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We explore the peninsula Sithonia for 2 days


Home -> Europe -> Greece -> Travelogue Greece -> 12 & 13 June 2016

Sunday 12 June, we explore the peninsula Sithonia for 2 days

We say goodbye in Paralia DionisiouWe do not have to travel very far today, so we take it easy. And before we leave we have a coffee with Michael and his wife Vassiliki. Their son Telemachus is also there and he gives a brief bouzouki concert. A bouzouki was already used in Greek antiquity and although it was long associated with people on the fringes of society, it is nowadays a popular instrument. It is used for rebetika music (which we talk about another time) and of course for the so-called tourist music.
We will not forget to hand in our room key this time and reserve a room for the last night, because from here we are at the airport within half an hour.
Harbor at Ormos Panagias on Sithonia Sandbank at Fteroti on SithoniaThen we drive to Sithonia, the middle peninsula of Chalkidiki. We have been there several times but we want to have a closer look at the east side. Nature is more beautiful and more rugged than on the west side and we are curious about the beaches. And there are very nice ones, beautiful white sand beaches between the rocks. Sometimes it is a very small beach and sometimes a little bigger with beachbeds, what they call an organised beach. At Fteroti and Livari we see a kind of elongated sandbank that encloses a lagoon. It looks attractive but is difficult to reach because the bay is surrounded by private houses and there is no sign to the beach.
Beach at VourvouroWe drive further south and encounter many more beaches. But it is Sunday and the Greeks have also flocked to the beach, it is very busy everywhere. Many beaches have also been taken over by hotels, campgrounds and beach bars that ask money for access to the beach and apartments with a piece of private beach. At Vourvouro there are 2 bays with beautiful rocks and a few beaches. It looks beautiful but the place is too crowded for us and we drive on to the south.
In the sea at Sarti, Sithonia The beach at Sarti, SithoniaTo the north of Sarti, however, we find a small harbor near Achlada with a large stretch of beach where exactly one family is sitting. We like this much better and we are happy to spend a few hours there. We never understand why everyone wants to sit on top of each other on the beach (and not only there), we always like to be a bit on ourselves. But of course we have no children with us and we come here especially for our rest. Well, that works fine on this long sandy beach with all the space to ourselves. A lot further away it is a bit busier but there are also beach beds and you can order food and drinks.
View of Mount Athos View of Mount AthosSarti is a fairly large seaside resort in the southeast of the peninsula, but it is not very busy today. Probably there was a city with the same name in ancient times but the current inhabitants are all descendants of the Greek refugees who had to leave Turkey after the Asia Minor catastrophe. Most of them ended up in Chalkidiki and became fishermen or farmers.
The people in this village are now likely to work mainly in tourism. From a terrace we have a beautiful view of Mount Athos, on the next peninsula of Chalkidiki.
The garden at our apartment in Sykia, Sithonia At night the palm trees are illuminated, SykiaThen we look for our next apartment in Sykia where we are welcomed by a somewhat older man who does not speak English. He shows us the room and we exchange the word 'ok' a few times: he asking, we affirming. When I ask for the wifi code, he calls his daughter-in-law but she also speaks very poor English.
When she offers me coffee I am invited to sit with the family: dad, mom, son and daughter-in-law and because she only knows a few words of English I ask for a lesson in Greek, just to learn some words. This way we all have fun and I learn something that I can use. In the end I put a couple of words and their pronunciation on my tablet and I am going to learn them for tomorrow, when I will have my second lesson.
The son and daughter-in-law go on holiday to the Netherlands in October. I wonder how they will manage with the language when they don't even speak English.
At 9 o'clock the lights in the garden are turned on and the palm trees are eerily green illuminated. The daughter comes by and asks if we need anything else. No, why? Well, they're going away and then the fence is locked. There are no other guest on the property and we wil be locked up all night, surrounded by high fences. Well, let's hope that nothing happens.

Monday 13 June 2016, driving on Sithonia

Remains of a tower at Sykia Mount Athos in the mistIt is cloudy when we wake up but it is nice and still warm. Too bad, because we had planned a beach day. Sykia consists of two parts, the original village that is located a bit inland and is one of the oldest villages in Chalkidiki. The other part is closer to the beach and is of course mainly there for the tourists. Then we drive over the narrow roads as close to the coast as possible towards Kalimitsi. There are a few nice beaches hidden among the rocks. Today it is very quiet and the beaches are completely empty everywhere. This is partly due to the weather, but mainly because yesterday was Sunday and so all Greeks themselves were on the beach.
Teije looking for a beach, Sithonia Colorful flowers in SartiOn a nearly deserted beach we speak with a Bulgarian couple who stay here with their children throughout the season and we ask how that is because we see a lot of Bulgarians and Serbia with their children. Now it appears that the children in primary schools in many former Eastern Bloc countries have 13 weeks of vacation, from 1 June to the end of August! We should not tell our granddaughter of nearly 12, who would immediately want to emigrate to have such a long vacation!
We are fairly sheltered here and except for the Bulagrian family there is nobody on the beach so we stay here for some time.
A Hoopoe on SithoniaAfter 2 hours on the beach it is getting rather fresh and the sun just does not want to break through the clouds. When a scabby dog wants to lie on our towels and does not want to go away, we decide to leave.
In Sarti we buy some souvenirs for the children and grandchildren because we have nowhere seen them so cheap. And at the end of the day we drive to Kalimitsi and Porto Koufo for a drink and a snack.
On the way there we see a strange bird, it turns out to be a Hoopoe, the Upupa epops. We had never seen this one before.
Chapel along the road, Sithonia Chapel along the road, SithoniaAlong the road we regularly see small chapels, as everywhere in Greece. They are so-called iconostasis chapels that are put there to remember an event. That could be a traffic accident where someone died or where someone was lucky and survived. Some of the chapels are well maintained, others are neglected. Inside is often a candle and we have regularly seen that there is also a lighter or matches so that passersby can light the candle again.
Back at the apartment I get my second Greek lesson from the owners and learn to count in Greek. I have remembered all the sentences and words from yesterday so that goes the right way. I notice that I really enjoy learning more words in this language.
We like Greece so much and will probably come back here more often, so maybe it will be time to take a Greek course after the holidays. When I am back on the balcony of the apartment, I start checking what is available on the internet. I do not know yet that this will cost me many years and that the language is much more difficult than I expected!

 


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