike ride, quite often Anouk is coming with us and when we come back to Hoppetossa Berlusconi is waiting for us!😺 🐕
So nice to have the animals around!
28 October-Oxi day
The 28 Oct 1940 Mussolini, backed up by Germany, demanded to let the Axis forces (Germany, Italy and Japan) occupy strategic places in Greece- or else face war!
Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas response to that was “OXI! “NO!”💪
And less than two hours later Italian troops stationed in Albania attacked the Greek border. Against all odds they were driven back, but Greece had now entered WWII.

Since then Oxi (NO-day) day is a symbol of national resistance and the day is celebrated every year with military parades, folk dances and special ceremonies in the church.

“Until now we had said that the Greeks fight like heroes. From now on we will say that heroes fight like Greeks.” | Winston Churchill 

A brief visit to Sweden November 2019

We went to Sweden for a short while to visit family and friends, helping Linn and Alicia to move to a bigger apartment and fix some things in Kvarnen, our little house outside of Norrköping.
November might not be the best month to go to Sweden. It’s cold, dark, wet and very grey and Rein has been laying under the house to install a frost protection cable on the water pipe.
It has been 4 C and very wet but it’s still feels so good to be here and the two lovely dogs of our tenants have been keeping us company! 🐕🐕
Little did we know at the time, that very soon an unknown virus would be spreading like wildfire all over the world, and that it would be a very long time until we could come back here again!😥

Back in Greece

Coming back to Greece at the end of November we rented a car on the airport in Athens, intending to see a bit more of the beautiful surroundings. Being low season it didn’t cost us more than 100 Euro for two weeks!
We took a nice day trip around the Lake Trichonida in the region of  Aetolia-Acarnania.
It’s the largest lake in Greece, covering 98 square km. Hidden on a plain between two big mountains, Panaitoliko and Arakynthos, it remains unknown to most people.
We had to travel through this magnificent ravine in order to get to the lake.
Around the lake there are beautiful forests with maples, pines, laurels, eucalyptos, oleander and lemon….
The lake is home to about 90 species of pythoplankton- a special kind that gets their energy from photosyntesis- as well as 11 species of fish indigenous to Greece like smelt, saliara and others that we have never, ever heard of:-)
Fun fact
The hydrocarbon lake Trichonida Lacus on the Saturn moon Titan was named after this lake!
Since we only had the car for two weeks we were trying to see as much as possible of our surroundings and at the same time use it for some practical things!
We went to Lefkada, one of the Ionian islands, to deliver our life raft to a company that will do a necessary checkup on it. Something that should be done every third year.
Instead of the highway we took the road along the coastline…
It is breathtakingly beautiful and since you also avoid the toll, that can be quite expensive if you go far on the highway, it’s not a difficult choice. On our way from Athens to Messalonghi we paid about 27 Euro in toll!
We also went to Koronisia, a beautiful small village in Amvrakikos bay where we spent two weeks this summer.
We wanted to visit Dora and Michailis on the taverna and meet up with our friends Alida and Auwert who are staying there during winter with their ship.

Delphi December 2019

Driving back to Athens to return the little red rentalcar 🚗 at the beginning of December we decided to stop halfway in Delphi, a fantastic place mostly famous as the seat of Pythia, the oracle of Ancient Greece.

Delphi was considered to be the centre of the world, the navel, and the Oracle took part in many important decisions, including which wars to fight and the founding of new colonies between the 7th century BC until the 4th century AD. A very long time!
In a time and place with exclusively male rulers she was probably the most powerful woman in the classical world.
Cicero noted that no expedition was undertaken, no colony sent out and no affair of any of the important families went on without the sanction of the Oracle.
The Pythia was the name of the High Priestess of the Temple of Apollo and Pythia was also the original name of Delphi according to mythology.
The Pythia was chosen from among the Apollon priestesses and  sometimes there were three women serving as Pythia at the same time!
In the beginning the Pythia was often a young virgin, but after one of them was kidnapped and violated all the chosen women had to be over 50 years old!🙄
There are many theories about the scientific reasons behind the Oracles predictions. She was sitting above a chasm in the earth inhaling the fumes coming from the underground and slipping into semi-unconsciousness.
According to one theory the gases were probably ethylene or methane gas that can cause a kind of trance.
But recently the herb Oleander has also been suggested.
It is very toxic in all its parts and if you chew the leaves or inhale the smoke it can result in symptoms similar to those of epilepsy!
Plutarch said that a Pythias life was always shortened by this service, which might not be so strange if they were constantly inhaling toxic gases 🙄

What happened to Delphi?

In A.D. 393 or 394, the Christian emperor Theodosius outlawed the practice of ancient (pagan) religions, putting an end to the power of the oracle. The temples and statues of Delphi were destroyed!

Christian communities settled in the area and in the 7th century A.D. a new village called Kastri grew up over the ruins of Delphi.

In the 1860s, German archaeologists began the first research into Delphi, and some 30 years later the Greek government granted the French School at Athens permission to conduct excavations at Kastri. But before this could happen the government relocated the Kastri villagers to a new site that they named Delphi. The Kastri houses were demolished and in 1892 the excavations began in earnest and has continued ever since.

The ancient Delphi is now a huge archeological site that occupies the whole slope of Mount Parnassos. The small modern town with the same name lies nearby, and we rented a room in a cozy hotel with a magnificent view over the valley beneath us.

We had a nice evening, celebrating Rein’s birthday in one of the many restaurants in town 🥳🎶 and continued towards Athens the following day.

This is a lovely place that we can really recommend that you visit if you are in Greece💙
And this time of the year it was perfect! We were almost alone among the beautiful ruins and temples…

Christmas 2019

And suddenly we were in the middle of December and Christmas was coming…

Lucia was celebrated with Lussebullar, Glögg and Tomtar on the 13th Dec!
And as usual nowadays we get to celebrate Christmas twice, lucky us! 😀
Swedish Smörgåstårta, yummy!
First the Swedish way, by ourselves on the 24th, and then with a pleasant lunch together with the other liveaboards in the Marina on the 25th.
There are only 9 people here at the moment so it’s a bit different from last year in Licata where I think we were about 30 people on the Christmas dinner!
We are almost alone on our pontoon with a wonderful view overlooking the now snow-covered mountains surrounding the bay and it’s quite cozy huddle inside with the heaters on!
Winter is coming and it’s only about 3 C at night.
Snow on the mountains

On the 29th Dec we went to Lefkas to have a ”fika” with Casper, Steffi and Isolde who were coming from Sweden to visit relatives there❤
And on our way back we stopped for dinner in Preveza were two friends from our time in the Wasa Harbor, Björn and Ann-Charlotte, are staying on their boat!
It’s a small world sometimes…

Happy New Year 2020!

 Nyårstårta! 😀                           Hibiscus 1/1-20!                                       Life under the boat!
The 6 Jan Epiphany (also called Theophania or Fota) is celebrated here in Greece!
It’s the baptism of Jesus Christ by John the Baptist that is celebrated.
In Messolonghi, as in many other places in Greece, there will be a ritual with blessings of the seawater, the priest then throw a Holy cross into the sea whereupon several divers, usually young men, jumps in to the water to retrieve it!
The winner!

Today it was not more than 10 C on land and we have no idea how much it was in the water, but it was very cold for the divers!

But the person who return the cross to the priest will be blessed for the rest of the year so it’s probably worth it!😊
Everybody then returns home, taking Holy Water with them to drink or sprinkle on their property, valuables or whatever (whoever ?) it is you want to bless.
There were so many people along the quayside that we couldn’t see when the boys jumped into the water but we could hear the singing and the blessings and it was also very nice to see all the beautiful costumes!
The blessings and the bright lights (Fota) of Epiphany are also said to chase the mischievous goblins (Kalikantzarois) back to the underground for another year!
Fun fact-A friend told us that while blessing the water by dipping the cross three times in the water a priest in Mykonos managed to catch an octopus!
You can wonder if that’s a good or a bad sign?😏

The Greek Orthodox church

Religion is key part of identity for a lot of Greeks. At a survey 2017  76% of the Greeks were saying that their nationality is defined by Christianity! Followers of Islam, Hellenic paganism, Catholics, atheists an all the others are no more than about 4-5% of the population according to the surveys.
The status of the Orthodox church as the “prevailing religion” might also be based on the role the church played for the preservation of the Greek nation through the years of the Ottoman Empire and in the Greek War of Independence.
The Orthodox priest’s salaries and pensions are paid for by the State at rates comparable to those of teachers and all Greek students in primary and secondary schools in Greece attend Christian Orthodox instruction.
One thing that is different between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church is that  the Orthodox Church allows their priests (Papas) to marry, as long as they do so before their ordination. But only celibate or unmarried priests can become bishops. They are also allowed to divorce but not to remarry, unless they leave the priesthood of course.
A priests wife is called Presbytera, and no, women can not become priests although there is an ongoing discussion about female deacons! Who knows, miracles can happen😉

February 2020

Bustrip to Mount Parnassos and other places…
At the beginning of February it was time for another bustrip with our Greek friends!
We boarded the bus at 7,00 and first we went to Delphi, a place we had visited in December being almost alone there.
But now it was a Sunday in February and there were busloads of people on the main site and in the museum, so we focused on a site with not so many people, a bit further down the slope on the other side of the road instead.
Here lies the temple of Athena, the goddess of wisdom.
Excavations has shown an older cult site at this spot, probably dedicated to Gaia, the goddess of Earth.
After this we had a coffebreak in Itea, a small waterfront town at the Corinthian Gulf with what looks like a nice Marina. Maybe we’ll come here with Hoppetossa!
Then we went uphill to the ski resort Mount Parnassos!
Quite a nice surprise that Greece is not all about sun and beachlife, don’t you think?😃
Skiing has become extremely fashionable in Greece during the past few years. The short ski period, normally from January to mid April, and the fact that Mount Parnassos  is only a two hour drive from Athens result in large crowds during weekends and holidays.  The place is not very big and there are no more than 16 slopes, so during those days the resort is operating at it’s limits. A day pass costs 25 Euro, which is actually quite expensive, but not enough to turn the crowds away.
None of us was actually going to ski though. And our friends seemed mostly interested in throwing snowballs at each other!😁
The weather was perfect, clear and sunny, and it was very nice to walk about in snow for a change! It almost looked and felt like being in Sweden!
But we had a full schedule so soon we were off again.
We had lunch in a small town that I think was Arachova 😏 visited a museum about a local hero and had a tea break in Galaxidi, another lovely small town, that we might visit with Hoppetossa this summer! Puh!
You might think that we would all fall asleep on the bus after this, but then you don’t know these crazy people!
Now it was time for dancing! Even I (Jill) was belly dancing (or at least trying to) in the bus😂🤣
At 23,00 we were back on Hoppetossa! What a day!

Fun fact-The Flour War of Galaxidi

The Carnival Season in Greece ends with the celebration of Clean Monday, the first day of the Greek Orthodox Lent. On that particular day the custom of Alevromoutzouroma (Flour Smudging or Flour Wars) takes place in Galaxidi. The origins are a bit unclear, but one theory is that it started 1801. The residents where then celebrating Carnival, forbidden by the Ottoman rulers that were occupying Greece. Defying the Ottomans, the people of Galaxidi were painting their faces with ash and dancing in the streets!
Nowadays locals and visitors dress up in old clothes and meet at places where flour  with various types of colouring added to it is distributed. Then they march to the harbor and the fight begin! Everybody is throwing flour bombs at each other (and unsuspecting tourists) until they run out of supplies! Then they are dancing with their faces painted white, blue, green and yellow the whole night! Marvelous!😃
The Waterfalls in Nidri
At the end of February it was time to pickup our life raft that had been on service in Lefkas to be checked and stocked with new water, flairs, seasick pills and other essentials. Good to do this even if you wish that you never have to use it!

In the neighborhood lies the beautiful waterfalls of Nidri and we thought this time of the year would be a perfect time for a visit!

In the summer there are usually tourists everywhere, walking, climbing and swimming but now we had the place completely to ourselves!
There is a small outdoor restaurant here but it was of course closed now.
There had been landslides, some of the railings were gone and at one part the walkway had been flushed away so that we had to jump from stone to stone in the river to be able to continue.
But this is such a lovely place that it’s definitely worth a few wet feet!
Ancient Pleuron
One day we took our bikes for a ride to Pleuron about 5 km from Messolonghi
It is the remains of an ancient city built in the 2nd century BC but the inhabitants didn’t stay here long.
For som unknown reason the city was abandoned in the 1st century BC.
Wandering here 2 000 years later you can still see some of the defense wall, that was about 2 km long, with it’s 7 gates and 36 towers. An old market place, a theatre, a large water reservoir, baths and some houses are also visible…
But mostly this is a lovely and peaceful place and now there are thousands of Daisys and other sweetsmelling herbs and flowers everywhere!
Meteora
Before we had to return the rental car we decided to go to Meteora, a place famous for it’s monasteries balancing on  the top of gigantic cliffs. We were very curious about it! Taking the Highway it is a three hour drive from Messolonghi.
Coming closer to Meteora you can already see the fantastic cliffs from far away…
We had booked an Airbnb in Kalambaka, a small town within walking distance from Meteora, and had a lovely, traditional house in the middle of the town all to ourselves! It even had a small fireplace which came in very handy because it was only 4 C outside! The woman who met us told us that the house had belonged to her grandparents who had lived there their whole life.
Kalambaka
We had a nice dinner and a long luxurious bath, the only thing we really miss when we are sailing around!
And the next day we set out for Meteora…..
There are hiking trails everywhere but you can also take your car or the bus if you like.
The rock formations are amazing and really look like something out of a fairy tale!
They are not volcanic plugs, they are made of sandstone and a mix of pebbles, boulders, sand and mud formed about 60 million years ago when the seabed were pushed upward by violent earth movements.
We have never seen anything like it!
On top of these enormous pillars of rock, up to 400 m high, six monasteries are built. Four of them with monks and two with nuns.
Originally there were 24 monasteries full of inhabitants, the first ones built as early as the 14th century, but there are now fewer than ten people in each of the remaining monasteries.
Until about 1920, when steps were being carved into the rock, the only way up was by long removable ladders latched together or large nets that could pull up both goods and people!
In the Verlaam monastery the monks (and the pilgrims who dared) were hoisted 373 m up in a net! Would you dare?
There is a story that a nervous pilgrim asked a monk if they often replaced the ropes.
“Of course we do” said the monk “Whenever they break”. I’m sure the pilgrim was happy with that answer!🙄
This is how the “hoisting up” was done!
We visited three of the six monasteries who besides the incredible view are filled with paintings from floor to ceiling, relics, religious treasures and old manuscripts.
There is a fee of 3 Euro/person in each of the monasteries and you have to be a bit covered up. Women should have a skirt below the knee (even if you have trousers) and you can borrow one when you enter.
The first skirt was too short😀
What a marvelous place!
After this wonderful day we took the long way back, 5 hours on beautiful meandering roads around and sometimes even through the mountains!

Corona comes to Greece

On December 31 2019, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) China office heard the first reports of a previously-unknown virus that was causing a number of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, a city in Eastern China. By the end of January 2020 a lot of the European countries had started to take measurements against the fast spreading disease. Greece reacted quickly- Face masks became obligatory on public transports, in taxis, elevators, hospitals and in shops. People should avoid crowds, so all “unnecessary” shops and places to meet such as restaurants, bars, gyms et. c. closed. All the schools also closed and it was suddenly very quiet in Messolonghi.

And while the Carnival in Italy went on, the Greek Carnival, that should have started the 9/2, was stopped.

In the Marina Mimi had to close his restaurant, where we were often meeting our Greek friends for a Frappé. But the coffee could actually be delivered by a courier on a moped anywhere in the town so at least we could continue with that habit!😊

Dalgona Whipped Coffee vs The Greek Frappe - Dimitras Dishes
Frappé-made with instant coffee, water, ice, skimmed milk and sugar! yummy!

Most of the liveaboards in the Marina had left for their home countries by now so we were only about 9-10 people remaining on our boats. The gates to the Marina were now closed also during daytime and we needed to fill in a form whenever we ventured outside- with name, date and an explanation on what we were going to do. Nobody ever looked at it but we saw that the police sometimes checked cars that came from other provinces.

After a while the two women in the Marina Office disappeared and only one Marinero at a time was staying inside the gates with us.

And on March 11 the WHO officially declared the Covid-19 outbreak a pandemic.

 

Our friends Björn and Ann-Charlotte had recently sold their ship in Preveza and bought a motor home instead. They had now been traveling around the Peloponnesos for a while and came by Messolonghi for a visit. We had time for some nice lunches and dinners together, but at the end of March the government forbid “unnecessary” travelling between the Greek provinces, so they had to hurry back to Preveza while they could.

Thinking back now I am sure that both Rein and me had Corona already in January 2020. It was before the world really started to talk about it so when I came down with fever, headache, chills, aches in various parts of the body and some difficulty breathing I thought it was the ordinary flu. The cat Berlusconi felt that he was needed and came by three days in a row to lay on my chest, purring furiously, keeping me warm! He is real Healer cat!🥰

After about 10 days I was OK again except for an occasional difficulty breathing. Rein didn’t get sick but he noticed some labored breathing when we were walking or biking.

Then we visited our friend Lilian at a time when her garden was full of roses and other lovely flowers.  Nikos commented on the wonderful smell from them, and I couldn’t smell a thing! So based on what we now know, we had Corona and  I’m so very happy that we didn’t infect anybody else. Unfortunately, since this is over a year ago, our antibodies, if we had any, will most likely be gone by now.

Officially Messolonghi didn’t have any cases at all during the first wave.

 

Outdoor exercises with our friends March 2020

Due to Corona restrictions our group of athletes were no longer allowed to practice inside. But since it was permitted for up to 5 people to be together outside that was what we were doing instead. So Leonidas, Nikos, Mirofora, Lilian, Rein and me were regularly going out together. I know, I know! We were 6 people but Lilian and I are so small so I think we can easily pass for Halflings!😉
In the mountains about 6 km from Messolonghi our friends showed us this beautiful place
Another day we set out for Ancient Oiniades, a port town from the 6th century BC, situated at the shores of the river Acheloos, the largest river in Greece.
There is a big outdoor museum at the place where the old town was situated, but due to the virus it was now closed.
We had suspected as much so we just continued on the road for a while….🚙
And about 40 km west of Messolonghi where the river Acheloos ends up in the Ionian Sea, lies Dioni.
A stunning landscape made of sand, shallow lagoons and islands that goes on for miles and miles.
Today we shared the beach only with some cows  🐃 and swans, but in the summer this is a popular place for wind-and kite surfers.

April 2020

We had hoped that we would be able to leave in April but due to the Lockdown that will not happen.

Easter

Meanwhile we are going out for walks with our friends and Anouk and celebrating Easter twice this year🐥🐣

This year the Greek Orthodox Easter, based on the Julian calendar, was one week later than our Gregorian Calendar- based Easter.
This is normally the biggest celebration of the year in Greece but not this time!
On the pictures we are eating a traditional Tsoureki bread with boiled red eggs in the middle. The red color symbolise the blood of Christ.
Our friend Nikos came by with his mothers home baked Easter Cookies- Koulourakia!!
Those of you who are Swedish will notice that the shape is exactly the same as on our traditional Christmas bun-Lussebulle!
Funny to see that we are all mixed up!
Καλό Πάσχα🐏
Ηappy Easter🐇
Glad Påsk🐣
3 June-Leaving
At the end of May everybody were allowed to leave the Marina. We collected our boat papers from the Port Police, payed our TEPAI (the Greek cruising Tax) and early in the morning the 3 June we left…
Now we are on our way to Nidri to get Hoppetossa on the hard and clean her from all the barnacles that has made a home on her hull.
It’s been three years since she was on land so it’s necessary.
We have really loved it here in Messolonghi!
Αντίο dear friends, sweet Anouk and Berlusconi 🐕🐈
We will miss you all so much!💕