Our route today was long, heading south west, back over the mountains and to A. Apostoloi.We were not relishing the thought of driving through the capital of the region, Chalkida and as we got closer, I suddenly realised there could be an alternative route. Problem was, we were leaving the good map of the north of Evia which showed the start of this road being major and re-entering the poor map of the southern parts and on this map, the alternative route looked unsurfaced.We took a chance and it proved a good move, taking us on a very good road to Eretria and thus avoiding the stress of navigating our way through Chalkida.As we neared the coast at Eretria, we stopped for our picnic lunch and Nick wandered off on a call of nature, only to come racing back, saying a snake had just reared it's head and hissed at him!!!!
Naturally, we arrived back at Triantafilia during siesta and no-one was around. Eventually we had to knock Triantafilia up and she explained she had only had two hours sleep last night. We were in the same room as when we had arrived - it was like coming home.We went out for our last meal in Greece to what seemed like the local take away but no pitta bread so it was just skewers and chips once more.
We left the following morning, the plan being to explore the south and catch the ferry from Marmari. This was not to be as by the time we got here, the next ferry wasn't until 18.30 so we decided to head back to Nea Styra and catch the 15.30 ferry. We didn't have time to see Karystos but never mind. We noted that the scenery was much drier and more barren here, lacking in trees after the verdant north.
Back in Nea Styra (by the way,the main route on the map between the Nea Styra.turning and Nea Styra is atrocious. it is better to go into Nea Styra and back out the other exit.)we had time for a drink and drove to the north end of the town and found a collection of pleasant looking tavernas on a nice bit of beach. Here, we whiled away the time, watching the fish at the water's edge and noting the menu looked promising for cooked dishes, being in a more touristy area.But - we had already lunched!
We boarded the ferry and left, once again, bang on time. This time, it was a little busier and it was quite terrifying watching the u turn process (which was not as well organised and more limited in space than the outward ferry)meaning cars were driving straight at us. It was amazing we weren't hit!
This crossing was much warmer and in fact, even hot!
Once we disembarked, we were faced with a series of challenges. Firstly, we had to find our route back to Nea Makri, then we had to find our overnight accommodation in the residential area of Mati.We found Mati but couldn't see street names. Being a dual carraigeway we had to head out and turn back on ourselves so we could drive reasonably slowly through Mati. In the ned, we took the turn to Mati and somehow, we were on the right road. I had exact instructions from there. We finally arrived at Dimitri's house and were welcomed.Our little house was a gem ,fully equipped and had it's own little terrace, Unfortunately, the place obviously hadn't been cleaned since anyone last stayed there and insect droppings and dead insects were dropping from everywhere.I think they had forgotten we were coming until we phoned to give an arrival time. Never mind, we survived for one night. A bad point about this place was that all the streets looked the same and to rejoin the main road, going the direction you needed to go in meant finding the correct street to exit from. There were hardly any places to turn in, either.
Next morning, we had to find our way back to the airport, the quickest route being once again, the service exit. Another miracle occurred, not being able to follow Dimitri's instructions, I suddenly saw a sign for a town I knew we had come through 14 days ago. Aha, this, eventually, took us to somewhere we recognised and lo, we saw the service entrance of the airport on our right. We then spent half an hour finding the departures area, not having driven far enough along the road before. As we parked up outside gate 4, our car hire man came to meet us and collect the car. All he checked was if there was sufficient petrol in it! Phew, we had done it, we'd managed to find the airport, handed the car in and with plenty of time to spare.
Our flight was on time and once again, no complaints regarding Easyjet.
We had a wonderful time on this magnificent island and will most definitely return before long. We know we prefer the northern parts and I also know that in low season, it's worth pre- booking accommodation from home, if there is somewhere that catches your eye,you won't find it cheaper on spec. €25 for a studio was what we paid and €30 with breakfast. Basing ourselves in four main places seemed to work pretty well.Maybe next time we will whizz up the motorway and cross at Glifa to Aghiokambos. There is so much to go at, so many possibilities, I would advise anyone thinking of visiting Evia to have a definite plan, otherwise you could end up travelling all the time.
It's all there, waiting.........