The border crossing was one of the easier ones - I was of
course re-entering the EU, and there was no more need for the carnet.
Insurance, however, was a little more tricky as I discovered when I tried to
buy some at the first decent town I came too - they would only sell it for
Greek registered cars - a slight problem...
was, like Turkey, far newer and shinier than I expected - the towns I was
passing through were smallish provincial towns, but the air of
sophistication and the expensive shops reminded me that I'd been away from
civilisation for too long (and now here I was driving though the very cradle
of civilisation without insurance...)
I'd arrange to call in on Pantelis, who is the moderator
of the Camel Trophy Owners Club forum, and decided to try my luck in Athens,
so after a night in a hotel along the way I arrived in time, appropriately,
This sort of set the tone for the next few days - Pantelis
and his wife Constantia obviously though I needed fattening up, and what I
thought would be a brief stop to say hello ended up as being a marathon of
Greek cuisine and splendid hospitality.
Pantelis arranged for Antonis, a local mechanic, to carry
out the minor repairs that the Camel required - mainly a bent steering rod,
and a general service - but I was so impressed with his work that I stayed
on to get a pair of anti-sway bars fitted. As part of the competition spec
these were omitted - it allows greater movement of the suspension, but means
the ride is a bit like being in a ship with a crosswind. The additions made
a tremendous difference to the handling of the Camel, and I can now drive
comfortably at high(ish) speed.
I was also finally able to organise insurance over the
phone with a Gibraltar insurance company - quite an ordeal, but it's
comforting to be legal again...
Meanwhile Pantelis took me around the Parthenon - very
crowded but it is of course a must-see. I'd decided to be very selective in
my tourism - Greece is full of ancient sites, and I'm supposed to be in
transit. Pantelis has two CT Discos, and helped me sort out a few minor
problems with mine - he's a veritable land Rover encyclopaedia... I also got
to meet Nicos who owns another CT Disco, and who invited my to stop off at
Patras on my way to Italy, which I duly did.
It was a shame to leave such friendly people behind, but I
could feel the call of home, and so I bought my ferry ticket to Ancona,
Italy (€57 for me, €65 for the Camel), and drove aboard the open deck ferry
(which meant of course that I could sleep the night in my roof tent).