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Florin (Gisela's nephew) and his girlfriend Michelle visited us on board, for 10 days. For this time they had a rental car, which was very convenient, because we could not sail, the engine is not ready yet.

So we made many nice shore excursions in the region, there are really enough interesting things to see.

Oiniades, the ancient city with huge city walls, theater, agora and - probably unique - an ancient shipyard, is now located several kilometers from the coast, the water level of the sea was more than 10m higher in ancient times. The city is located in the delta of the Acheloos River, which is partly responsible for the great fertility of this area: vegetables, fruit, olives, wine, cotton and much more is grown here. Just before the mouth in a fascinating water landscape small very poor fishing villages on the edge of the large Petala Bay, which is a popular and very sheltered place for sailors to anchor.

Astakos is located on the Ionian Sea, an hour's drive from Messolonghi through a wild landscape. An idyllic little harbor from which ferries leave for Kefalonia and the Odysseus island of Ithaca. And a beautiful coastline with rocks and small fine pebble beaches, crystal clear turquoise water in the bays.

Tourlida is the beach of Messolonghi, here we were more often, also in the evening for dinner, you have directly the Gulf of Patras in front of you, with sandy beach and beautiful view, inside you can visit the salt mining in the lagoon and the salt museum.

Kryoneri, a small fishing village, is located at the foot of our local mountain, Varasova. Just before it the second river that makes the land so fertile: the Evinos. In Kryoneri, the Varasova with its enormous rock walls drops vertically into the sea, which is very shallow directly in front of it, a nice beach for swimming - if it is not stormy, as it was during our visit.

We experienced a gigantic rock landscape on the Peloponnese, on the trip with a rack railroad from Diakopto, east of Patras, into the mountains. A narrow gauge railroad, steep gorges, partly through canyons, going down vertical rock faces on the left, right next to the tracks, and up vertical rock faces on the right, incredibly impressive. Up in Kalavryta, also impressive, but unfortunately quite different: Here the Nazis murdered all 511 male inhabitants of the village in December 1943, in partisan warfare. A plaque commemorates a total of 104 places in Greece where the Wehrmacht committed massacres. The church clock stands at half past two since that day when the massacre took place.

Today Kalavryta is the starting point for a ski resort a few kilometers away.

And here is the video, we made from our trip with the rack railroad.

Not only our guests, we also got to know many beautiful old and new places and learned again a lot about this beautiful and interesting region. Now we are getting used again to live on our boat just the two of us.

Ancient Plevrona, also called Pleuron, was located on a hill a little northwest of Messolonghi, in the area of Aetolioarkania, a region that had great importance in ancient times. The name comes from Pleuron, the son of Aitolos, who gave his name to the region. In the Iliad it is mentioned that the city provided 40 ships for the Trojan War. (7th/8th century B.C., Mycenaean period). Plevrona also had a port down by the lagoon with its own fortifications.

The region of Aetolia-Arcania is not known to many, although it has a lot of important ancient sites, including the city of Oiniades with a huge city wall, an incredibly well preserved ancient shipyard and a beautiful theater.

Initiatives have been formed to promote these (and more recent) cultural treasures and local features to a wider audience and to promote them in an ecologically-sustainable way, for example "Messolonghi by locals" (www.messolonghibylocals.com) . They also provide guides who show the ancient sites with great competence, knowledge and broad horizons and organize tours.

Ancient Plevrona was destroyed and rebuilt on a hill north of it on a much larger scale in the third century BC, 10,000 people lived here - Mycenae, so famous today, was not much larger.

The city wall made of huge ashlar-shaped stones is 2km long and has 11 gates and 36 square towers. The city plan with theater, temples, agora, baths and stadium/gymnasion corresponds to the classical Greek system. Especially well preserved is the huge water supply system: There was no water inside the walls, it was piped in from a spring outside, distributed there into various pipes and kept ready in a huge reservoir (33x22m) built directly into the rock.

What you can also see and experience in an impressive way: the excavation and uncovering of the ancient walls and objects is a real Sisyphean task that lasts for years; archaeologists are at work to make more and more ancient treasures accessible to the visitors. And this is true for numerous ancient sites in Greece.  

Apart from the archaeologists at Plevrona, the only other creature we encountered on the huge site was a turtle.

Cooling system and Turbo removed

First the journey to the boat, delayed by almost three month because of Corona, then after a month the return trip to Heidelberg, so that Walter's heart could receive the necessary treatment, and now after the two-month intermezzo at home back on board. First again waiting for the longed for mechanic for our engine cooling. Now he was there and opened the cooling system. Corrosion! And not too scarce. And the turbo doesn't work anymore. Now he unscrewed all affected parts and took them to Patras. Yesterday we learned that not all parts can be repaired. So we also need new parts. But where to get them? Our Nanni Turbo Diesel is not often found in Greece and there is no representation or outfitter for Nanni. The parts have to be ordered - wherever. And that can take up to a month, the mechanic tells us. Apart from the strain on our wallets, we now have to finally give up our plan to be in Poros towards the end of September to take Michelle and Florin on board. We can only offer them a "houseboat" for the planned period. 😢

Fortunately, we are here in Messolonghi in a nice, pleasant place. Here we know some people. In the meantime we are also mobile with our bicycles. And we always have beautiful views from our boat (in the photo, for example, the sunrise). 

So for us it means: wait, take care of the boat, take care of ourselves and stay confident, that we will still get to sail this year.

Foto: >CFalk/pixelio.de

Mikis Theodorakis and his songs were with us for quite a bit of our student years, so we received the news of his death with great sadness. He died at 96 and is buried near Chania, Crete.

Mikis was not only a composer, he was a fighter for freedom and social justice, already in the resistance against the Nazis. Later, in the 1960s to the mid-seventies, there were still military dictatorships in Europe with conditions like today in Belarus, who remembers? In Greece Papadopoulos, in Portugal Salazar, in Spain Franco. Mikis Theodorakis actively fought the military dictatorship in his country, politically - and with songs, for which he went to prison and was tortured, under the Nazis and also later in the sixties. His songs were very popular in the political West Germany of the student movement and also later, we all heard them in the seventies.

He became world famous as early as 1964 with the film music for "Zorba the Greek", in Germany it had the title "Alexis Sorbas", to which Anthony Quinn and Alan Bates danced in the film - Sirtaki. The female lead role: Irene Papas. The film impressively embodies the Greek attitude to life. But Mikis also wrote the music for political films directed against military dictatorships, "Z" and "Phaedra".

He wrote over 2000 pieces, even some of them operas, that are still performed today.

He and his music were part of our political culture at the time, and we are still grateful to him for that. 

Now we are also mobile on land. That fits well, because we are still waiting for the mechanic from Patras to repair our the cooling of our engine.😒 Two folding bikes are now part of our equipment, which is always on board. 

In Messolonghi at Houtas Bike we ordered them, after three days they were there, cost much less than in Germany. They are not e-bikes.😂 The service in this bike store is great, we could observe when our bikes were bolted together. So if someone ever comes to Messolonghi and needs a bike .... 

Now we are quickly in town for shopping and can make trips. This is especially good in this waiting time and lifts the mood. In the meantime we already drove along the lagoon and looked for the water birds. Yesterday we were in Tourlida at the gulf of Patras. There you can not only swim nicely and look at the Peleponnes. There is also a nice restaurant where you can eat good fish and mussels. 

Mobile on land is nice. Nevertheless, we hope that very soon we can be mobile at sea again, especially under sails.

Since August 24th we are back on board. Walter's small heart surgery has brought the hoped-for result: no more atrial fibrillation. Toi, toi, toi that it stays like this! So it was a good decision to fly home at the end of June. And for another reason we were glad to be in Heidelberg for the last two months. So we didn't experience the extreme heat and the many fires in Greece. Fortunately the region around Messolonghi was not affected by fires.

Now there is still some work to be done on board. For example, we tried to remove a bird's nest from the main boom. This also explained why we found the cockpit totally crapped despite the protective cover. Fortunately, the young birds had already flown out when we discovered the nest. We didn't quite get it out of the main boom. The rest will maybe fly around our ears while sailing.

Unfortunately, we can't sail right away, because the cooling system of our engine still has to be repaired. In May, when we found this out and knew that we can't fix it by ourselves, the mechanic from Patras who was recommended to us didn't have time for weeks. At least he has already looked at the damage and has now promised us for the coming weekend. We hope for him.

And what else do we do? Have a chat with other sailors, go swimming directly from the boat, enjoy the cooling temperatures in the evening, look out of the cockpit into the starry sky ...

On 19 June we flew from Preveza/ Lefkas to Frankfurt/M, then by train to Heidelberg. Actually, we had often thought about escaping the particularly hot time in Greece in July and August. And now it was a good time: Walter's atrial fibrillation hasn't improved, and we didn't want to risk postponing the small, now necessary operation until November. 

It's funny, of course, that it's currently hotter (and muggier) in Heidelberg than in Greece, 28 degrees and a fresh wind from the sea.......in Heidelberg 35. But we know that the summerheat in Greece is yet to come. 

Our jetty neighbours (from Heidelberg! The world is a village!) also had to go to Preveza and so, thankfully, we were able to travel comfortably in their car, 100km through this incredibly wild and beautiful coastal landscape on the edge of the Ionian Sea. A whole airport full of sailors: Preveza serves the whole Ionian Islands (except Corfu), there are also a lot of charter companies and thousands of boats here.

Now we are back home - we will enjoy the summer, go on excursions, visit friends, which was not possible because of Corona for a long time, sit comfortably in the beer garden - and at the end of August/beginning of September we will set off again, then probably from Messolonghi towards Crete …