And so we arrived in Messolonghi( or Missolonghi) our home for the winter! And our first glimpse was very promising!
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😀
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.
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
A bustrip to Kastoria and other places late Oct 2019
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!
“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
Back in Greece
Delphi December 2019
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.
Happy New Year 2020!
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!
The Greek Orthodox church
Fun fact-The Flour War of Galaxidi
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!
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!😊
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
We had hoped that we would be able to leave in April but due to the Lockdown that will not happen.
Meanwhile we are going out for walks with our friends and Anouk and celebrating Easter twice this year🐥🐣