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To the island of Kassandra

Home -> Europe -> Greece -> Travelogue Greece -> 26 to 29 May 2016

Thursday 26 May, to the island of Kassandra

We have a long vacation ahead. Because we have to leave early we stay one night in hotel Zwanenburg in the vicinity of the airport Schiphol where we also can leave the car for a few weeks. We arrive at Schiphol Airport well in time where we have breakfast and then we are on our way to the gate. We have some delay but by 3.30 in the afternoon we have landed in Thessaloniki. It takes a while before we get the rental car because there is only one employee who has to help everyone (2 people before us). The Hyundai I10 is creaky and a lot less luxurious than what we had last year but you won't hear us complain, it was also very cheap (€ 485 for 4 weeks without excess).
View from our balcony in Paralia DionisiouOnce we are in the car, we quickly arrive at the place of our first destination, Paralia (that means beach) Dionysiou and we are warmly welcomed by Michael and his wife Vassiliki at the Palms Apartments. Once we have put our luggage in the spacious room (and especially a very spacious balcony) we walk into the village, towards the beach. It is less than 100 meters away and when we are there, we realize that we have to go back to the apartment quickly to collect our swimming clothes. It is very nice weather so a few minutes later we are lying in the sun on the beach. After that we take a walk through the village and a fresh orange juice on a terrace by the sea. A good start to the holiday!

Friday 27 May 2016, and the following days, we explore Kassandra

How nice it is to wake up with the sun shining into the room and a nice temperature when we step onto the balcony. Today we start quietly, first have breakfast on the balcony and an extensive chat with the owners of the apartment. Then we get on the car on the way to Kassandra. We are in the province of Chalkidiki that has the shape of the palm of a hand with 3 fingers: Kassandra is an island and Sithonia and Athos are peninsulas that all point south. We have programmed the navigation but the battery quickly is dead. As it turns out, the adapter does not make good contact with the cigarette lighter and does not want to recharge. So we have to do without navigation but I now realise how much I depend on it, so it takes a while getting used to it in the beginning. Luckily I also like to look at maps. Now I have to, because the roads and the signs along the road are not always clear here. But it is easy to do, driving independent of technology. It helps that I buy a good map of the region at a gasstation. And if we see a road that appeals to us we drive in that way anyway, we did that with the navigation also.
The canal to Kassandra Beach at Nea Potidea on KassandraKassandra is an island because it is cut off from the mainland by a canal over which a bridge runs, the only access road. From there we first go to the southwest and then from town to town. The island is very touristy, there are many large hotels and tourist complexes and the villages are not as nice as we have seen them on Corfu last year. But the nature is beautiful and the coasts are great. We start in Nea Potidea, the village just over the bridge to Kassandra.
The port of Nea Potidea, Kassandra St. George church in Nea PotideaNea Potidea is the gateway to Kassandra and we first drive all the way along the canal that looks almost Dutch. There is of course a harbor like in almost every coastal village in Greece. In 600 BC. the Corinthians had already founded a colony here, but the current village did not come into existence until 1922, after hundreds of thousands of Greeks fled from Turkey. Many of them sought refuge in the Chalkidiki department where we are now. We walk through the cozy town for a while and search for a terrace near the coast.
Collecting resin from pine treesAlong the west coast we drive further south and pass through various olive groves and forests where the resin of pine trees is tapped. This resin is also called amber, known from the fossil insects that are sometimes found inside it. The ancient Greeks also called it electron because it generates static electricity with friction. You often see Greeks in cafes playing with chains with small beads, called komboli, are often made of amber.
With all stops we only come halfway the island before we drive back to our temporary home in Greece, the country that will be our home in the next 4 weeks. It feels like we have never left.
Along the beach of Nea Moudania On the terrace in Nea MoudaniaThe following days we continue exploring Kassandra but we also stop regularly in nea Moudania, a larger city where we do groceries and occasionally eat something. It is wonderful weather, about 26 degrees, and we are outside all day (if we are not in the car). The third day I search in Nea Moudania for a garage to buy another adapter for the navigation because I miss it now and then. Communicating with hands and feet we are referred to a shop with accessories and we find what we are looking for. We are surprised that so many people do not speak any English here.
Paliouri beach bij Chrouso, Kassandra Xina in the south of KassandraWe take quite some pictures on Kassandra but again we have a new camera, one that writes the GP coordinates to the photos. In combination with the GPS of the phone I should be able to do that, but I don't succeed. As a result, we sometimes no longer know exactly where we have taken certain photographs. We used to write that in a notepad but in one way or another we do not think about it this time. But at the time we didn't bothere and we cross the entire island from north to south and take a break every now and then to lie on the beach and swim.
St. Nicholas church in St. Nicholas, Kassandra Tourist accommodations at PaliouriWe drive all the way to the southeastern point of the island and between the villages Xina and St. Nicholas we see a bright white chapel on a peninsula. You can see these kind of chapels more often in such places, very photogenic and they are usually used as wedding location.
Around the villages we see a lot of new construction going on, almost all for tourists and foreigners, both for sale and for rent. Especially Eastern Europeans like to come here and we see only few westerners.
Paliouri beach on Kassandra Church on KassandraThere are many beautiful beaches, especially in the south, and actually only in the vicinity of villages it is more crowded. Kallithea on the east coast is the busiest village, the tourist center of the island, but even here it is not too bad with the crowds. Now we are (very consciously) very early in the season, in July it is undoubtedly much busier. The beaches where we stop we have virtually for ourselves. Also the prices for accommodations are now much more favorable, over the whole holiday we pay on average € 35 per night and they are always great places.


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