So there we were 29th September 2017 preparing for closing up the house in Malona and packing away items for storage for 2018 and refitting #Ambience ready for the 4000 kms 16 day #Roadtrip18 from Malona, Rhodes to Guisborough.
Last year we were due to depart on the 1st October and it turned out to be a bright day, blue sky, dry, warm and windless. This year for the same dates the weather forecast is abysmal with threats or promises of a Medicane – Mediterranean Hurricane at worst and at best probably just a series of Gale Force 10 Storms.
Luckily, this year we are not departing for three weeks but one other compensation of the longer stay is all the roof leaks on #Ambience will have been rectified.
#Ambience has just spent 2 weeks at the local and very good body shop in Malona. Every single joint, seal, vent, cover and aerial has been removed and re-sealed on the roof. Finally, a full “Roof” paint job will have been completed. The 2 large full width doors will also be re-sealed so they will once again be waterproof for the return trip and the wild and very woolly North East of the UK. We had quite a bit of “road spray” finding its way onto the bedding in #Ambience. So now we can have dry sleeping accommodation again.
While #Ambience has also been unlucky to have the gift of a little scuff on the driver’s side rear, it is being attended to so the old girl will be moving towards being pristine once again (and no I don’t mean Jane).
This only leaves one issue for us on #RhodesReturnUK18. Having lost both Smalley and #MiniTheCat - the well-travelled cats, we now have #ManolisTheCat whose longest journey so far is no more than twenty miles. Even six trips to the nearby vet for various treatments, cat passport papers-injections and the sad end to his romantic life by suffering the snip, was accompanied by constant screaming in the cage all the way to and from the vet. So now on his first trans-European voyage we are apprehensive about how best to manage and placate him to make his trip as comfortable as possible. Obviously, we don’t want him stressed for the whole return trip. Jane is already stressed enough for us all.
Three weeks on Sunday (21st October) we will be leaving on the evening ferry from Rhodes to Piraeus (weather permitting). As on previous trips we will be tweeting and publishing photographs of our progress and all the interesting things that can happen on a 4000 km trip. Sadly we don’t have a Flight Tracker but we do have an Anthony (as Jane would say)!
This time we have already ditched from our plans the practice of taking a week’s or even a few day’s supply of fresh food for cooked dinners. In any event, of the first 3 nights, 2 are spent on the overnight ferries so we will eat in the very good Blue Star restaurants and then at Akrata Beach Camping on the 3rd night with our good friend Manolis. Our first cooked meals will be in the “Airs” on the French motorways.
For those of you who ever get to travel by ferry around Greece we suggest you sign up for free with the Blue Star Ferry SeaSmiles Loyalty Points Card. It is really simple and saves money on 2nd and subsequent visits by way of reduced fares but also with on-board discounts. https://www.seasmiles.com/en/
Last time we were at Akrata Beach, it was the UEFA Champions League Final in Kiev with Real Madrid and Liverpool. We ate and watched football with 40 diners from 12 different countries. All of them were supporting Liverpool who sadly lost. https://www.akrata-beach-camping.gr/index.php
Meanwhile, the next 3 weeks are populated with
And in our next blog, we will talk about things to look out for and images to collect en route, the route itself - how we selected it, options, timing, expectations, targets. Also because of the tragic events of the Motorway Bridge Collapse in Genoa how that affects our plans.
It hardly seems like a few weeks ago but it is in fact 13 weeks ago that we set out from Guisborough to Rhodes. Amazingly it has been 13 busy weeks after a fantastic, incident free 2-week trip to get here.
We left almost on schedule on May 12th (6 hours later than planned at 6pm) and spent the first evening alongside the M11 just down the road from Stansted Airport at Bishops Stortford. Both Jane and I have our own businesses and life in business means that even the best laid plans have to be changed from time to time and more of this later.
The downside was that where it had been nice and dry throughout the day, for most of the evening and most of the night it rained with the heaviest rain coming in the mid to late even before we stopped. Consequently, our first night sleeping in #Ambience was cool (almost cold) and damp. As we drove having checked three separate weather information sites, AJ predicted that the rain would stop or slow considerably as we reached the services of the M11 near Stansted. AJ was about 40 minutes out on his timing. After a short meal and hot drinks break we went to sleep.
In the morning it was lovely and dry. The damp was a bit of an issue, so we had to make a few layout changes in #Ambience before setting off for Dover and missing our booked time but took the next ferry.
Catching up with work on the ferry, the inclusive WiFi and slight “luxury” of club class seating and peace and quiet was very welcome. We still had lots of work to do every day so good WiFi was essential.
Leaving Calais, we took the A16 and Jane decided a stop was in order. We took the opportunity to rearrange all the damp but drying items in the cabin of #Ambience. Leaving 15 minutes later Jane declared we should have filled with fuel as we were showing next to no reserve of fuel, but it would be ok as there would be other fuel stops soon enough. On a Sunday afternoon in France - No chance. Finally, as we were trying to decide to stay on or leave the road there was an “Emergency Fuel” option which we took at the last minute. However, in the 1-way refuelling system the hose would not reach so AJ had to turn #Ambience around and go round the wrong way while Jane stopped traffic. Unfortunately, while turning the kerb came off worse losing about 4 kilos of concrete when the strong frame of #Ambience nudged it.
So now slightly off track “Mrs Google” came into her own as we switched her to French taking us a very roundabout way to Maresquel-Ecquemicourt to Maison Nichols. On arrival was a lovely “cuppa” T and some local fruit juice – red or white? We brought the remaining bottle of wine bought at Lidl in France last year with us and proceeded to drain it with ease with our good friends Brian & Plum.
A lovely meal later, we collapsed into bed but not before #MiniTheCat had explored every centimetre of Maison Nichols.
At this point, we had #MiniTheCat in collar and lead so we could get her fresh air and Monday morning was welcomed in with a little lie in. After we dealt with the flurry of Janes B&B Emails the guests at #No27 departed with the swapping of the customary Reviews. The new 2-day old keysafe was working having replaced the one damaged at New Year when keys dropped and stopped the keysafe working.
Then onto a nice lunch at nearby Montreuil sur Mere and a tour of nearby villages and historical war graves followed by a traditional evening dinner a la Francais. Now into a new more relaxed rhythm we prepared to leave next morning for the next 14 days of #RoadTrip18 to Rhodes.
AJ also had a minor and very unusual panic not being able to find our 10 European plug adaptors. Just to put this into perspective, in addition to the ceiling mounted storage cupboards, in the cabin of #Ambience we also had:
All in a space 9 foot by 6 foot. Planning and putting things away is vital – then there is a Jane who operates by NOT putting anything away. God bless her. It’s the little things like where to put a laptop, 3 pads, 3 phones, glasses and keys. Security being a consideration when staying in the French Aires (Roadside parking areas with facilities of varying types, secluded by trees, but relatively unlit).
Having done our first day into France and passing Reims and by now well on the way to Lyon (we found out later) the morning was like waking to the buzzing of bees with all the trucks and refrigerator engines running. The nearby picnic table became an outside kitchen, washing station and breakfast table. The first cuppa … magical, the second even better. 2 hours of peace for AJ while her ladyship slumbered before waking to her constitutional coffee and computer pad (tablet) for mail and her secret pleasure – computer games! Secret till now that is.
In the morning we could see the thunder and lightning in the distance towards Switzerland and fortunately we had avoided most of that and the rain.
Our plans were however immediately changed with severe weather in Southern Switzerland meaning we had to detour south. So, we headed for the Frejus Tunnel via Lyons. We cancelled our stops at Metz, Basel and Zurich.
The first 2 days were quite literally bashing down the motorway before AJ made a fatal mistake and decided to take Jane through the centre of Lyons (again). Fatal because it was the day of the EUFA Europa Cup between Marseille and Athletico Madrid with some 50,000 fans thronging the streets, hundreds of police riot vans and thousands of armed gendarmes. Jane was not amused but we went right past something like 10,000 singing Athletico fans an hour before the kick off, so passions were high.
Our second night was taken at a fabulous Aire adjacent to a lake, surrounded by mountains on all 4 sides and a short distance to Frejus Tunnel and Italy. The images are all on the #Roadtrip18 Images Pages.
A fabulous experience of travelling through the Frejus Tunnel and finally dropping down towards Turin and Milan, passing through other tunnels, clouds, forests, snow and sun started with #MiniTheCat in boisterous mood so a cat collar and lead was used for a walk with the buzzing of the “bees” as background. Unusually AJ was wrapped in about 4 layers to keep warm but it was still glorious.
The Fréjus Road Tunnel is a tunnel that connects France and Italy. It runs under Col du Fréjus in the Cottian Alps between Modane in France and Bardonecchia in Italy. It is one of the major trans-Alpine transport routes between France and Italy being used for 80% of the commercial road traffic.
Construction of the 13 km (8.1 mi) long tunnel started in 1974, and it came into service on 12 July 1980, leading to the closure of the motorail shuttle service in the Fréjus rail tunnel. It cost 2 billion francs (equivalent to €700 million at 2005 prices). It is the tenth longest road tunnel in the world.
The French section is managed by the French company SFTRF, and the Italian section by the Italian firm SITAF. (The French politician Pierre Dumas was chairman of SFTRF from 1962 to 1989). The tunnel can be reached from the Italian side by the A32 Torino-Bardonecchia motorway, or by SS335 from Oulx, which joins SS24 (“del Monginevro”), and reaches Bardonecchia after 20 km. From the French side, it can be reached by the A43 (‘’l’Autoroute de la Maurienne’’) from Lyon and Chambéry. A toll is charged to all traffic. Over 20 million vehicles passed through the tunnel during the first 20 years.
With a stroke of genius, AJ guided Jane off the Italian Motorway after a long day of driving and into a Lakeside town called Sarnico, Lago Iseo, Lombardy. On arrival, we travelled through the narrow streets to the lake front where we met the Italian Caribinieri. AJ waltzed over to ask direction to an overnight Motorhome location. The 2 Caribinieri were superb and in fact you will see us on the photos quite literally being escorted to the Motorhome Park. However, it was closed and despite a few more attempts to find us some options, they finally gave in pointing us to a car park instead. They then stopped the main road traffic to enable us to turn around and go back to it. With a stroke of luck, we stopped on a rarely used car park alongside some sort of factory.
It was ONLY the Riva factory (part of Ferretti) where some of the world’s most prestigious boats are made. They make the luxury lake cruisers used in Venice and most of the European lakes. A little walk followed for AJ who came across a whole series of photo signs now recorded in the #RoadTrip18 images folder of famous clients of Riva.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VJRVE_rjx0 – this little professional video shows the car park where we stopped, adjacent to the trees and close to the first white shed at the start of the You Tube Video.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7KaC7uATbM - review of the Celebrity Buyers.
We made a simple meal, resorted to a little wine and cider before a good sleep. Next day we departed to our new target of Venice where because of changed travel plans we planned a couple of days break. A long drive around the north side of the lagoon led us to Camping Klaus and our first beach visit. Sadly however, AJ received around 100 “mozzy” bites and had a tough few days. We did however sleep very well and start to get rested.
A lazy Sunday was followed by a lake taxi trip to Venice and a few hours taking in the sights and ice cream. Venice is clearly a place you really need a several days, a city centre hotel and a good map. On the way back from the taxi service we stopped at a “local ristorante” and had a great meal and managed 30 minutes charge into the “office systems”.
Next day we had about the only navigation issue as “Mrs Google” couldn’t keep up with direction changes and we missed one turn, so after a 3 minute round the houses we did the directions manually as we skirted around the edge of Venice en-route to Senigallia (South of Rimini). It seemed as if we were making direction changes every few hundred metres which we had also done days prior near Bologna, but we had put that down to preferences chosen to keep us off motorways. Perhaps that was a bad decision which we will not make again.
As we drove, we were passed in the opposite direction by the annual “Mille Miglia” of sports cars en-route to Monaco for the F1 Grand Prix week. We got some images but it all happened so quick the images are not our best work as it included wing mirrors etc …
By now, our lack of “Electrical Input” from mains power was taking effect and we had to ensure maximum efficiency of battery charge into our “Portable Office Systems”. In Camping Klaus (Venice) we went 3 days with zero charging apart from our trip out to Venice. This is what we had to keep charged whilst also running fridge, air conditioning and the vehicle electrics.
Portable Office Systems
With Janes businesses in the UK – Physio Practice and 2 x B&B’s and my business of broking deals internationally 24/7, we operate around the clock for time zones and also for early and late arrivals and departures of B&B guests. Although it had been the weekend, they can often be our busiest days.
The charging and the water seeping into the van were the 2 things we need to sort while in Rhodes as by now this also meant that we were throwing away lots of food bought for the trip. We immediately also agreed a change of plan for catering on all future trips with or without fully functional fridge charging.
Senigallia was chosen for its proximity to Ancona, Italy so we could be sure to be ready for an evening ferry departure with no last-minute issues about arrival times etc. The Motorhome site at Senigallia is just 100 metres from the quiet beach but sadly only 30 feet from the high speed rail-line of East Coast Italy.
#MiniTheCat had issues with this at first literally going crazy and rushing back inside on the lead with every passing “full speed” passenger or freight train that ran day and night. However, strange noises at 2am in the morning were attributed to #MiniTheCat almost strangling herself in the collar/harness which from then on was only put on when she was going on the lead. We suffered a good few slashes from her claws as we rectified the problem but that was a small price to pay to take away the distress for the poor cat. In future we resorted to the harness only when we were taking her outside of #Ambience.
So ready for leaving Italy, we took a drive of about an hour down to Ancona where we had an interesting experience of a very rude German gentleman who took objection to our engine running in the queue while we charged our fridge and technology. Since we were alongside numerous trucks with refrigerators and there were no signs instructing engines to be off we persisted with the engine. Other Germans nearby came over to apologise for him, and that was nice. The real issue was he had set up deck chairs outside his vehicle after we had arrived and he was close to our exhaust. In the open air, we saw no issue but clearly he was having his own bad day and was possibly conscious of #Brexit.
After a very pleasant 26-hour Ferry Trip from Ancona with fantastic A la carte dinner in the restaurant, we docked in Patras and soon found our way out of the second biggest city in Greece on our way to meet up with Manolis & Soula at their wonderful friendly Akrata Beach Camping
Jane was greeted by a group of giggling Greeks hugging the trees to protect them from her previously observed “crashing into trees skills”. (The Spring 2017 Trip to Rhodes single-handed).
We watched the Champions League Cup Final in the “clubhouse” with about 40 other folks from Greece, Germany, Belgium, Hungary, Italy and the Netherlands. Not one of them wanted Real Madrid to win – they were all rooting for Liverpool - but that’s life.
The following day, after breakfast we made our way down to Piraeus (Athens) using the Greek Motorway for the majority of the trip. Traffic was quiet and this followed a fantastic jaunt along the coast of the Gulf of Corinth. Literally 20 feet or so from the “Ocean” for the first 30 miles or so, it was a very leisurely start to our time in Greece this year. One downside was vast piles of waste disposal and rubbish bags by the roadside that clearly hadn’t been collected in months. Sadly, local disputes and cash shortages frequently lead to this sort of thing.
Arriving at the port of Pireas we waited in the tiny ferry queue only to find our ticket had AJ missing from it. We quickly got that fixed.
A fantastic trip out of Piraeus and through the islands was followed by an amazing meal in the Ferry A la Carte Restaurant. 24-hours later arrival in Rhodes followed the ferries quick turnaround stops in Kos and Symi where we also saw disembarking around 40 vehicles en-route from Paris to Peking via all sorts of central European and Asian destinations.
Now in Rhodes we joked we had our second “escort” into town. This followed our Italian experience where we were escorted to a Lakeside Motor Home Campsite by the Caribinieri when AJ approached them for directions. In Rhodes, Ayhan from To Spitaki Restaurant suddenly appeared in front of us to almost look like an official escort. This made the decision for us and so on arrival, we headed straight into Haraki to Bottoms Up Kitchen and Café Bar for breakfast.
So that was it 16 relaxing days door to door with 2 days near Venice and 2 days near Rimini/Senigallia and 1 day in France where we had also taken the opportunity to recall family memories and visit war graves. On our return in October, we will repeat that exercise.
Since we arrived on May the 28th, we have painted the whole external surface of the villa in Malona, the “garden” metal fence and gate, replaced the fencing and on the nearby unused property cut the 5-foot high grasses down to the ground, painted the patio floor and steps. On the business front we have implemented the GDPR processes for the businesses and developed a Patient database for Jane’s Physio practice and revamped all of the business financial recording systems. We have managed to maintain Jane’s B&B at close to 100% for the year and also completed Case Studies on Health products. AJ has also revamped some of his business websites and is working hard on launching new online business platforms during the later part of 2018.
Now September is approaching, we will start the planning and preparations for the return trip. Sadly, we seem to have lost #MiniTheCat who has just disappeared. This was shortly after #ManolisTheCat came along. You can never replace a pet but you can integrate new pets into the family.
In case you didn’t know www.hashdmz/roadtrip18 carries all of the stories from this years “2018 Return to Rhodes” and images from 2017 on the “Return to Guisborough”
Well, thinking these words, I was driven to get a song into the blog so we have 2 “songs” and the football club that comes with this is not the preferred one … it’s the song
Well here we are morning of 12th May 2018 and time to finish last minute loading of #ambience and finish a house clean.
Elsewhere in life, the latest specialist products and services implementation caused quite some difficulties in terms of timing. 4 weeks to deliver a small parcel from the USA via Dublin. Hey, we just coped with it but it meant Jane didn’t leave the practice till 10.30pm, dinner at 10.45pm and asleep by 11.50pm. It will throw our departure time back a few hours but we had allowed for that in the planning.
Packing on the other hand is a nightmare. Think about packing all you want for 6 months including cold and hot travel, plus working your business from another country. Dictionaries, and language books, Aromatherapy products, things for #MiniTheCat and the things and technology you need to run your business and do DIY projects over a 6 month period. Plus food and drink for 2 to 3 weeks travel.
Yes, you are getting the idea ….
Jane, god bless her, has been a “little” star going with the flow and tidying up too, just accepting my need for order and planning and her desire not to!
So, complete with #MiniTheCat here we go #RoadTrip18
Planning the route is another exercise in itself. Certain options need to be ruled in or out. So let us just take a brief look at some of the considerations, before we outline the final route of #RoadTrip18.
Why Drive ? a few points
Experience – can you imagine, that every year you are able to explore the options around the route to Rhodes or the return to Guisborough.
Highly Stressful sped driving or leisurely and relaxing - A route of nearly 4,000 kms including ferries that can either be taken over long driving stints of 12 hours a day at 80kmh or a much more leisurely 4 to 6 hours driving time and covering around 400kms
Necessity – It is vital to have #Ambience in Rhodes for use as a mobile treatment facility. The size of the vehicle fits all the small roads yet provides a decent working space when the Treatment Table left in the house in Malona is returned to #Ambience as for 6 months pf the year #Ambience is a “Non Commercial Vehicle”
Why Not Leave the Van in Rhodes (or somewhere else)
Of course, it could make more sense to fly in around 4 hours but there are other considerations
The “van” is signwritten Ambience and was formerly a UK ambulance. Having been de-commissioned with its wailing sirens, horns and flashing blue lights removed, it was further cleansed by having medical equipment and systems removed. What remains is an Air Conditioned former ambulance that has now done over 350,000 miles.
Fitted with 2 front seats and 3 in the rear along with portable cooking and sleeping equipment also has a fridge catering for 2 or 3 days supply of chilled food.
Of course, it also has the fully functional and purpose made treatment table which each year is left behind in Rhodes and replaced into the van.
& so to The Route
Fundamentally on the most direct routes there are 2 options, through the Swiss Tunnels and down the East Coast of Italy and picking up a Ferry at Ancona or down to Nice and along the Riviera Coast and the West Coast of Italy and crossing to Bari.
We have decided the Ancona Route.
We leave Lingdale at midday (or something like on Saturday 12th May before driving down to the Dover area for a Midday (or earlier) Cross Channel Ferry Sunday 13th May. This means if we are late away or get help up in any traffic all the pressures have been lifted.
On arrival in Calais, we will make the short journey towards Le Touquet & Saint Valery-sur-Somme passing a number of World War 1 Cemeteries along the way. Being the 100 year anniversary of the end of the 1914-1918 World War, we will be stopping to pay our respects and remember family members who fought here and didn’t make it back.
We will stay with friends in a small village nearby and then on the 15th, we will set off towards Reims (15th) and then Metz (16th). We don’t need Hotels so we can travel longer or shorter days as we see fit and as the weather demands.
Our hardest 2 days of driving are ahead here as we make first for Zurich (17th), via Basel and then passing Lucerne and Como into Italy and Milan(18th), where we have allocated a 2/3 day break, rest or flex time to deal with any issues arising.
If time permits, we will then route via Bergamo and Verona to Venice and optionally via Bologna before reaching a trusted Motorhome site near Ancona (21st) again with 2 days to spare.
Departing the 23rd, we will leave Ancona just after midday and arrive the following day around 4pm at Patras on the west side of the Greek Mainland. A short drive to one of Jane’s favourite stops at Akrata Beach Camping (24th) where hopefully, our stay will leave no damaged trees and #Ambience without a severely dented roof as happened on the outward journey last year. We will depart Akrata on the 27th and a short 3 hour drive takes us to Piraeus a late afternoon overnight ferry to Rhodes, stopping at a number of the Greek Islands along the way. Arriving in the morning of the 28th we will drive up to Malona quite possibly via Bottoms Up in Haraki for a little drink.
The port city of Piraeus in Greece lies on the Saronic Gulf in the Attica region of the country and forms part of the Athens urban area, with the centre of Athens located some 12 km from the port. The centre of Piraeus is generally congested with traffic and tends not to be place where tourists would go. The area has many of the facilities you would expect of a non-tourist town: banks, public buildings, pedestrian areas, shopping streets and the like. The area around Zea Marina and Mikrolimano Harbour are perhaps the most attractive part of Piraeus and have a good selection of restaurants, cafes and bars.
Piraeus is Greece's main port and the largest in Europe and the third largest in the world. Unsurprisingly, it is the hub of Greece's maritime industries and the base for its merchant navy. Having recently undergone a refurbishment, facilities at the port have improved and include ATM's, bureau de change, restaurants, cafes, bars and a number of travel agencies selling ferry tickets. destinations served by the port include the island of Crete, the Cyclades Islands, the Dodecanese Islands, the eastern parts of Greece and parts of the northern and eastern Aegean Sea.
Rhodes GuideThe Greek island of Rhodes is the largest of the Dodecanese group of islands and is a popular destination for tourists, especially as it has around 300 days of sunshine every year. The island lies in the eastern Aegean Sea and is to the north of the island of Crete and to the south east of Athens. The island has all the facilities to make it the popular tourist destination that it has become and includes a beautiful coastline and has plenty of culture and a lively nightlife.
The island's main town, Rhodes Town, is very charming and visitors will see enormous medieval fortifications and narrow alleys that are simply full of character. However, the island's beaches are perhaps the biggest attraction and is what makes it so popular. many of the island's beaches are located on the eastern shore and Lindos stands out as offering the best stretch of sand and pebbles and is close to the Megali Paralia.
Rhodes is connected by ferry with daily services to Piraeus, by conventional and high speed boats. During the summer months Rhodes is also connected with the rest of the Dodecanese islands, along with Crete and Cyclades.
Ancona via Wikpedia
Ancona (Italian pronunciation: [aŋˈkoːna] ( listen); Greek: Ἀγκών – Ankon (elbow)) is a city and a seaport in the Marche region in central Italy, with a population of around 101,997 as of 2015. Ancona is the capital of the province of Ancona and of the region. The city is located 280 km (170 mi) northeast of Rome, on the Adriatic Sea, between the slopes of the two extremities of the promontoryof Monte Conero, Monte Astagno and Monte Guasco.
Ancona is one of the main ports on the Adriatic Sea, especially for passenger traffic, and is the main economic and demographic centre of the region.
Patras via Wikpedia
Patras (Greek: Πάτρα Greek: [ˈpatra], Classical Greek and Katharevousa: Πάτραι (pl.), Greek pronunciation: [pátrai̯], Latin: Patrae (pl.)) is Greece's third-largest city and the regional capital of Western Greece, in the northern Peloponnese, 215 km (134 mi) west of Athens. The city is built at the foothills of Mount Panachaikon, overlooking the Gulf of Patras.
Patras has a population of 213,984 (in 2011). The core settlement has a history spanning for four millennia; in the Roman period it had become a cosmopolitan center of the eastern Mediterranean whilst, according to the Christian tradition, it was also the place of Saint Andrew's martyrdom. According to the results of 2011 census, the metropolitan area has a population of 260,308 and extends over an area of 738.87 km2 (285.28 sq mi).
Dubbed as Greece's Gate to the West, Patras is a commercial hub, while its busy port is a nodal point for trade and communication with Italy and the rest of Western Europe. The city has two public universities and one Technological Institute, hosting a large student population and rendering Patras an important scientific centre with a field of excellence in technological education. The Rio-Antirio bridge connects Patras' easternmost suburb of Rio to the town of Antirrio, connecting the Peloponnese peninsula with mainland Greece.
Every year, in February, the city hosts one of Europe's largest carnivals: notable features of the Patras Carnival include its mammoth satirical floats and balls and parades, enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of visitors in a Mediterranean climate. Patras is also famous for supporting an indigenous cultural scene active mainly in the performing arts and modern urban literature. It was European Capital of Culture in 2006.
Piraeus via Wikepedia
Piraeus (/paɪˈriːəs, pɪˈreɪ.əs/; Greek: Πειραιάς Pireás [pireˈas], Ancient Greek: Πειραιεύς, Peiraieús, pronounced [peːrai̯eús]) is a port city in the region of Attica, Greece. Piraeus is located within the Athens urban area, 12 kilometres (7 miles) southwest from its city center (municipality of Athens), and lies along the east coast of the Saronic Gulf.
According to the 2011 census, Piraeus had a population of 163,688 people within its administrative limits, making it the fourth largest municipality in Greece and the second largest within the urban area of the Greek capital, following the municipality of Athens. The municipality of Piraeus and several other suburban municipalities within the regional unit of Piraeus form the greater Piraeus area, with a total population of 448,997.
Piraeus has a long recorded history, dating to ancient Greece. The city was largely developed in the early 5th century BC, when it was selected to serve as the port city of classical Athens and was transformed into a prototype harbour, concentrating all the import and transit trade of Athens. During the Golden Age of Athens the Long Walls were constructed to connect Athens with Piraeus. Consequently, it became the chief harbour of ancient Greece, but declined gradually after the 4th century AD, growing once more in the 19th century, especially after Athens' declaration as the capital of Greece. In the modern era, Piraeus is a large city, bustling with activity and an integral part of Athens, acting as home to the country's biggest harbour and bearing all the characteristics of a huge marine and commercial-industrial centre.
The port of Piraeus is the chief port in Greece, the largest passenger port in Europe and the second largest in the world, servicing about 20 million passengers annually. With a throughput of 1.4 million TEUs, Piraeus is placed among the top ten ports in container traffic in Europe and the top container port in the Eastern Mediterranean. The city hosted events in both the 1896 and 2004 Summer Olympics held in Athens. The University of Piraeus is one of the largest universities in Greece.
Rhodes via Wikpedia
Rhodes (Greek: Ρόδος, Ródos [ˈroðos]) is the largest of the Dodecanese islands of Greece in terms of land area and also the island group's historical capital. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within the Rhodes regional unit, which is part of the South Aegean administrative region. The principal town of the island and seat of the municipality is Rhodes. The city of Rhodes had 50,636 inhabitants in 2011. It is located northeast of Crete, southeast of Athens and just off the Anatolian coast of Turkey. Rhodes' nickname is The island of the Knights, named after the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem, who once conquered the land.
Historically, Rhodes was famous worldwide for the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The Medieval Old Town of the City of Rhodes has been declared a World Heritage Site. Today, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. The name of the U.S. state of Rhode Island is based on these islands.
In itself, everything we do is preparation for the grand schemes of where are we going, how and when.
When it comes to a nearly 4,000 km Road & Ferry Trip “#roadtrip18” then it is a whole new “ball of wax”.
Here are just some of the things we had to consider and or have done since #roadtrip17 and “The Return to Guisborough” on 14th October 2017.
On the home side (Lingdale), a complete and thorough house tidy and reorganisation of maintenance stocks plus on ongoing garden/yard project.
So heading off for a 6-month working holiday is not only very very appealing but very very necessary.
However, by way of preparation for when we return, we already have plans for projects to be done through November & December and into 2019 including another new bathroom, carpets in the practice (ran out of organisational window to complete) and starting a complete repaint of the home at Lingdale. In addition, there are projects for #Ambience and possible swap of the car.
Read more in the coming days of what a 6-month working holiday actually looks like and on a daily basis for #RoadTrip18Blog and images as we make our way accompanied by the well-travelled #MiniTheCat.
Jane & Anthony
We will be recording the highs, lows, problems and funny bits with words and images #RoadTrip18. Something like 4,000 kms including 2 overnight Ferry Crossings with #MiniTheCat. Two weeks on the road. Then on our time in #Rhodes2018 and finally on the #RhodesReturnUK18 starting on 21st October 2018 with a 10 day drive to the UK with #ManolisTheCat