So there we were in Skopelos, enjoying a frappe at a cafe in Glossa with an amazing view over the bay. We already knew there weren't any campsites on Skopelos, so we set off down the main (only!) road towards the south of the island with our eyes open for potential places to stay.
Skopelos itself is a beautiful island - like Pelion it is mountainous with green wooded hillsides reaching right down to the sea. We had a look at Neo Klima and Panormos before stopping at Limnonari for lunch. This is an enchanting little bay, with a sandy beach and shallow crystal clear waters. In fact it was so sandy we wondered if the fine sand had been shipped in, most Skopelos beaches being the usual mix of coarse sand and shingle.
There are two tavernas there and a cluster of rental rooms. When we got there the beach was quite busy, but it soon thinned out towards evening. We had a word with one of the taverna owners and he was happy for us to camp in a shady spot outside his place, in return for us eating there in the evening. We had a lovely meal, but were quite shocked by how few people there were - probably no more than 5 tables eating at both tavernas combined. This was a theme we had seen repeated wherever we went on our holiday. OK, it was still only early July, but I can't remember ever seeing so few tourists in Greece at this time of year. Nice for us, but potentially very bad news for the thousands of small businesses that depend on us.
Next morning we couldn't resist a breakfast swim on the beach that was entirely deserted before moving on. Continuing our drive round the island we arrived at Stafilos. The beach is at the bottom of a steep little road and a flight of steps down the cliffside - definitely no options for beachfront camping here! Stafilos itself is a vibrant little beach with plenty of sand, beachfront bars and sun loungers (and music on loudspeakers!). Not really our cup of tea, so we walked on to the far end of the beach.
I have a general rule in Greece that you should always walk to the end of the beach and see what's past the rocks - we weren't disappointed here! Just five minutes from the beach bars was a beautiful wild beach called Velanio. No facilities here, although there was a natural spring of beautiful clear cool drinking water at the far end of the beach. Plenty of space for everyone and - you knew this was coming - a vast area for nudists! Very relaxed and friendly and a fabulous place to spend the day. Just make sure you take a beach umbrella if you go, as there is no shade unti late in the day.
Finally, at the end of the afternoon we rolled on to Skopelos Town. This reminded me of the sort of port towns that you see in the Kyklades. Lots of shops and bars bordering the waterfront, with masses of opportunities to spend your euros in the shops. I was surprised by the quality of items in the souvenir/art/craft shops - not the usual holiday resort tat - but the prices were a bit eye-watering! In Skopelos town we heard the first English voices we had encountered in our holiday, not to mention German, Dutch, French etc. Definitely a nice town, and if you're looking for a bit of life and bustle I would recommend it.
For us, we drove on to the ferry taking us back to the mainland - this time to Agios Konstantinos - to continue our travels. I liked Skopelos very much, but probably next time would go there on foot and rent a car on the island, rather than take a camper.
Arriving in Agios Konstantinos late in the evening, we drove for a couple of hours to get to Delphi. I had been there before many years ago but at that time it was totally submerged in a sea of tourists. This time we wanted to get on site when it first opened in the morning, before the buses arrived from Athens. Even though it was nearly midnight when we arrived, Apollo Camping, a couple of miles from the archaeological site, had stayed open for us and we slotted into our place and plugged in the power - our first night in a proper campsite!
Waking up on the slopes of Mount Parnassos the next morning must rank as one of the standout moments of our holiday. The peace and the views across to the Gulf of Corinth were quite stunning. Even the mundane tasks of having to empty the chemical loo and top up the water tank didn't detract from the beauty of the place we found ourselves in. After a leisurely breakfast we made our way back up the hill and entered the Sanctuary of Apollo just after it opened in the morning.
Many people have written about the archaeological site at Delphi and I won't attempt to add my own superlatives - suffice to say, if you haven't been there before you need to go. It ranks alongside the best that Athens, Rome and Crete have to offer the fan of classical civilisation.
By mid-morning the tour parties were beginning to get rather thick on the ground, so it was back to the camper (beginning to feel like home now!) and on the road again. Next stop was to be Messinia and the Ionian coast for the last few days of our holiday.
To be continued.....