Continuing on from where I left off describing our Tour du Péloponnèse, we left the Temple of Epikourios Apollo, 1131m up in the Arcadian mountains, for a 70km drive down the mountains and back up to the village of Dimitsana, where we would spend one more night with the team. After some aforementioned mechanical troubles, as well as some ominous clouds, we were a little bit anxious as we set off, but we only had to make two stops, and zoomed through the regularity test section with precision.
Our first stop was an unplanned encounter in the village of Andritsaina where we encountered two massive trucks attempting to navigate the narrow village streets. Miraculously there was just enough space for us to manoeuvre in and let them past, but it would not have been a good place for the car to decide it didn’t feel like starting. Had Pierre (the 1965 Panhard 24BT we were driving) been just a little wider, we might have had a not-so-amusing adventure.
The second stop was also an interesting one – we met an ostrich. We were actually stopping for fuel, but the guy who owned the service station also kept an ostrich (‘Why?’ ‘For the eggs. They’re 2 kilos each.’ ‘Oh. What do you do with them?’ ‘We eat them.’ ‘….’) While giving Pierre a little bit of love, in the form of WD-40, we also met up with the Italian contingent of the tour – Enzo in his Fiat 850 Spider and Rosita and Antonella in their Porsche 356. Lovely cars and lovely people. They left us in the dust, of course, but we did make it home to Dimitsana where a lovely dinner with the group was waiting. During the evening, somehow Pierre was resuscitated and we were on track for another day of adventure.
The second full day of the tour began with clearer skies than the day before, ideal for just a little bit of exploration on our way from our hotel down to the ‘Parc Fermé’ where the cars spent the night. The village looked even more lovely in the morning light. (Spot the Alfa and the Porsche ‘blending in’ in their village habitat!)
We took in that incredible view while setting up for the day – our first stop would be Mystras, the Byzantine capital of the Peleponnese, and then onward to Monemvasia where we would spend the night. We also got the chance to check out the rest of the cars.
Descending through the mountains, we followed the cars that had set off before us, and passed through villages where locals stopped to stare, open-mouthed (and many waved!).
We stopped at one point for more fuel, as well as a sneaky cheese pie, and were reassured to find a number of our team members passing through at the same time. The whole adventure was much more fun when we weren’t left behind on a mountain side waiting for a mechanic. Lots more camraderie – and everyone cheered when we arrived, as the Panhard was definitely the underdog.
As we approached Mystras, the weather threatened and Pierre complained.. Did we make it? Stay tuned for the next installment..!