Two days in one today since Monday is becoming our weekly rest day due to me working on Monday mornings each week throughout the trip. We are using these days to find an apartment for two nights, where we can also catch up on clothes washing and just generally relax. We even gave Summer a wash with a hose which was conveniently located on the balcony, so she is looking shiny and extra fluffy at the moment. The only thing we did other than relax yesterday was a quick drive to the valley at the base of Mount Olympus. When we were nearing Leptokarya on the motorway on Sunday we saw a sign which said Mount Olympus at the next junction. We had been enjoying the mountain vista to our right-hand side for the last few miles, and we hadn't realised the highest peak in the middle of the range was none other than the Mount Olympus from Greek mythology. I thought that since we were this close we should probably venture a bit closer, so after work on Monday we drove for 20 minutes to the quaint little village of Litochoro, where there is a dead end road with a small car park for Bythos waterfall. We didn't hike all the way to the waterfall, but the path was well constructed and went right along the side of the valley, giving us great views of the mountains and Mount Olympus itself in the distance. A nice little unplanned bonus for this part of the trip!
As for today, it wasn't a particularly busy day either, with the main task being to drive from Leptokarya to our apartment for the night in Kavala. The drive took us back up to Thessaloniki on the road we had previously driven, and then Eastward across the top part of the Chalkidiki peninsula, with mountains on both sides and a couple of lakes as well. We would of liked to have stayed somewhere in Chalkidiki for a couple of nights but unfortunately we couldn't find any suitable accommodation which accepts dogs and wasn't outside of our budget (it is high season at the moment and most places are fully booked). When we got past this stretch we could see the island of Thasos in the distance as we approached Kavala; another place we would visit if we had time, though Greece is a bit like Italy in that you could spend a lifetime exploring it all properly rather than just catching the highlights like we are on this trip.
Once in Kavala we checked into our apartment which is right in the heart of the old town around the castle; an area which is completely unsuitable for a car like an iX3. After a slightly stressful few moments on the steep and narrow streets, we decided to leave the car at the bottom of the old town near the old aqueduct (see photo) and walk up to the apartment instead. We then had a walk around the port area and along the sea front as the sun was going down, and stopped for dinner at a cafe while the sun was setting. Kavala was really coming to life around 9pm as we went back to put Lucy to bed, with music still blaring from nearby bars as I type this at 11pm. Overall, a lovely little city which was worth the stop for the night.
We had a pleasant surprise today when we stopped for a toilet break at a motorway service station just north of Leptokarya and saw a couple of EV charging bays from a company that hadn't come up in my research called NRG Incharge. Turns out they run the largest network of high speed (50KW+) chargers in Greece; much better than the low powered AC Blink chargers we've been struggling with the last few days. It goes to show just how difficult it can be to find this information online from another country, and I'm also not sure why these chargers aren't part of the BMW Charging scheme. We didn't actually need charge so close to Leptokarya, but we found an NRG Incharge charger near Thessaloniki which was the perfect stop for lunch.
- NRG Incharge charger at Shell petrol station on Lagkada on the outskirts of Thessaloniki. 60KW and €0.50/KW guest rate. They said it would be €0.60KW for a guest but it wasn't in the end when I got an invoice. I tried to sign up but you need a Greek mobile number to do so.
- Blink charger in Kavala port by the bus station building. Says 22KW but only delivering 6KW at €0.50 per/KW. Slow, but this has provided us a good excuse to leave the car there overnight since parking is a nightmare around here!