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4. Greece 8

Some lazy years in Greece (5): after our winter stay at home in Nieuwpoort, Spring and Summer 2014 in Greece

 

 

Early spring in Nieuwpoort: looking forwards for our return - a little later - to Greece !

 

 

   

 

 

Slowly the sailing season is starting ...

 

The beach at Nieuwpoort-at-sea

 

 

For the first time since our departure in 2007, we stay this year little longer in Nieuwpoort.

 

 

 

After a very windy winter the resort is getting ready for the touristic season. An annual real make up operation.

On the beach the cabins are being installed. The memory of this although familiar view was little faded, as the last years we were leaving early.

Nieuwpoort, the beach, looking to the NE and the piers

 

 

 

     
 

On a nice early spring-day

     

 

 

     
 

Outlook tower along the river IJzer at sunset

 

Steps to autonomy!

 

Spring in Nieuwpoort ... .

 

On the way to Greece

 

We are mid-May when we leave for Greece: this year no winter landscape, covered with snow, but nice spring weather. Little traffic, only for the passage of the Gotthardtunnel we loose half an hour. Our now little tradional stops between Nieuwpoort and Venice - Sélestat ( F ) and Padova (I) - divide the distance into two practically identical and not tiring routes.

Padova is still attracting us: so we decide also this time to stay a few days more. Much less touristic than Verona and Venice we find in this mid-sized city a pleasant liveliness to which the large number of young people and students is not strange. Padova has the oldest university of Italy ( 1222 ) after Bologna. Artists and erudits were working or staying here. During our two previous visits we could admire masterpieces of Giotto, Donatello and Mantega. Padova evokes the names of Galileo, Tasso and Copernicus.

Strolling by the streets of the old town leads inevitably towards a small church where interesting, or sometimes charming, restorations or renovations make again accessible frescoes of the XIV, XV and XVI centuries. Often we are alone during the visit, and we have a nice welcome by the ticket employee.

 

     
 

Oratorio di San Michele

http://www.latorlonga.it/index.php/oratorio-di-san-michele

http://padovacultura.padovanet.it/it/musei/oratorio-di-san-michele

 

The tower of the Castelvecchio has been transformed during the XVIIIth cent. in a observatory

website and virtual visit:

http://archive.oapd.inaf.it/museo/Pagine/pagine_inglesi/index_en.html

http://www.astro.unipd.it/inglese/specola/specola_en.html

 

 

Every stay has besides the numerous discoveries its supreme moment: during our first visit it was the magnificent Cappella degli Scrovegni whose walls are decorated with 39 frescoes by Giotto, last year we visited the Pietro Bembo exhibition . Each time, we had also a short visit into the Basilico del Santo because the devotion of the pilgrims imploring saint Antony's help, or coming by gratitude, has something moving, surprising, or even amazing!

 

   

 

This time we visit a.o.the antique and secondhand market of the Prato della Valle and the Orto Botanico, the university botanical garden which was established in 1545 and which since 1997 is registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

 

 

 

Prato della Valle is a nice, big, oval shaped garden of the XVIIth century, surrounded by a small canal, bordered by statues of important people.

On every third Sunday of the month the antique and secondhand market goes on on the paths along canal.

And today the central part decorated with poplar trees is taken by a mix of varied and multicolored stalls of associations which present or praise an aspect of their country, region or culture. There are numerous animations and in a big outdoor, improvised restaurant, numerous and varied feasts are prepared.

 
       
   

 

We also discover Loggia e Odeo Cornaro - compulsory guided tour (30') during which we have the exclusivity of the charming guide ... just before hurries up for the next visit a group of very noisy foreign tourists!

 

 

 

In this complex of buildings and courtyards from which only a part remains, for its designer, Alvise Cornaro (1484-1566), the Loggia, was created for theatrical performances while the Odeon was devoted (no pictures) to musical entertainment and learned conversation, so tells us our guide and the the leaflet we got.

http://www.latorlonga.it/index.php/loggia-e-odeo-cornaro

http://www.guidepadova.it/en-gb/Monumenti/Vedi/loggia-and-odeo-cornaro

   

 

We also have our fixed meetings: the impressive Palazzo della Ragione between the Piazza della Frutta and the Piazza delle Erbe. And we go also for dinner to our small charming restaurants, the Antica Osteria Dal Capo and Al Peronio; we also try with satisfaction the modest Al Ricordo - we avoid the restaurants visited by too numerous foreign tourists; the almost exclusive presence of Italian clientele being doubtless a guarantee for more authenticity.

 

But we also like to plan an whole afternoon for strolling by the shopping-streets, not only for looking to the bookshops: the systematic window-shopping made with nice assiduity always makes Kaat finding this wearable swimsuit, shirt or pair of shorts, or this scarf, this blouse, this jumper which cannot be found somewhere else ......

 

 

Visit of the Botanic Garden Hortus Botanicus Patavinus

Our previous visits in Padova: 2012 & 2013

 

Venise, the backside!

 

After a last cappuccino on the terrace of the famous Caffè Pedrocchi, a visit to the Feltrinelli bookshop, and after a delicious salad and fresh strawberries with perfumed lemon juice on Al Peronio's terrace on the Piazza della Frutta, looking to the fruit and vegetable market at the foot of the Palazzo della Ragione, time has come to find our car on the parking of Hotel Maritan and to take the highway to Venice.

 

Within half an hour we reach the terminal of the ferries in Venice, at 20 km from Padova. Four or five very big cruise ships are moored but no trace of the Forza of Anek Lines. At the barrier we are told that the departure of the Anek ferry is no longer in the Port of Venice: we have to go back to the exit for Marghera. It is there, in the industrial and container harbour, that Anek Lines has installed a temporary check-in office. We learn by an Italian customs officer that the reason of the moving is due to the trucks boarding and landing problems during acqua alta, but, as we hear, it is maybe rather due to the high harbour duties which the Port of Venice asks.

With the little clear Google panoramic print and a insignificant explanation text, we got at the barrier of the Venice terminal, during almost one hour, we are looking for the Molo B where the f/b ro-ro Forza must be moored: by a labyrinth of access roads, sheds, small industrial sites, bridges and railroad passages.

Later, in the Anekoffice we are told that the new address was mentioned in the check-in email we had received after our on-line reservation ...

 

You may collect your tickets from the port of departure at the check-in booth or the following port agencies.

Port Office: VENICE Port

ANEK LINES ITALIA SRL
Maghera Port 
ADDRESS: Via Dell Azoto, 30175 Terminal VECON

well, no, ... the very small panels showing the way - hided by numerous other bigger panels - we have not seen them! We would have known it, indeed, it was little stupid of us ...

 

     

 

Hardly before the ferry departure we are nevertheless reassured: not less than five cars arrive with yelling engine on the quay, with roaring tires they turn back in the direction of the office after a huge protest heavily gesticulating, and reappear a few minutes later at the Forza boarding platform which is again lowered ...

It is certain, we did not make an error: of course, this is indeed a ferry for Greece. This boarding chaos to which we attend since 1975, is still very common and long-living!

 

We made a reservation for an outside cabin for this 36 hours long crossing to Patras. The scheduled time of arrival allows us to reach Hortó at the mid-day after a 4 hours ride. We enjoy this restful and entertaining little cruise: sitting in the sun on deck, having a coffee or a drink in the bar, and reading - to this we have taken a varied provision - the new work by Luc Huyse, De democratie voorbij [ Beyond democracy ], Hasard by J.M.G. Le Clézio, an Ian Rankin for the entertainment, on our Reader, some newspapers and weekly magazines.

 

 

   

 

Greece ...

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

The unsettled weather makes the works on the boat and its launching slower than the previous years.

A walk along the old paths organised by the Friends of the Kalderimi on a Sunday morning provides a nice alternative .

 

The day after a big thunderstorm - still an other one ! - is after all the day that the boat can be launched, but after a last, quick but essential rinse.

 

     

 

And the garden, well, after a long and hard work we finally have succeed in cleaning and getting it nice again - the revenge of nature after our too long wintering in Belgium?

 

     

 

 

UPDATE 2014

Due to changes in the Sunsail-offer in Greece the base of Milina-Valthoudi has beeb closed. The pontoons incl. water- and powesupplies and showers have been removed.

The former managers of the base, Andy and Christine, have now started their own chartercompany; they are operating with two boats based in the small harbour of Milina:

A&C Yachting Milina ( http://www.ac-yachtingmilina.com )

At the present time limited water and power supplies only in this small harbour.

 

 

 

Summer ...

 

 

     

21 June 2014

 

 

 

 

Land ...

   

 

 

 

   

... and sea, this is the whole and nice story !

 

 

 

... and then Lena arrived  

 

 

 

When pictures tell more than words !

 

   

 

     
   

 

   

 

 

Due to a software problem the update has been delayed

August in Hortó: diakopes kalokairiou ...

 

 

August 15th is approaching and families are arriving. Easter and the Dormition are the most important celebrations in Greece: this is the time of summer holidays in Greece which for scholars will continue till around the september 8t. For those who own a - family - house near the sea, on one of the numerous islands or in the mountains, a real transhumance gets going: a few years ago most of the towns were nearly deserted but this was before the crisis. Those who still have the financial resources available after the important by the troïka imposed cuts will try to find not only a room in a holiday spot - one of the numerous popular seaside resorts on the mainland or on the islands - for a shorter stay than formerly but above all they will try to forget the worries of a daily live becoming more and more difficult - if not precarious, treatening unemployment around 28% despite the recent governemental declarations.

As far as we can judge the prices of rooms, these remained unchanged if they did not slightly fall or if of enticing promotions are not offered.

Here, the beginning of the tourist season was mediocre sometimes even catastrophic, and many are those who put all their hope in these weeks of holidays in August to compensate for May, for June and July.

Finally it will seem that it is especially the foreign holidaymakers who support the local tourist economy. This is particularly the case in the restaurants where the contribution of the Greek clientele remains modest, an obvious contrast - but how much understandable - with what we noticed during the first years of our return in Greece in 2008 and 2009.

 

 

Dance and music in Hortó during the various festivities of the summer

programme of cultural foundation George Angelinis - Pia Hadjinikou and on

the 7th of september, the village fair.

 

 

 

   
     
   
     
     

This year also we could appreciate the recital given by Christos Kanettis - strongly estmated master and professeur of the Summer masterclass violin and chamber music, like the previous years part of the program by the cultural foundation George Angelinis - Pia Hadjinikou in Horto.

An other very nice in the Open-air theater of Hortó was dedicated to Manos Hadjidakis by the Vocal Expression Group of the University of Thessaly.

 
 

Melina Mercuri Evocation in the Open-air Theater

 

Horto Open-air Theater

Giorgos Hadjinikos conducting the Larissa Symphonic Orchestra

http://georgehadjinikos.blogspot.gr/

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But the Weel of Time is turning ... inexorably

 

   

 

 

 

   

Removing and towing the mooring.

 

Hortó

Click on the picture to enlarge

 

 

Back home ...

 

 

The f/b Audacia from Anek Lines is sailing along the Albanian coast and is giving way to a small fishing boat according the COLREG

 

The f/b Audacia is approaching the new ferry haven in the Venice lagoon: Terminal Fusina Ferries

Click on the picture to enlarge

 

... by Menton (F)

 

   

The Menton-Garavan marina where we have wintered in 2007-2008

 

Menton, the old city, and on the foreground the new Musée Jean Cocteau

 

Walk to cape Martin

Click on the picture to enlarge

 

From Venetië we reach Menton (F) where we will meet our friends Marise and Rinaldo just back from Leros, and Michel.

The last time we have met Marise and Rinaldo was at Lefkas in 2011. This year they have sailed their beautiful Amel from Lefkas to Venice and back to Leros. We have visited Michel a last time in autumn 2010.

The reunion is very heartly: a warm friendship. We have so mutch to tell to each other!

We stay three days in Menton. We have very nice memories of our pleasant wintering in 2007-2008.

And then Michel and Edmée - his sympathetic partner after his very nice wife died - invite us to go with them to their new house in the hinterland of Nice.

 

   
 

Walk with Michel and Edmée in the Vésubie: up to the col ( =pass) de la Colmiane. Free grazing horses and cows force us to make some detours during the descent.

 

Click on the picture to enlarge

 

   

Visiting the Parc animalier Alpha: an encounter with the in the Mercantour free living wolves, in the park fed and if needed tended.

 

Walk to the Col des Cinq lacs. On the picture on the right: Kaat and Michel at the pass, height 2400m.

Click on the picture to enlarge

 

Three days later we start the real way back home: by the A7/A6 motorway to Nuit-Saint-Georges and the next day by Reims and Calais to Nieuwpoort!

 

... Nieuwpoort

       
   

Nieuwpoort, the river IJzer at sunset

   

Click on the picture to enlarge

Click here to continue the voyage, Greece 4.9: Spring 2015. Ep13

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Updated 22-jun-15
   
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