THASSOS ISLAND – cakes, surf and dishy Greeks all to ourselves, 1976

Thassos Island and Keramoti on the Greek mainland were to be the inspiration for a disturbing incident in my novel THE VANISHING OF RUTH

http://www.amazon.com/THE-VANISHING-RUTH-enthralling-ebook/dp/B0041KL6NA/ref=sr_1_13?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1350512603&sr=1-13&keywords=Janet+MacLeod+Trotter

Ferry to Thassos Island

FRIDAY 15TH OCTOBER, 1976

Boat building

“Got the ferry across to Thassos Island – half hour trip (calmer than Skye crossing).  Fairly cloudly over island.  Landed at small town.  Wandered around streets with Neva and Sally – headed straight for cake shop.  Worked our way through apples, bicuits, pastries too!

Various ruins in town – bits of pillar lying around.  Walked out along front, began to clear.  Saw men sorting their fishing nets and further along there was a timber yard with 3 boats being made – just the skeletons so far.  Lovely smell of freshly treated wood.  Also passed a shed with boy scout emblems on the walls – they get everywhere!  (Boy scouts not walls).

Nosed round small crafty shops, selling clothes, pottery, belts, jewellery etc.  Walked along past ferry landing, sat by the sea.  Met 2 English blokes who had been on Island for 2 or 3 weeks – we were quite an event as most tourists had left by now.  The really fat one said there were no jellies today – I nearly split myself when I saw his flabby belly – a bit incongruous!  They directed us in the direction (good English) of a nearby beach; so we stocked up on more food (a real piggy day!) – bread, toast, honey, cheese, yoghurt – Neva had another cake!

Neva and Sally on Thassos Island

We walked out of the village, up a lovely wooded hill road – great forests covering all the mountains.  Lovely leafy, sunny walk, very quiet and deserted.  Came down to a group of chalets, passed various open air dance floors and bars – everything closed down, so didn’t have to pay, but made our way down to the private beach.  Fantastic breakers, so dashed straight in, whole beach to ourselves (only 1 little man in the distance).  Picturesque island just off the headland – Neva said looked like the Whitsun Islands.  Ate picnic and I snoozed in the sun.

Walking back, a taxi suddenly appeared and a man offered to take us in to the harbour – so got a free lift and reached the ferry in good time.  Met us with Bill and Shirley, Adrian, Chris and Hans.

Coming into Keramoti again – looked like South American swampy village, very flat.  Sally and I wandered around Keramoti – lots of hens and rather shabby plots, though houses were quite gayly painted.

Lovely sunset early evening – played with a football with a little local boy and Adrian – ball kept going into the flooded areas – my white trousers got an even worse coating of grime!

Keramoti beach bar

Most people had a meal out at the nearby bar – took ages to come.  I had 3 small fishes, tomato salad, chips and bread – washed down with plenty Domestica!  Bar filled up with Greeks – eventually we were all dancing.  I went and sat with some Greeks – 2 really dishy.  The Thessalonican medical student was a bit persistent, suggested a swim – eventually escaped saying my husband was waiting for me!  Hid in the bus.  Felt a bit down again – Mark cheered me up.
New girl finally caught up with bus – Mary (New Zealand).”

FUSINA CAMPSITE, VENICE – fog, fleas, foamies and fun! 1976

OFF TO VENICE AND FUSINA CAMPSITE …

SATURDAY 2ND OCTOBER, 1976

“Up early.  Rolled the foamies!!
The foamies are explained in a letter home: “we’re quite efficient at getting up, fed and tents packed etc in 1 and a half hours (up at 6 every travelling day!)  The worst job in the morning is rolling the foamies (that go under our sleeping bags) and squeezing them all in between 2 sets of seats; they are rather temperamental things and tend to spring out and flow into the gangway if not given their due attention.”

Left for Venice.  Good card games at the back.  Scenery of hills, trees and picturesque houses – tunnels etc (hopeless to try and read!)  Then fog descended and saw nothing.

Got to Fusina after lunch – cabins not tents!!  Seems nice campsite but lots of mosquitoes.
My letter home says: “The campsite was really rather luxurious – hot showers and what’s more we managed to book into cabins and so got a bed!  It may have been rather flea infested but it was real high living.”

Run into Venice briefly in afternoon and saw gondolas tied up by canals, lovely bridges; not time to see much else (apart from station).

Evening spent in the bar of camp – Fusina is rather famous for rowdy evenings in the bar because the camp is always full of bus tours!  Graffiti on walls, exuberant barmen etc.  Eventually only Julie, Paul, Mark and me left, retired to bus – few others there.  Sat at back listening to Supertramp.

We’ve had t-shirts designed with Asian Greyhound on – the design is a bus inside a large carafe of wine! ”

More photos on Facebook Page, Overlanders: http://bit.ly/bEVp5V

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This campsite was used as the setting in my novel THE VANISHING OF RUTH to introduce one of the key characters – the charismatic Marcus.