We stayed several days on the beach, south of Thessaloniki on the Aegean coast. We swam in the sea which was great fun as the weather was hot and windy. The magnificent Mount Olympus, topped with swirling grey clouds and snow on its highest peaks, served as an unlikely backdrop to our beach activities.
There were storms in the area and thunder constantly rumbled through the mountains and you could understand why, in days gone by, folk imagined Zeus, Apollo and the other ancient gods talking to each other in thunderous tones on Mount Olympus.
When we said goodbye to our lovely beach, we drove west towards the port of Igoumenitsa where we would take the ferry to Brindisi, Italy. The drive through the mountains was spectacular, although there were so many tunnels that the view was constantly interrupted – some tunnels were over 3k long. There were toll booths every thirty miles or so, charging us more than €5 each time – the whole trip probably cost us €35.
At one point we drove through a violent hail storm which instantly reduced visibility to just a few feet. We had to slow to a crawl and put on our hazard warning lights. The van in front of us actually came to an abrupt halt, which was not the safest manoeuvre in such low visibility. We managed to drive around him and gingerly proceeded. The temperature had dropped from 25° to 15° but ten minutes later the sun was out again. We spotted a pair of motor cyclists sheltering from the deluge under a bridge. They were stripped to their underwear and were hurriedly changing into dry clothes (sorry, no photo!).
We reached Igoumenitsa mid afternoon and purchased our ferry tickets to Italy, €360 including a cabin. The ferry left at midnight and arrived in Brindisi the following morning at 9 am.