The last couple of weeks we can start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, although really life has really been not too bad on the boat in lockdown. Its amazing how adaptable we human beings are.
We got so used to our little routines in our extended bubble with Jonathan and Dot – Thursday morning art group, Tuesday and Saturday yoga sessions, Tuesday Dot is doing the washing for us in their washing machine, grocery shop once per week, little outings with Lucy for walks, Ice Cream for the kids twice per week, schooling on weekdays in the mornings, having shower days and cleaning days etc.
This last week we have broken our routine with restrictions loosening up in Greece. Both our families rented a car to do some shopping and sight seeing for 3 days and we got some boat work done as well.
On 2 days this week we had a couple of workers incl. one electrician installing wires for fans for our cabins and the salon for the hot summers, some USB charging stations for the cabins and some more plugs to charge devices since we each got a laptop and phone. They have done such a good job and hidden the wires away so well. The fans are such a blessing already. We had a few days where temperatures were up to 30 degrees. They also installed the AIS, wired in the water maker and installed the Inverter for charging devices, replaced a lamp in the kitchen that was broken etc. We had been on the hunt for a washing machine that fits under our bed in the front cabin with not much success. There is a Daewoo Mini, but its not available in Greece. The import tax and VAT would be huge, so we can’t afford that for now. We might get a little mobile camping washing machine for now. The front water tank still needs fixing and the water maker needs the installation of filters and plumbing.
When we had our rental car we went to see the Parthenon, the Acropolis and the Philopappos’ Monument on the Hill of the muses. Everything is still closed, but we could have a walk around and see a bit anyway from the distance. We were the only tourists about. There were only other Greek walkers about. There is a beautiful park with lots of trees and walkways around the Parthenon and the Monument. We had Lucy dog with us as the workers were in the boat, so she had her first proper run in a bigger area since we arrived. I loved those shady old trees and we met 3 Tortoises on our way – so special. Still looking at each one with wonder – although we were told they are quite common here. There were also a few water wells where you could pump water out – welcomed by Lucy with all her fur on. We all got really hot really quick. I can see why Greek people prefer to go walking in the evenings. We have really balmy evenings now and the days are hot (around 30 degrees).
It was so nice to be able to explore those beautiful sighs as a family. I can never stop being amazed how they built those impressive constructions with the little technology they had and that they are still standing – at least partly. Its awe inspiring to think how much life those stones have seen gone by and the changes that happened in the time since they have been built. It would be so interesting to just be able to have a real time glimpse into how life must have been back then.
Tim is the driver with our rental car and I am so proud of him, driving a manual on the “wrong” side of the road in Athens traffic. I would need a whole bottle of rescue remedy if I would have to drive. The traffic is so busy and lots of the roads are tiny and one way, motorbikes are squishing through either way with no helmets on and in short pants and shirts. I can’t help being worried for the motorbike drivers with so little protection, should there be an accident, but it all seems to work out somehow.
I love the beautiful side roads with the planted balconies and terraces and citrus trees lining the roads. There are so many blossoms and flowers around and the smells and buzz returns slowly to the streets. In the evening the streets around the marina are buzzing with walkers and the beaches are packed with people now. Restaurants and Cafe’s are still closed, some are open for take away’s. It means being a bit better prepared as a tourist, as you can’t just lounge in a cafe or trattoria to escape the heat, fill the tummy and use their toilet.
We got quite a bit of shopping done too. We went to Ikea to get some Duvets and Pillows for our beds, some kitchen things like glasses, plates, cutlery etc. We also bought some cushions for the salon and for the deck, Luca got a kettle bell to grow his muscles, I got some yoga blocks and roller – just bits and pieces to make Polly feel more home. We also found a Mini hoover for the boat, which works great to hoover up all Lucy’s dog fur. We also went to have a stock up on groceries – its so nice to be able to put everything in a car, rather than lugging it on your back. Although we also bought one of those granny rolly things, that you can put your shopping on, so that will make it a bit easier for heavy things.
On the last evening of having a rental car we teamed up with Dot and Jonathan to take a drive to the temple of Poseidon outside of Athens. It was so special to leave the busyness of Athens behind and see a bit more of the greek lifestyle and landscape. It felt like our first proper adventure. We drove through a few cute settlements, past many beaches with turquoise water, saw some goats grazing and had a beautiful pick nick with the few to the temple of Poseidon by the sea at sunset. We saw some dolphins down below in the water and tried to picture ourselves down there in our sailing boats.
I also had my first mothers day on the boat and the kids and Tim suprised me with some Gin & Tonic and flowers and cards and we had yummy french toast for breakfast. Nina had her debut as a massage therapist – she gave me a beautiful head and hand massage with essential oils and guided me rather professionally into a meditation. (she might have picked up a thing or two from mama…)
Another couple of highlights were a yummy afternoon tea with apple pie and a dinner party at Johnathan and Dots catamaran. They are such good company and feel almost like family now. Its been so good for all of us to have them around and to be able to share this experience with someone else.
We also had early Christmas happen twice. Our friend and Patreon Peter Jacobs sent us a parcel of some german wine to try, which feels such a treat. Our budget really only allows for cask wine and a beer in small amounts. So to have a real god drop to enjoy felt so special.
Peter Nush and my old penfriend Ute Salmen sent us a parcel with boardgames and a few other bits and pieces which was so kind and thoughtful. We have only 2 cardgames on board and had loaned the scrabble game from Johnathan and Dot so we can play something with the kids. So now there is real variety. Thank you, Thank you!
AND finally our boxes are aboard a ship on its way to Athens and will hopefully be with us at the end of June. There is one one airline going at the moment and we couldn’t afford their charges. So when they arrive it will be like early Christmas and birthdays altogether!
At the moment we are trying to sort out our visa situation. Tim’s Schengen visa runs out soon – he is on a NZ passport and the kids and I have German passports. We are in touch with the different embassies at the moment to try and get a solution, as we can’t leave even if we wanted. The Greek government has unfortunately not released any official regulations for tourists that are stuck, so we know of about 200 kiwis that are stuck here with visa’s running out. Tim has approached the Port Police and they threatened him with a 5,000 Euro fine if we are overstaying…. Let’s keep the fingers crossed we can get a positive solution. There is one immigration office that opens on Monday, so we will try out luck there.
It looks like it will be June before we can sail away – we will just have to wait and see. There seem to be new estimations and guesses every day.’
Thank you for being here on our blog and following our journey. We appreciate your support and interest.
Silke & family