With Svein having finished the painting on Escapade we packed our bags and headed for Kos airport for the start of our journey to Norway. We flew Kos-Athens-Copenhagen-Oslo. We have never seen Athens airport so crowded and were lucky to catch the connection as the queues for security were horrendous. After several hours we landed safely as were met by Svein’s brother No 2, Erling, who drove us to his house. We were very lucky with the weather as we seemed to have brought the sun with us and we were able to sit out and enjoy the garden
After a couple of night there we then drove into Oslo and caught the train to Sandefjord where we stayed with our friend Leif and Anna. Again the sun was with us and we were able to revisit the town where we had previously lived before we sailed to Denmark. We were able to catch up with friends and even took a train to Drammen to visit old working colleagues. Caryn spent several hours with her friend Anne Merete buying alpaca wool to keep her busy through the winter.
Back in Sandefjord we explored the town and met up with our good friends Mariann and Bjorn who kindly invited us to dinner where were able to enjoy the view of the fjord from the balcony.
We spotted several changes in the town not least a bicycle hotel near the railway station!
and a cute little fountain
It was already time to move on so we took a plane to Trondheim where we collected a rental car that we would keep for the rest of our stay. We started heading North and our first stop was Grong (to see Svein’s mother). After an overnight stop we continued North heading for Bodo (taking Svein’s mother with us). A long journey of over 7 hours so several pitstops were called for including a famous salmon fishing river and the “Salt Mountains” as well as a short stop Mo i Rana to see brother No 4 (Bjorn Tore). Again we were lucky with the weather but encountered snow along the way (remember we are now the middle of June).
We continued North crossed the Artic Circle (this time on land). We had to stop and visit the museum/shop which is full of stuffed animals indigenous to the area and where we purchased tee-shirts proving we had crossed the Circle.
We continued on our way and reached Bodo (the furthest North Caryn had been in Norway) were we stayed with brother no 3 (Jan Ove and his wife Kate). Our aim in coming this far North was to assist at a D.D.E. concert. The group hails from Namsos (Svein’s home town) and although Svein had been to many of their concerts Caryn had not. We drove into Bodo and collected our complimentary tickets and made our way to the town square. It was quite a show
After the show we went backstage and met up with the band who we had last seen in 1999.
The next day we had to move on as we had an appointment in Jetkvik for the confirmation of one of Svein’s many grandchildren. Several hours later we arrived having driven past the famous “Black Ice Glacier”
Again the good weather followed us as we were able to enjoy the confirmation day in splendid sunshine.
A few more days in this beautiful area where Svein took the grandchildren fishing and they came back with an enormous cod caught right outside the “back door” whilst the ladies knitted on the balcony in the sunshine
We finished the visit with a BBQ to celebrate 23rd June “Sant Hans Evening” (the shortest night) although in this region there is no night at this time of the year
Another visit had drawn to a close and it was time to move on. This time we were travelling to the family cabin by Tunnsjo lake to help Erling build an extension. We dropped Svein’s mum off in Grong and travelled to the cabin where we were awaited. This time the weather was not so kind to us and temperatures had fallen drastically (10C) and it was raining. However we were treated to dinner of freshly caught salmon trout which did much to improve the mood.
The next day everyone got down to work to build the extension (the full range of photos is in the picture gallery).
Svein had some help at the beginning and at the end but most of the work he did alone over the week that we stayed there. We were lucky to be able to fish and enjoyed several delicious meals cooked on the BBQ.
Whilst we were in the cabin we received the news that Caryn’s mother had died so we then had the dilemma of deciding whether we returned to Greece as planned and leave again straightaway to attend the funeral or did we alter our travel plans and go straight to the UK. As we were uncertain of what was happening precisely in Greece we took the option of altering our travel plans and flying directly to the UK from Norway.
We travelled back to Trondheim and delivered the car (in which we had travelled 2000 km!) and flew directly to Heathrow where Caryn’s sister met us to take us to the hotel. She had done most of the official paperwork so it only remained to clear her belongings from the Care Home and arrange for the items we were keeping to be shipped to France to Caryn’s son. We also had to buy some suitable clothes as we only had our holiday clothes with us.
The religious ceremony was followed by a cremation and the ashes will be laid to rest in the family plot in Ireland later in the year.
It was now time for us to return to Greece and Escapade. We flew from Gatwick (another airport to add to the many we had seen on this trip) and landed in Kos late at night. We drove to the marina and spent the night on board. The next day Svein arranged for the launch
We anchored briefly outside the marina before making our way to the town harbour for the night as we intended to stock up before we started our sailing season. A short dip in the sea – the first of the year – before heading for the town harbour.
Once stocked up we reacquainted ourselves with our favourite restaurants before heading off to Nisyros – our first port of call. Here we were welcomed with open arms and now 3 weeks later we are finally going to move on. We have assisted at a festival in a monastery we had not been to before and birthday party and Svein has helped our friends on the island with antifouling a boat, repairing a car and also helping out fellow sailors who had various problems. Caryn has enjoyed the beach, the sun and the new sun loungers as well as the warm waters to swim in.
We received a phone call from our friends Per and Elly asking if they could join us for a few days. We decided to meet up in Pedi Bay (Symi island) and so we said our goodbyes and headed south. It took us 5 hours to reach our destination and we were safely anchored in the bay. We had a celebration dinner on board as it was the first time in 3 weeks that eaten on the boat!!!!
It was fun and games watching the other boats who either dragged or came very close to us as none had checked if their anchors were holding properly. Fortunately the winds were kind to us so no harm was done as we were extremely anxious about our new paintwork. A few photos of Escapade in the water really shows the difference.
We also experienced the usual spectacular sunrises whilst we were waiting for our guests to arrive
Once Per and Elly were on board we weighed anchor and intending heading for Tilos but with strong head winds and bumpy seas we altered course for Alumnia (a small deserted island between Rhodes and Chalki). There were only two other boats in the bay and we had to guess our depth as the chart plotter had decided to die on us as we were leaving Pedi. Here we managed to catch a sunset
After a night at anchor and several swims later we decided to head over to Chalki. We managed to berth on the outside of the quay where there is 20 metres! A walk round the harbour and an ice cream was in order together with several good meals in the different restaurants. We were also able to add to our collection of small trinkets to take to France as presents as we found special soaps made with olive oil and goat’s milk.
It was time for Per and Elly to leave us and they caught the night ferry that originated in Crete and took them into Rhodes town. It was a fun break hopefully enjoyed by everyon . The next morning we left Chalki and headed for the next island Tilos. Here we anchored in the bay and had a few relaxing days swimming and eating.
Svein, on one of his trips ashore, discovered that there was a special bus taking people up to Micro Choria in the evening so we decided to join it . We duly boarded the bus and it took us on an adventure. As it was the 14th August there was the annual celebration of the Assumption and it to be held in a church in a deserted village. This was reached by a dirt track which the small bus duly navigated although we had our hearts in our mouths. The village was abandoned after World War II when the population moved down to Livadia on the shore. It was a spectacular sight with crumbling houses built into the mountain.
We returned early to the boat as we did not fancy the drive in the dark!
Whilst at anchor Svein got to work on our depth problem and after consulting all the manuals for the instruments he managed to rewire everything so that now our instrument panel works and we have a depth reading again.
It was nearly time to return to Kos marina so with one more night left we left Tilos and headed for Kardamena. Here again we were lucky and got a place on the quay. We were able to catch up with Andy and Carole and also Franck over a very good meal.
The next day we headed for Kos marina and once safely at quay on Pontoon B Caryn started the chores that needed to be done before our departure on 21st. Several washing loads later and with Svein busy organising the new computer we are nearly ready for our departure for Dubrovnik and France. We are taking a catamaran from Dubrovnik to France for a friend and will then stay to visit family and friends as it is 3 years since we have last been back.
We have been well entertained in the marina as there is a super yacht with a helicopter on board and we have actually seen it take off and land. We have found both the marina and harbour very empty of boats and are wondering if this is down to the refugee problem which is causing considerable damage to the businesses in the town. There seems to be a deliberate choice to deal with the Syrian refugees (who have papers) and leave the others on the island as they are without and the island is not structured to cope with the influx. We shall just have to wait and see to eventual outcome.
More from us after our trip which we will document in the next blog.